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Wednesday, 17 January 2018


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Gwynne has been an editor and writer for Texas Monthly for some time. The articles published there have been engaging, as you have found with the books of his you have read. In a way very similar to John McPhee who can hold your interest and inform you on any topic.

I'd vote "Empire" number one, but maybe because I've been hearing about Wounded Knee most of my life and have been there numerous times in the last ten years. Wounded Knee and the Native Americans in South Dakota (and other places) continue to struggle. No words really for what happened to them. Stories from Native American friends raised in church schools on the reservations in the middle of the 20th Century still anger me. Can't imagine what it would take to get me to read a book on Football though. I've watched my annual football game for the year, enjoyed it and don't need any more for another year.

Oh gosh people who know me are going to be so confused...

Wait till I track down that explosive* story of how the invention of film was a byproduct of the game of billiards.
*literally with a bang.

The sideline cam of the touchdown catch is fun to watch (and listen to) too. My two favorite moments are 1) the referee throwing a flag when Diggs joyfully tosses his helmet and 2) the ballboy who anxiously waits on the sideline for the all-clear before hugging Diggs.

Another good one in the same vein is "The Apache Wars: The hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid and the captive boy that started the longest war in American History" by Paul Andrew Hutton.

The pass went bad?!?

[I'm sorta funnin', but yeah, "bad" in the sense that it was designed to get the receiver out of bounds and stop the clock with enough time left to get off a field goal try. First they didn't get the pass off quickly enough. Then the reason Marcus Williams missed the tackle is because he was aiming to knock Diggs' legs back toward the field of play to keep his torso (and the ball) in bounds. It was the correct move, Williams just missed. If Diggs had been tackled where he caught the ball, game over, Saints win. --Mike]

In Australia, nothing about American Football has ever shocked the world. We have Australian Rules Football; however, I have to admit, that after 45 years of living here (as a Canadian immigrant) I fail to understand even one of those rules.

We are also perpetrators of the most shameful incident in cricket history - one that actually shocked the world - the underarm bowling incident of 1981.

We also have a wild west. It's still wild.

It's a great book that I read a couple of years ago. Perhaps it's time to revisit it.

Please can I wait until he writes about why bird plumage is really colourful? That interests me much more than the other subjects mentioned.

Gonna order the Stonewall Jackson bio just cause it will piss folks off. No really, he was a fascinating man.

I read Summer Moon a few years back, when Mike first recommended it, and the picture of the Commanche as the engine behind all the tribes of the SouthWest has stuck with me. So I just sent Stonewall Jackson down to my Kindle app.

Few years ago the Wall St Journal did a piece where they used a stop watch on all the playoff games. Started timing w each hike, stopped w each tackle. Whole game. Four hours later at the final whistle the sum total of action was, wait for it....11( eleven) minutes.
I haven't looked at football the same. It is basically a delivery vehicle for beer and pizza ads.
So yes a digest form would be preferable.

What about Bradbury Robinson to Jack Schneider in 1906 (St. Louis vs. Carroll College) or the popularization of the forward pass by the Carlisle Indian Industrial School under Glenn Scobey (Pop) Warner (yep...the Pop Warner you're thinking about). All of which (I think) happened before Dorais hit Rockne in 1913. Note to the Editor: this is based on my fuzzy memory and, then, some quick searches on the interwebs to confirm my hunches. The sources I consulted could be wrong or it could be that there's subtle distinction in your statement "...the very first time a quarterback hit a receiver in stride".

I'm reading the Stonewall Jackson biography, "Rebel Yell," right now. You're right, Mr. Gwynne is an excellent author! Thank you very much for the recommendation!

[You're welcome--I've just started that too. --Mike]

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