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Find more Top 10 Sports and Recreation
The subjects addressed in books about sports and recreation continue to embrace diversity, as is gloriously evident in this year’s top 10, which includes titles on polo in inner-city Philadelphia, treasure hunts, and Victorian spiritualists. Titles included were reviewed in Booklist from September 1, 2020, through August 2021.
All In. By Billie Jean King. 2021. Knopf, $30 (9781101947333).
Tennis star King recounts her life and career in this sterling memoir about one of the most consequential figures in the ongoing fight for gender equality and human rights.
Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America’s Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt. 2021. By Daniel Barbarisi. Knopf, $27.95 (9780525656173).
Barbarisi’s mesmerizing account of a modern-day treasure hunt reveals a whole subculture of Indiana Jones types willing to invest life savings in the search for adventure.
Crossing the Line: A Fearless Team of Brothers and the Sport That Changed Their Lives Forever. 2021. By Kareem Rosser. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (9781250270863).
This memoir about the first African American polo team to win the National Intercollegiate Polo Championship delivers an occasionally heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story about the bonds of brotherhood.
The Eagles of Heart Mountain: A True Story of Football, Incarceration, and Resistance in World War II America. 2021. By Bradford Pearson. Atria, $27 (9781982107031).
Pearson tells the little-known story of the Heart Mountain “relocation” camp in Wyoming during WWII, where a football team of high-school incarcerees dominated their public-school rivals.
Knockout. By Mia Kang. 2020. Abrams, $26 (9781419743320).
This must-read memoir for the #MeToo era about a resilient young woman who kayos the myth of perfectionism details the efforts of a victim of abuse and bullying to reclaim her self-worth through the combat sport of Muay Thai.
The Master: The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer. 2021. By Christopher Clarey. Twelve, $30 (9781538719268).
Clarey tracks the evolution of tennis great Federer’s ascent to the top of his sport in what amounts to a master class in sportswriting.
One Life. By Megan Rapinoe and Emma Brockes. 2020. Penguin, $27 (9781984881175).
Soccer superstar Rapinoe details not only her triumphs on the pitch, but also her life as a gay athlete and activist. A compelling testimony for equal rights in sports.
Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice. 2021. By Emily Midorikawa. Counterpoint, $27 (9781640092303).
Ouija boards were big in the Victorian era, and this fascinating account presents the stories of six female spiritualists and the incredible impact that they had on society and politics.
Raised a Warrior: A Memoir of Soccer, Grit, and Leveling the Playing Field. 2021. By Susie Petroccelli. Apollo, $24.95 (9781948062824).
This sports memoir about a soccer star who led Harvard to an Ivy League championship vividly captures the student-athlete experience and the author’s awakening as a women’s-sports advocate.
Sparring with Smokin’ Joe: Joe Frazier’s Epic Battles and Rivalry with Ali. 2021. By Glenn Lewis. Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95 (9781538136799).
Lewis’ look at the Joe Frazier–Muhammad Ali rivalry changes the focus to the oft-misunderstood Frazier, delivering a compelling blend of reportage and narrative nonfiction.
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