Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The 100 Most Important Sporting Events in American History

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The 100 Most Important Sporting Events in American History

Article excerpt

The 100 Most Important Sporting Events in American History. By Lew Freedman. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015. 385 pages, acid free $89 (ISBN 978-1-4408-3574-2). Ebook available (978-1-44408-3575-9), call for pricing.

The cover sells this book. There's Jackie Robinson in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, bat in hand, changing America. It's as simple, and monumental, as that.

Freedman, an oft-honored sports journalist, spells out in his extensive introduction that he wasn't writing about the greatest moments or the greatest athletes in American sports history, although some of those are featured. He chose the 100 sports milestone "events" that he believes had the most impact on society and even history.

Some of them--especially when Robinson was signed to break the color barrier in big-time American sports--took place far from the crowds and the playing fields. Others, such as "The Miracle on Ice," were witnessed by millions on television. Some of the events had huge social significance, such as the passage of Title IX or the creation of basketball. Others showed sports highlighting social change, as when tennis great Martina Navratilova came out as a gay person or when super-cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted using performance-enhancing drugs. And some, such as what Freedman calls the "Soap Opera on Skates" (363), starring figure skater Tonya Harding and her friends, briefly brought our big, diverse nation together so everyone could shake their heads in unison. …

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