Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Galloping Ghost: Reviews

Several people have asked me about my book and if--in this difficult media climate--it has been reviewed. I have been fortunate that The Galloping Ghost was reviewed by a lot of different outlets, including the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and Sports Illustrated. The book also made it onto the Denver Post's best-seller list, and it was featured as a book of the week by Christianity Today.

I am glad the project has received so much attention, and I am hoping for a few more reviews (hello, New York Times and my hometown Los Angeles Times), but--most of all--I appreciate the support from friends, family, and readers.

A few people asked to see some of the blurbs so I thought I would just compile most of them and put them on my blog, thus:

"Football's first superstar played with a ballerina's grace and a bull's power, but as Gary Andrew Poole shows in The Galloping Ghost, there was more. 21st-century fans will benefit from his reburnishing of the legend."--Sports Illustrated

"The book is a terrific read."-- Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

"You can almost feel the hits Grange took from defensive players and nearly taste the mud... This book is ideal for any football fan. I had chills reading [it]." (Chicago) Sun-Times News Group

"Red Grange may have been the best football player of all time, but hardly anyone talks about him the way baseball fans talk about Grange's contemporary, Babe Ruth. Gary Andrew Poole's new biography fills in the blanks of the life of a football legend."--Bob Edwards, The Bob Edwards Show

"[Poole] traveled the country for two years to meticulously research Grange's life. The book is a quick, lively, unpretentious read that captures Grange's greatness as well as his day, and clearly details his role in the growth of the game. I would recommend this to football fans, as much as I recommended Michael Lewis' 'The Blind Side.'"--Ethan Skolnick, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"The Galloping Ghost, by Gary Andrew Poole, may convince readers that Red Grange was the most productive college football player ever to strap on a helmet."--The Boston Globe

"Poole is blessedly non-preachy about the lessons of the Grange story. He could have said a great deal more. If agents are not as powerful on the field now as [Grange's agent} C.C. Pyle was—effectively coaching the team while [Bears owner George] Halas sat by during the barnstorming tour—they're far more prominent in other ways. There is not an NFL second stringer today who doesn't pull down seven figures. Poole could've waxed on about the tragedy of wearing out a prize horse by racing him so often. He could have said more about what he calls in one place the "holiness" of seeing such athletic achievement in person. He doesn't, and the book's understatement makes it better than most sports volumes.--Christianity Today, which named The Galloping Ghost a book of the week.

"Red Grange was the most important figure in the history of American football, both college and pro, and Gary Andrew Poole's extremely well-researched biography of the man, The Galloping Ghost, sheds all new light on Grange's career from his days as a young phenom to his barn-storming around the country as an American hero to his ultimate decline and fall. It is a fascinating read."--William Nack, author of Secretariat and Ruffian

"Even the casual football fan will find Poole's book intriguing."--Columbus Dispatch

"A lively, well-written biography of this towering figure. Grange revolutionized the game on the field and his business manager, C.C. Pyle, revolutionized it off it." --Orange County Register

"In writing the authoritative biography of Red Grange, Gary Andrew Poole has done so much more. He has vividly brought us back to the glory days of college football's past and the raucous birth pangs of the pro game. And he has brilliantly shown us how America's first national football hero was also, thanks to his charismatic and conniving manager, America's first sports commodity, as well."--Samuel G. Freedman, author of The Inheritance

"...reveals how the game is played on the field, and how it resonates in the wider world."--The Washington Post

"The Galloping Ghost is–as the subtitle indicates–the story of 'an American football legend.' It’s also the tale of a gifted and durable but somewhat dim young man who enriched promoters with his physical prowess and excited fans with his play without much concern for his own well-being. In that sense, at least, it’s a story as current as this weekend’s NFL games."--NPR's Only A Game

"An excellent book. Poole uses a wealth of information-interviews, box scores, etc.- in recreating Grange's life and recreating specific games in exquisite detail."--Chicagoist

"Grange was a roaring success in the ‘20s, and Gary Andrew Poole speaks for almost all of us when he says, in The Galloping Ghost: 'Red Grange played way before my time, but his ghost always hovered above the American sporting landscape.' Exceptional players are often described as defining an era, but Grange did more. He defined a game. 'If you were to draw a line through the mud of American history and find one man who could be considered the founding father of our football culture, it would be Red Grange,' Poole says. He’s right; Grange’s mastery moved football from the periphery to the center of American life. At Illinois and later, breaking a great taboo for a squeaky- clean collegian by signing with pro teams, Grange placed an indelible footprint on the gridiron. He built up statistics that impress even eight decades later, including a fabled 1924 showdown against Michigan in which the Ghost recorded 402 net yards in only 41 minutes of play. He was, as Poole puts it, 'a quiet warrior,' but his game, and impact, were loud."--Bloomberg News

"One of the best sports books I have read in a very long time, maybe ever."--CFTT , which awarded The Galloping Ghost a Book End Award, citing TGG as "Hands down...my favorite book of the year."

"Through The Galloping Ghost, Poole has managed to use history in such a way that it is both relatable and thought-provoking whether you follow sports or not."--(Jackson, Mississippi) Clarion Ledger

"With superb reporting and deft writing, Gary Andrew Poole pulls off his version of a spectacular Grange touchdown run, invigorating a legendary sports story with energy and new detail. Grange’s inner life is explored as broken-field runs come alive and a controversial saga plays out."--John Eisenberg, author of The Great Match Race

"Poole's new biography of one of football's founding legends focuses on Grange's pioneering role in the transformation of a backlot game into a money-making machine, along the way turning athletes into the highly paid celebrities we take for granted today."--Savannah Morning News

"Poole gives us the first major biography of Grange." --Time Out Chicago

"Puts Grange's great career in the context of its colorful time... Pays worthy tribute to a legend."--Booklist

"Poole is eminently readable, and the accent on Pyle is a real bonus."--Library Journal

"In the Roaring '20s, Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost of Illinois and the Chicago Bears, defined football the way Babe Ruth defined baseball. The greatest college player of all time (so declared ESPN this year), the Forksville, Sullivan County native also popularized professional football. Biographer Gary Andrew Poole examines the life of the player Damon Runyan described as "three or four men and a horse rolled into one. He is Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Al Jolson, Paavo Nurmi and Man o' War. Put them together and they spell Grange."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"[Poole] recounts the rise and tragic fall of the first national star of the gridiron. Poole also lays bare the complex relationship between a prominent athlete and the nation's first real sports agent." -- (Chicago) Sun-Times News Group

"Football wasn't truly football until the coming of Red Grange."--Chicago Magazine

"Gary Andrew Poole has chosen a subject matter like few others in the American sports landscape. Red Grange is one of the greatest football players, and personalities in the history of the game. The Galloping Ghost is not only a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame (and yes, he also played for the New York Yankees in 1926-27), but was on the cover of Time Magazine, and was the recipient of the first 'six figure' contract in American athletics by way of his 19-game barnstorming tour with the Chicago Bears. Few athletes before or since have captured the imagination of sports fans in the way Grange did. Poole's account captures this story and this era in a unique and fascinating way."--Pat Haden, former college and NFL quarterback, and currently NBC's college football analyst

"The Galloping Ghost was as big in his day as Babe Ruth, but we've forgotten how critical he was in building the modern NFL. A new biography aims to set that right."--Gelf Magazine


Blogger Bearsfan said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the book! As a native of the Chicago area and lifelong Bears fan, it's an amazing story about how poorly the NFL was viewed in its early years to where it is today.
And Grange was clearly the catalyst with his remarkable barnstorming tour of making pro football legitimate.
I was looking at ESPN's list of the top 100 athletes of the
20th century and saw Grange was number 28.
I think it's an insult!
There's no way any football player should be ahead of Grange with perhaps the sole exception of the great Jim Thorpe!
Grange should be in the top five on that list easily!

2:42 PM  

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