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One of UTNE Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World," Dave Zirin is a columnist for The Nation, SLAM Magazine, and The Progressive. His books include A People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play; Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love; and Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down (all published by The New Press), as well as What's My Name, Fool?, Welcome to the Terrordome, and The John Carlos Story. He is the host of Sirius XM's popular weekly show Edge of Sports Radio and a regular guest on ESPN's Outside the Lines and on MSNBC. He lives near Washington, D.C.
Zirin ("What's My Name, Fool!"), writer of a politically minded online sports column, examines the intersection of sports and politics, chronicling the struggles of America's oppressed, starting with Choctaws playing lacrosse and slaves in the South, and reaching all the way to a critique of Michael Jordan as an apolitical athlete. There are many worthy and deserving stories of courage and conscience in this vast canvas; however, the telling suffers from Zirin's term paper-like prose that relies far too much on overly long quotes from source material. For example, three pages about NFL player Dave Meggyesy has a short introductory paragraph by Zirin and then excerpts Meggyesy's autobiography for the bulk of the section. This book would have been more engaging and logically organized as a reference book with entries on each athlete or group, rather than a linear historical narrative of sports. Sportswriter Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports, 2007, etc.) looks through the eyes of the left at the political forces shaping the history of American sports.... [...] The most satisfying sections of A People's History of Sports remind us of such brave moments, and of the courage of Paul Robeson, who was persecuted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and of Jackie Robinson, who, at Branch Rickey's urging, initially repudiated and attacked Robeson, but then grew wiser regarding "America's destructiveness." [...] -- Bill Littlefield "Contests and contentions" (12/28/2008) [...] this sprawling, insightful and contrarian book is worth reading for its portrayal of the rebel athletes to whom it is dedicated, and to whom we are all indebted. -- Alex Altman Zirin (What's My Name, Fool!), writer of a politically minded online sports column, examines the intersection of sports and politics, chronicling the struggles of America's oppressed...