The Sports Books that Sportswriters Love – The List

I asked over 150 sportswriters which sports books they really love – not what books they think are the ‘best’ but rather the one’s the love – either their all-time favourites or hidden gems that they love.

This list is the compilation of their answers listed by sport – a collection of over 300 books. The ordering of the books isn’t very scientific – broadly those at the very top of each category were mentioned by multiple people but the majority in each category were only chosen once or twice. For my analysis of which books were the most loved check out my commentary on the list in the All Sports Books Newsletter at

If you want to see which writer chose which books then you can check out the alternative version of the list at The List – Writers’ Choices.

This is going to be a living document, updated every time I get a new answer from a different writer. I also plan to update the list over time to give more detail on each book as well as links to who recommend them.

If you find this list useful, please share with friends or on social media. Happy Reading!

🏈American Football

🏈 When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss

🏈 Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by Buzz Bissinger

🏈 It’s Better To Be Feared: The New England Patriots Dynasty and the Pursuit of Greatness by Seth Wickersham

🏈 Across the River: Life, Death and Football in an American City by Kent Babb

🏈 Namath: A Biography by Mark Kriegel

πŸˆπŸ¦… Bringing the Heat by Mark Bowden

🏈 Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last String Quarterback by George Plimpton

🏈 America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation by Michael MacCambridge

🏈 Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton by Jeff Pearlman

🏈 Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman

🏈 The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

🏈 About Three Bricks Shy of a Load: A Highly Irregular Lowdown on the Year the Pittsburgh Steelers Were Super but Missed the Bowl by Roy Blount

🏈 It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium by John Ed Bradley

🏈 The Life and Times of Johnny Unitas by Tom Callahan

🏈 Fight Songs: A Story of Love and Sports in a Complicated South by Ed Southern

🏈 Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times by Mark Leibovich.

🏈 The Junction Boys: How Ten Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Champion Team at Texas A&M by Jim Dent

🏈 Stagg’s University: The Rise, Decline, and Fall of Big-Time Football at Chicago by Robin Lester

🏈 The Argo Bounce by Jay Teitel

🏈 Things that Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett and Dave Zirin

🏈 Pro Football’s Rag Days by Bob Curran

🏈 The Game That Was by Myron Cope

🏈 What a Game They Played by Richard Whittingham

🏈 Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football by Jim Dent

🏈 Reading Football: How the Popular Press Created an American Spectacle by Michael Oriard

🏈 Quiet Strength – The Principles, Practices, & Priorities Of A Winning Life by Tony Dungy with Nathan Whitaker

🏈 One Knee Equals Two Feet: And Everything Else You Need to Know About Football by John Madden

🏈 Rozelle: A Biography by Jerry Izenberg

🏈 The Dave Kopay Story: An Extraordinary Self-revelation by David Kopay

🏈 The Courting of Marcus Dupree by Willie Morris

🏈 The Pros: A Documentary of Professional Football in America by Robert Riger

🏈 Joe Namath and the Other Guys by Rick Telander

🏈 King Football: Sport and Spectacle in the Golden Age of Radio and Newsreels, Movies and Magazines, the Weekly and Daily Press by Michael Oriard

🏈 Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town by S.L. Price

🏈 For Pride, Profit, and Patriarchy : Football and the Incorporation of American Cultural Values by Gearld R. Gems

⚾ Baseball

⚾ The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

⚾ Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy by Jane Leavy

⚾ Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer

⚾ Ball Four by Jim Bouton with Leonard Shecter

⚾ The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville

⚾ A False Spring by Pat Jordan

⚾ Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville

⚾ Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig

⚾ The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees by Peter Golenbock and Sandy Lyle

⚾ The Teammates: A Portrait of Friendship by David Halberstam

⚾ Summer of ’49 by David Halberstam

⚾ October 1964 by David Halberstam

⚾ Veeck as in Wreck by Bill Veeck with Ed Linn

⚾ Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original by Howard Bryant

⚾ Playing Through the Pain: Ken Caminiti and the Steroids Confession That Changed Baseball Forever by Dan Good

⚾ Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James

⚾ Good Enough to Dream by Roger Kahn

⚾ Nine Innings: The Anatomy of a Baseball Game by Daniel Okrent.

⚾ The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played by Lawrence Ritter

⚾ Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss

⚾ Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City by Jonathan Mahler

⚾ Where They Ain’t: The Fabled Life and Untimely Death of the Original Baltimore Orioles, the Team that Gave Birth to Modern Baseball by Burt Solomon.

⚾ A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring Twenties by Roger Kahn

⚾ Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between by Eric Nusbaum

⚾ Stolen Season: A Journey Through America and Baseball’s Minor Leagues by David Lamb

⚾ Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys with a Major League Scout by Mark Winegardner

⚾ Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock

⚾Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof

⚾ Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever by Satchel Paige

⚾ When Baseball Isn’t White, Straight and Male: The Media and Difference in the National Pastime by Lisa Doris Alexander

⚾ Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey by Ila Jane Borders

⚾ I was Right on Time: My Journey From the Negro Leagues to the Majors by Buck O’Neil

⚾ The Soul of Baseball – A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski

⚾ Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy

⚾ Joe DiMaggio Moves Like Liquid Light: poems by Loren Broaddus

⚾ The Pitch That Killed: Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920 by Mike Sowell

⚾ Red Smith on Baseball by Red Smith

⚾ The Duke of Havana: Baseball, Cuba, and the Search for the American Dream by Steve Fainaru and Ray Sanchez

⚾ You Gotta Have Wa: When Two Cultures Collide on the Baseball Diamond

⚾ Branch Rickey: A Life by Jimmy Breslin

⚾ Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey Into the Heart of Cuban Sports by S.L. Price

⚾ Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert W. Creamer

⚾ The Summer Game by Roger Angell (and his other anthologies)

⚾ The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading & Bubblegum Book by Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris

⚾ The Long Season: The Classic Inside Account of a Baseball Year, 1959 by Jim Brosnan

⚾ Willie’s Time: A Memoir by Charles Einstein

⚾ Baseball I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life by Grossinger & Kerrane

⚾ Hall: Fathers Playing Catch With Sons & Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball

⚾ A Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano

⚾ Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting by Kevin Kerrane

⚾ Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams by Robert W. Peterson

⚾ Twilight of the Long-ball Gods: Dispatches from the Disappearing Heart of Baseball edited by John Schulian:

⚾ Cardboard Gods: An-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards by Josh Wilker

⚽ Football

⚽ All Played Out: The Full Story of Italia ’90 by Pete Davies

⚽ The Miracle of Castel di Sangro: A Tale of Passion and Folly in the Heart of Italy by Joe McGinnis

⚽ Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football by David Winner

⚽ Football Against the Enemy by Simon Kuper

⚽ Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

⚽ The Ball is Round: A Global History of Football by David Goldblatt

⚽ Football in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano

⚽ Provided You Don’t Kiss Me: 20 Years With Brian Clough by Duncan Hamilton

⚽ The Glory Game by Hunter Davies

⚽ Thirty-One Nil: On the Road with Football’s Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey by James Montague

⚽ When Friday Comes: Football, War and Revolution in the Middle East by James Montague

⚽ McIlvanney On Football by Hugh McIlvanney

⚽ Futebol: Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos

⚽ A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng

⚽ Matchdays: The Hidden Story of the Bundesliga by Ronald Reng

⚽ Stamping Grounds: Liechtenstein’s Quest for the World Cup by Charlie Connelly

⚽ My Father And Other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlach

⚽ The Far Corner: A Mazy Dribble Through North-East Football by Harry Pearson

⚽ Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics by Jonathan Wilson

⚽ Angels with Dirty Faces: The Footballing History of Argentina by Jonathan Wilson

⚽ Behind The Curtain: Travels in Eastern Europen Football by Jonathan Wilson

⚽ Two Brothers by Jonathan Wilson

⚽ Football Grounds of Britain by Simon Inglis

⚽ Calcio: A History of Italian Football by John Foot

⚽ World Cup ’70 by Hugh Mcllvanney and Arthur Hop

⚽ A Strange Kind of Glory: Sir Matt Busby and Manchester United by Eamon Dunphy

⚽ Only a Game? The Diary of a Professional Footballer by Eamon Dunphy

⚽ The Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona by Jimmy Burns

⚽ After the Ball by Nobby Stiles with James Lawton

⚽ O Negro Futebol Brasileiro by Mario Filho (translated as The Black Man in Brazilian Soccer)

⚽ Close Quarters: An Extraordinary Season on the Brink and Behind the Scenes by Neil Harman

⚽ Champions of Europe: The History, Romance and Intrigue of the European Cup by Brian Glanville

⚽ Flower of Scotland? A Scottish Football Odyssey by Archie Macpherson

⚽ Ultrà by Tobias Jones

⚽ Recovering by Richie Sadlier

⚽ The Ugly Game: The Corruption of FIFA and the Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup by Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert

⚽ When Football Came Home: England, the English and Euro 96 by Michael Gibbons

⚽ Blowing The Whistle by Toni Schumacher

⚽ The Boss: The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson by Michael Crick

⚽ Complete Book of the World Cup by Cris Freddi

⚽ Danish Dynamite: The Story of Football’s Greatest Cult Team by Rob Smyth, Mike Gibbons, and Lars Eriksen

⚽ Doctor Socrates: Footballer, Philosopher, Legend by Andrew Downie

⚽ A Season with Verona by Tim Parks

⚽ The Rodfather: Inside the Beautiful (Ugly, Ridiculous, Hilarious) Game by Roddy Collins with Paul Howard.

⚽ Welcome to Hell? In Search of the Real Turkish Football by John McManus

⚽ 1999: Manchester United, the Treble and All That by Matt Dickenson

⚽ England Football: The Biography: 1872 – 2022 by Paul Hayward

⚽ Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey — and Even Iraq — Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

⚽ Soccer in a Football World: The Story of America’s Forgotten Game by David Wangerin

⚽ The Boy on the Shed by Paul Ferris

⚽ Up Pohnpei: A Quest to Reclaim the Soul of Football by Leading the World’s Ultimate Underdogs to Glory by Paul Watson

⚽ 32 Programmes by Dave Roberts

⚽ Family: Life, Death, and Football by Michael Calvin

⚽ Staying Up: A Fan’s View of a Season in the Premiership by Rick Gekoski

⚽ And the Sun Shines Now: How Hillsborough and the Premier League Changed Britain by Adrian Tempany

⚽ In the Heat of the Midday Sun by Steven Scragg

⚽ Dynamo: Defending the Honour of Kiev by Andy Dougan

⚽ Minnows United: Adventures at the Fringes of the Beautful Game by Mat Guy

⚽ Ajax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War by Simon Kuper

⚽ The Outsider: A History of the Goalkeeper by Jonathan Wilson

⚽ Gods vs Mortals: Irish Clubs in Europe a Front Row Seat at 10 of the Greatest Games by Paul Keane

⚽ Red Wine and Arepas: How Football is Becoming Venezuela’s Religion by Jordan Florit

⚽ Who Ate All the Squid – Football Adventures in South Korea by Devon Rowcliffe

⚽ Origin Stories: The Pioneers Who Took Football to the World by Chris Lee

⚽ Shooting Stars: The brief and Glorious history of Blackburn Olympic by Graham Phythian

⚽ Football Wizard – The Story of Billy Meredith: The Life and Times of Football’s First Superstar by John Harding.

⚽ The Second Half by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle

⚽ Back From the Brink: The Autobiography by Paul McGrath

⚽ The Boy In Brazil by Seth Burkett

⚽ Left Foot Forward: A Year in the Life of a Journeyman Footballer by Garry Nelson

⚽ Soccerwomen: The Icons, Rebels, Stars, and Trailblazers Who Transformed the Beautiful Game by Gemma Clarke

⚽ Kicking Center: Gender and the Selling of Women’s Professional Soccer (Critical Issues in Sport and Society) by Rachel Allison

⚽ Under the Lights and In the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer by Gwendolyn Oxenham (anything by her, really)

⚽ Futbolera: A History of Women and Sports in Latin America by Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel

⚽ Raised a Warrior: A Memoir of Soccer, Grit, and Leveling the Playing Field by Susie Petruccelli

⚽ The Mixer: The Story of Premier League Tactics, from Route One to False Nines by Michael Cox

⚽ Back Home: England and the 1970 World Cup by Jeff Dawson

⚽ Full Time: The Secret Life Of Tony Cascarino by Paul Kimmage

⚽ The Away Game: The Inside Story of Australian Football’s Golden Generation by Matthew Hall

⚽ The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe by Professor John Maynard

⚽ Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters: An Incomplete Biography of Johnny Warren and Soccer in Australia by Johnny Warren (amazingly titled)

⚽ Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty by Ben Lyttleton 

⚽ Touching Distance: Kevin Keegan, the Entertainers and Newcastle’s Impossible Dream by Martin Hardy

⚽ Kicked into Touch by Fred Eyre

⚽ Black Diamonds and Blue Brazil: A Chronicle of Coal, Cowdenbeath and Football by Ron Ferguson

⚽ Kicks, Spits & Headers: The Autobiographical Reflections of an Accidental Footballer by Paolo Sollier (1976) – recently translated into English by Steven Colatrella

⚽ Rock Bottom by Paul Merson

⚽La Farfalla Granata by Nando Dalla Chiesa. Book on Gigi Meroni that hasn’t been translated into English.

⚽ Futbolítica, by Ramón Usall (sadly not available in English)

⚽ Alles auf Rot: Der 1. FC Union Berlin – Frank Willmann & Jan BΓΆttcher (ed)

⚽ Juega Ferro by Pablo Abiad (sadly not available in English)


πŸ€ The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam

πŸ€ Loose Balls: The Short Wild Life of the American Basketball Association by Terry Pluto

πŸ€ A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton by John McPhee

πŸ€ The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever by John Feinstein

πŸ€ A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein

πŸ€ Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga Of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding… Its Purloined Basketball Team, And The Dream Of Becoming A World Class Metropolis by Sam Anderson.

πŸ€ The City Game: Basketball from the Garden to the Playgrounds by Pete Axthelm

πŸ€ Three Ring Circus Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman.

πŸ€ Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman

πŸ€ Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson by Kent Babb

πŸ€ 07 Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns by Jack McCallum

πŸ€ The Miracle of St Anthony’s: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty by Adrian Wojnarowski

πŸ€ The Great Nowitzki: Basketball and the Meaning of Life by Thomas Pletzinger

πŸ€ Go Up For Glory by Bill Russell

πŸ€ Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure by Alexander Wolf

πŸ€ The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams by Darcy Frey

πŸ€ Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man by Bill Russell’s with Taylor Branch

πŸ€ Giant Steps: The Autobiography of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Peter Knobler,

πŸ€ Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby

πŸ€ The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks by Ben Cohen

πŸ€ Blood in the Garden: The Flagrant History of the 1990s New York Knicks by Chris Herring

πŸ€ Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann

πŸ€ The Jordan Rules by Sam Smith

πŸ€ The Grads Are Playing Tonight!: The Story of the Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Club by M. Ann Hall

πŸ€ I Came as a Shadow: An Autobiography by John Thompson with Jesse Washington

πŸ€ Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter by Craig Hodges

πŸ€ Boys Among Men: How the Prep-To-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution by Jonathan Abrams

πŸ€ The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Soul of LeBron James by Scott Raab

πŸ€ Heaven Is A Playground by Rick Telander

πŸ€ Hoop Dreams: True Story of Hardship and Triumph by Ben Joravsky

πŸ€ Pistol – The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel

πŸ€ Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game by John Feinstein and Red Auerbach

πŸ€The Last Pass: Cousy, Russell, the Celtics, and What Matters in the End by Gary Pomerantz

πŸ€ Miracle on 33th Street: The New York Knickerbockers’ Championship Season by Phil Berger

πŸ€ Rockin’ Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool by Ira Berkow and Walt β€œClyde” Frazier

πŸ€ In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais 

πŸ€ Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story by David Wolf

πŸ€ My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

πŸ€ Fall River Dreams: A Team’s Quest for Glory, A Town’s Search for Its Soul by Bill Reynolds

πŸ€ A Season Inside: One Year in College Basketball by John Feinstein

πŸ€ Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He MadeΒ by David Halberstam

πŸ€ Forty-Eight Minutes: A Night in the Life of the N.B.A. by Bob Ryan and Terry Pluto

πŸ₯Š Boxing

πŸ₯Š King of the World: Muhammad Ali and the Rise of an American Hero by David Remnick

πŸ₯Š Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing by Donald McRae

πŸ₯Š This Bloody Mary Is The Last Thing I Own by Jonathan Rendall

πŸ₯Š Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson by Geoffrey Ward

πŸ₯Š Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser

πŸ₯Š Night Train: The Devil and Sonny Liston by Nick Tosches

πŸ₯Š McIlvanney On Boxing by Hugh McIlvanney

πŸ₯Š In Sunshine Or In Shadow: How Boxing Brought Hope in the Troubles by Donald McRae

πŸ₯Š Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig

πŸ₯Š Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing by George Edward Kimball.

πŸ₯Š Bundini: Don’t Believe the Hype by Todd D. Snyder

πŸ₯Š The Big Fight: Muhammad Ali vs Al ‘Blue’ Lewis by Dave Hannigan.

πŸ₯Š A Man’s World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith by Donald McRae 

πŸ₯Š The Fight by Norman Mailer

πŸ₯Š The Boxing Kings: When American Heavyweights Ruled the Ring by Paul Beston

πŸ₯Š On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates

πŸ₯Š Shadow Box: An Amateur in the Ring by George Plimpton

πŸ₯Š The Bittersweet Science: Fifteen Writers in the Gym, in the Corner, and at Ringside edited by Carlo Rotella and Michael Ezra

πŸ₯Š Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties by Mike Marqusee

πŸ₯Š In the Red Corner: A Journey into Cuban Boxing by John Duncan

πŸ₯Š The Sweet Science by A.J. Liebling

πŸ₯Š White Hopes and Other Tigers by John Lardner

πŸ₯Š On the Ropes: Boxing As A Way of Life by Geoffrey Beattie.

πŸ₯Š Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight: Cassius Clay vs USA by Howard Bingham

πŸ₯Š Tarnished Armour: Hope and Fears in Heavyweight Boxing by Dominic Calder-Smith

πŸ₯Š Boxing Babylon: Behind the Shadowy World of the Prize Ring by Nigel Collins

πŸ₯Š The Years of the Locust: A True Story of Murder, Money and Mayhem in the Last Age of Boxing by Jon Hotten

πŸ₯Š In This Corner 42 World Champions Tell Their Stories by Peter Heller

πŸ₯Š A Fire of Pure Flame: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring Twenties by Roger Kahn,

πŸ₯Š The Good Son: The Life of Ray Boom Boom Mancini by Mark Kriegel

πŸ₯Š Fighting Words by Harry Mullan

πŸ₯Š Ring of Deceit: Inside the Biggest Sports and Banking Scandal in History by Bruce Henderson and Dean Allison

πŸ₯Š Hard Luck: The Triumph and Tragedy of “Irish” Jerry Quarry” by Steve Springer

πŸ₯Š Dog Rounds: Death and Life in the Boxing Ring by Elliot Worsell

πŸ₯Š The Years of the Locust: A True Story of Murder, Money and Mayhem in the Last Age of Boxing by Jon Hotten

πŸ₯Š Writers’ Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists by John Schulian

πŸ₯Š The Black Lights: Inside the World of Professional Boxing by Thomas Hauser

πŸ₯Š The Big If: The Life and Death of Johnny Own by Rick Broadbent

πŸ₯Š The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472 by Ruben Hurricane Carter

πŸ₯Š Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier by Mark Kram

πŸ₯Š Only In America: The Life and Crimes of Don King by Jack Newfield

πŸ₯Š Max Schmeling: An Autobiography

πŸ₯Š Somebody Up There Likes Me by Rocky Graziano

πŸ₯Š Sonny Liston Was A Friend Of Mine by Thom Jones

πŸ₯Š Benny: The Life And Times Of A Fighting Legend by John Burrowes

πŸ₯Š The Great Fights: A Pictorial History of Boxing’s Greatest Bouts by Bert Sugar

πŸ₯Š The Gifted One: Kirkland Laing Through the Eyes of Others by Oliver Jarrett

πŸ₯Š Boxiana: Or, Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism by Pierce Egan (1821)

πŸ₯Š Sporting Blood: Tales from the Dark Side of Boxing by Carlos Acevedo

πŸ₯Š The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet ScienceΒ by Mike Silver

πŸ₯Š Writers’ Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists by John Schulian

πŸ₯Š Boxe by Jacques Henric

🚴 Cycling

🚴 Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel With a Pro Cyclist by Paul Kimmage

🚴 King of the Mountains: How Colombia’s Cycling Heroes Changed Their Nation’s History by Matt Rendell

🚴 Anquetil, Alone: The legend of the controversial Tour de France champion by Paul Fournel

🚴 Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham

🚴 Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault, and the Greatest Tour de France by Richard Moore

🚴 The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France by Tyler Hamilton

🚴 Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh

🚴 The Rider by Tim Krabbé

🚴 Alfonsina by Ilona Kamps

🚴 The Descent: My Epic Fall From Cycling Superstardom to Doping Dead End by Thomas Dekker

🚴 The Art of Cycling: Philosophy, Meaning and Life on Two Wheels by James Hibbard

🎾 Tennis

🎾 Open by Andre Agassi

🎾 Levels of the Game by John McPhee

🎾 Days of Grace by Arthur Ashe

🎾 A Handful of Summers by Gordon Forbes

🎾 A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, a World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played by Marshall Jon Fisher

🎾 Big Bill Tilden: The Triumphs and the Tragedy by Frank Deford

πŸ’ Ice Hockey

πŸ’ The Game by Ken Dryden

πŸ’ Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard by John Branch

πŸ’ Blood Feud: Detroit Red Wings v. Colorado Avalanche: The Inside Story of Pro Sports’ Nastiest and Best Rivalry of Its Era by Adrian Dater

πŸ’ The Russian Five: A Story of Espionage, Defection, Bribery and Courage by Keith Gave

πŸ’ The Boys of Winter: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team by Wayne Coffey

πŸ’ The Lost Dream: The Story Of Mike Danton, David Frost And A Broken Canadian Family by Steve Simmons

πŸ’ Searching for Bobby Orr by Stephen Brunt

πŸ’ Gretzky’s Tears: Hockey, Canada, and the Day Everything Changed by Stephen Brunt

πŸ’ Changing on the Fly: Hockey through the Voices of South Asian Canadians by Courtney Szto

πŸ’ Stan Fischler’s hockey books

🏏 Cricket

🏏 Beyond A Boundary by CLR James

🏏 The Cricket War: The Inside Story Of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket by Gideon Haigh

🏏 Steve Smith’s Men: Behind Australian Cricket’s Fall by Geoff Lemon

🏏 Harold Larwood by Duncan Hamilton

🏏 Pundits from Pakistan by Rahul Bhattacharya

🏏10 for 66 and All That by Arthur Mailey 

🏏 The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley

🏏The Fire Burns Blue: A History Of Women’s Cricket In India by Karunya Keshav and Sidhanta Patnaik

🏏 Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World by Harry Thompson

🏏 The Playing Mantis: An Autobiography by Jeremy Coney

🏏 No Coward Soul: The Remarkable Story of Bob Appleyard by Stephen Chalke

🏏 Cricket 2.0: Inside the T20 revolution by Tim Wigmore and Freddie Wilde

🏏 Elephant in the Stadium: The Myth and Magic of India’s Epochal Win by Arunabha Sengupta

🏏 Wally Hammond: The Reason Why by David Foot

🏏 Bodyline Autopsy: The Full Story of the Most Sensational Test Cricket Series: England V Australia 1932-3 by David Frith

Athletics / Running

πŸŽ½πŸ’‰The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final by Richard Moore

πŸƒ The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen’ by Christopher McDougall

πŸƒ Ghost Runner: The Tragedy of the Man They Couldn’t Stop by Bill Jones

πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ Good for a Girl: My Life Running in a Man’s World by Lauren Fleshmann

πŸƒ Duel in the Sun: Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America’s Greatest Marathon by John Brant

πŸƒ Running For My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong with Mark Tabb

πŸƒ Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Co-Founder by Kenny Moore

πŸƒ Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon by Ed Caeser

πŸ‰ Rugby

πŸ‰ Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson by Paul Kimmage

πŸ‰ Simply The Best – the story of the 1990 Kangaroos by Adrian McGregor

πŸ‰ Rugby’s Great Split: Class, Culture and the Origins of Rugby League Football by Tony Collin

πŸ‰ Into the Wind – The Life of Carwyn James by Alun Gibbard

πŸ‰ Fringes: Life on the Edge of Professional Rugby by Ben Mercer

πŸ‰ Old Heroes: The 1956 Springbok Tour and the Lives Beyond by Warwick Roger

πŸ‰ Rucks, Mauls and Gaelic Football by Billy & Moss Keane

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ Golf

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ Four Iron in the Soul by Lawrence Donegan

🏌️ Tiger Woods by Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict

🏌️ His Father’s Son: Earl and Tiger Woods by Tom Callahan

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ The Match: The Day The Game Of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ Golf Dreams by John Updike

πŸŒοΈβ€β™‚οΈ Preferred Lies: A Journey to the Heart of Scottish Golf by Andrew Greig

🎱 Snooker

🎱 Pocket Money: Bad Boys, Business Heads and Boom-time Snooker by Gordon Burn

🎱 Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards by Clive Everton

🏊 Swimming

🏊 The Three Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory by Julie Checkoway

🏊 A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory

🏊 Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui

Hurling / Gaelic Football

Hurling: The Revolution Years by Denis Walsh

The Club: Hunger, Strife and Heartbreak: An Extraordinary Year in the Life of a GAA Club by Christy O’Connor

Over the Bar: A Personal Relationship with the GAA by BreandΓ‘n Γ“ hEithir

The Choice by Philly McMahon (with Niall Kelly)

Misc / Multi-Sport

πŸ‡ Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

πŸ’‰ Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada

πŸ’‰ Synthetic Medals: East German Athletes’ Journey to Hell by Joseph Tudor

🚣 The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and their Quest for Olympic Gold by David Halberstam

🚣 The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

πŸš£β€β™‚οΈ Six Minutes in Berlin: Broadcast Spectacle and Rowing Gold at the Nazi Olympics by Michael J. Socolow

πŸš£β€β™‚οΈ The Last Amateurs: To Hell and Back with the Cambridge Boat Race Crew by Mark de Rond

What’s My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States by Dave Zirin

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein;

πŸ“° The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine by Michael MacCambridge

🎾 Shot and a Ghost: Year in the Brutal World of Professional Squash by James Willstrop.

πŸ“° His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir by Dan Jenkins,

SportsWorld: An American Dreamland  by Robert Lipsyte

πŸ‘Ÿ Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud that Forever Changed the Business of Sport by Barbara Smit

πŸ‘Ÿ Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight

Or I’ll Dress You In Mourning: The Story of El Cordobes and the New Spain He Stands For by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre (Bullfighter)

Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Side of Sport by Anna Krien

A Wink from the Universe by Martin Flanagan (Aussie Rules)

The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism by Howard Bryant

We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete, and the Quest for Equality by Louis Moore

The New Plantation: Black Athletes, College Sports, and Predominantly White NCAA Institutions by Billy Hawkins

Road Swing: One Fan’s Journey into the Soul of America’s Sports by Steve Rushin

37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination by Sherry Boschert

πŸ… Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics by Jules Boykoff

πŸ… Inside the Five Ring Circus: Changing Global Sports and the Modern Olympics by Ollan Cassell

🏍️ Man Called Mike: The Inspiring Story of a Shy Superstar by Christopher Hilton

🏍️ That Near-Death Thing: Inside The Most Dangerous Race In The World by Rick Broadbent

Game Misconduct:  Injury, Fandom, and the Business of Sport Nathan Kalman-Lamb

Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora by Ben Carrington

Something in the Air: American Passion and Defiance in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics by Richard Hoffer

Fighting Visibility: Sports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC by Jennifer McClearen

Confessions of a Hero-Worshipper by Stephen J. Dubner

In Its Own Image: How Television Has Transformed Sports by Ben Rader

The Rise of American High School Sports and the Search for Control: 1880-1930Β by Robert Pruter

Get Her Off the Pitch by Lynn Truss

My Fight/Your Fight by Rhonda Rousey

πŸ“ Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins: Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive by Jerome Charyn

πŸ„β€β™‚οΈ Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

πŸ“ The Money Player: The Confessions of America’s Greatest Table Tennis Player and Hustler by Marty Reisman 

πŸ§— Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer:

πŸ§— Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson

πŸ€Όβ€β™‚οΈ Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Professional Wrestling by Bret Hart

πŸ€Όβ€β™‚οΈ Mankind: Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks by Mick Foley

Sports Fiction

🏈 A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley

⚽ The Damned United by David Peace

⚾ The Natural by Bernard Malamud

⚾ The Curious Case of Sidd Finch by George Plimpton

πŸƒ Once a Runner by John L. Parker

⚽ How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup by J.L. Carr

⚽ A Natural by Ross Raisin

πŸ₯Š The Professional by W.C. Heinz

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

🎱 The Hustler by Walter Teviis

πŸ’ Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

2 thoughts on “The Sports Books that Sportswriters Love – The List

  1. I’d love to send you one of Jerome Charyn’s (Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive) baseball books – The Seventh Babe. Summer Games just republished it in a new edition after 30+ years. It’s fascinating and filled with so much authentic early baseball lore.

    Liked by 1 person

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