Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Southtown Star: "A masterful job"

A very nice review in the (Chicago) Sun-Times' Southtown Star about the book...

Galloping Ghost is an ideal read for any football fan

As we settle in to enjoy another NFL season, it's time to remember the guy who helped bring respectability to a fledgling football league back in the 1920s.

Picture a pro-sports league looked down upon by most of the American public, who view it as a collection of rogues not worthy of their attention. Then picture the top college star of the day shocking the sports world by joining that pro league.

The scenario, in a nutshell, is what happened when Harold "Red" Grange,--who attained legendary status when he played for the University of Illinois, joined the Chicago Bears after the 1925 college season.

Author Gary Andrew Poole does a masterful job telling the story in "The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, An American Football Legend."...Poole's storytelling is top-notch. You can almost feel the hits Grange took from defensive players and nearly taste the mud...This book is ideal book for any football fan...I had chills reading about the Michigan game...

To read more, click here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Site of the Day"

The Galloping Ghost website has won a "site of the day" award from Design Licks.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Galloping Ghost: Website Launch

I just realized that I never announced the launch of my Website. The site has been up for about a year, but it was only 1/4 of what it is now. We waited until the launch of the book to totally complete it. So it has been totally live for just a few weeks. Make sure you go to the Experience side of the site, too, which tells the story of the book through moving images, images, and sound. It is very cool.

The site been a couple years in the making, and a great journey for me. I have enjoyed working with Jory Kruspe and Craig Hooper, the Analogue team. It couldn't have gone any better. Kruspe and Hooper are incredibly smart, creative designers, and true pros. We went to great pains to reflect my book, The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend (Houghton Mifflin). I will try and hold back on the hyperbole, but the site is beautiful, haunting, fun, and moving. Hats off to Jory and Craig.

Please let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Galloping Ghost

The Galloping Ghost was mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Washington Post: Review of The Galloping Ghost

The Galloping Ghost was reviewed in Sunday's Washington Post. Click here for the review.

In the Stands: Ohio State Vs. USC

Orange County Register: Q & A

Click here for a Q & A. The interview is with Mark Saxon of the Orange County Register.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Chicago History Museum: Author! Author!

Nice write-up of my book from Chicago History Museum President Gary Johnson, who writes a monthly commentary called "Author! Author!" on significant books. Chicago has always impressed me with its love of history. The museum is well-worth a visit and it was a great resource in my book research.

Poole, Gary Andrew. The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company (2008).

President's Commentary, October, 2008: College football was popular and well-established when Red Grange starred for the University of Illinois, but professional football was seen as a kind of carnival freak show. That all changed when Grange went to play for George Halas, the young owner of the Chicago Bears and a "missionary" for what professional football could become. The third indispensible ingredient was Charles C. Pyle, a theatre-owner in Champaign and a promoter with a shadowy reputation. Grange's college coach, Robert Zuppke, was disgusted at Grange's decision to go pro and tried to talk him out of it, but what followed was the creation of a pro football world with stars and loyal fans, a world that we would recognize today. Still, the most interesting details about Grange himself come from his college years, when working off-season as an iceman in his hometown of Wheaton kept him in shape. On the day in 1924 when the University of Illinois stadium was dedicated, Grange scored six touchdowns against the University of Michigan, a day that always will be remembered in college football.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Illinois Loyalty

Illinois Loyalty talks about The Galloping Ghost, and raves about my Website.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Tour, Day #5 & #6

For the last couple days I have been on a "national radio tour" talking about The Galloping Ghost to radio hosts in large and small cities. I go on a half-dozen radio shows everyday and get interviewed about my book. It has really been a kick, and the hosts have asked excellent questions. One definitely took me by surprise, however. "Would Red Grange be a guy we would like to party with?"

That one stumped me a bit.

My favorite line: "Nothin' better than a Sunday in the fall: huntin' in the mornin', watchin' football in the afternoon."

Runner-up: The host repeatedly calling me "the GAP man," and saying "there is no GAP in your brain, man, this is a groovy book...my last copy goes to the seventh caller..."

Also, I had a nice mention of the book in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Chicago Public Radio: The Galloping Ghost

I was on Chicago Public Radio this morning. It's an interview with me about my book, and it is on an excellent show called 848, WBEZ's version of NPR's Morning Edition. If you're not familiar with Chicago Public Radio, it is the home base for such stellar programs as This American Life. For people in Chicago, the interview will be rebroadcast tonight at 8 p.m. (CST).

I plan to put the interview on iTunes in the near future, but for now you can click here to listen to it.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Book Tour, Day #4

The University of Illinois has been renovating Memorial Stadium, and today was the opening day. A big deal for Illini fans. Memorial is the place that Red Grange made famous with his outstanding performance on dedication day in 1924 so that is why I was here. (If you are not a regular reader of In The Fray, Red Grange is the subject of my just-released book.)

So this morning I went to Memorial at about 8 a.m. with John Carroll, a Grange historian.

Although I am not a big fan of luxury boxes, Illinois did a nice job with the renovation, and it really celebrates its history with banners and photos and other memorabilia. I haven't been back to Champaign-Urbana since I was researching The Galloping Ghost and reporting an article for the New York Times on the great midwestern football stadiums. Memorial is really a masterpiece of brickwork and I think the University of Illinois did a good job in its renovation; they preserved the stadiums qualities without tricking it up too much.

We were interviewed on the WDWS pre-game show. The hosts-- Jim Turpin and Loren Tate--were terrific. (Click here for the interview. We had a really nice chat about Grange for about 12 minutes but, unfortunately, they don't have it all on-line.)

Then we watched the game in University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman's suite. (Grange is still very popular in C-U, as you can probably guess.) Chancellor Herman penned a nice write-up of my book, too.

Sitting in the luxury box was very nice and I am thankful for the experience, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into the world of college boosters...

Post-game, we went to the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Carroll and I talked about Grange and we signed a few dozen books.

It was a great way to end the first leg of the tour. Special thanks to Charlie Finn who escorted us around all day, and Lynn Chaney who organized the reading. In the next two weeks, I will be on sports radio shows, and I will be talking at Village Books (Pacific Palisades, CA; October 16); the Tattered Cover (Denver, Colorado; November 19); Varsity Letters (New York; December 4).

Friday, September 05, 2008

Book Tour, Day #3

Before leaving Chicago today, I went to the Barnes & Noble near my hotel. I have heard of writers going into stores to see how their books are displayed. I vowed to myself never to be so crazy as to worry about such things and leave the book selling to the book-selling professionals. Of course, I found my book--"Only the spines are showing!"--and turned one so the front cover was facing store gazers. I also wanted to take a couple copies and put them in the "Local Interest" section at the front of the store. Red Grange is a Chicago icon! Despite an urge to put my book on the table with its Chicago brothers and sisters, I decided against it because a security guard was eyeing me suspiciously and following me around...

I drove to Champaign-Urbana, home of the University of Illinois. Once in C-U, I went on The Afternoon Magazine with Celeste Quinn, a radio show on WILL, an NPR affiliate. Celeste asked some great questions. Click here to listen in. (My interview, about 12 minutes in length, starts about a 1/4 of the way through.)

Library Journal: Good review

Good review of The Galloping Ghost in Library Journal:

Poole's biography of seminal 1920s football legend Red Grange draws inevitable comparison to John M. Carroll's fine Red Grange and the Rise of Modern Football(1999). Carroll's book was more academically oriented and allotted more attention to Grange's postfootball life. Poole takes more of a journalistic approach and devotes special focus to Grange's manager, duplicitous showman C.C. Pyle, in depicting Grange and the world gone by in which he starred. Poole is eminently readable, and the accent on Pyle is a real bonus. Even libraries with Carroll's work should welcome this new biography of a giant in American sports and pop culture.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Book Tour, Day #2

Before beginning my book tour, I read about authors who hated the grind of going on the road. Authors live a hermit-like existence: we spend a few years working on a book and then we come out of our cave for awhile to talk about our work. Many writers choose the profession because they like to exist in isolation.

But I have the opposite reaction to my author tour. I am lucky to be on one, and it is a lot of fun.

I think it is incredibly interesting to talk about my book, and I am appreciative of people who come to hear me speak. I had a very nice day today. Bob Asmussen of the News-Gazette interviewed me, and I was on Mark Tupper's show on WSOY-1340 AM (Decatur, Illinois); The Daily Herald, the largest exclusively suburban newspaper in the Chicago area and the third-largest newspaper in Illinois, had a story about The Galloping Ghost.

At 7 p.m. I spoke at the Center for History in Wheaton (Illinois). Despite intense rains, John McCain's speech, and the opening of the NFL season, 30 people attended my talk and the Center sold out all of its copies of my book. I spent a lot of time chatting with people, many of whom knew Red Grange. It was really a nice evening and several people who helped me with the book were there supporting me, too.

But here is why I like author tours: you get to meet people impacted by your work; you get to create connections...I introduced myself to a woman who told me her husband was a Red Grange fan. Her husband was in ill health and in the hospital. She had read the Daily Herald article about Grange; she read it aloud to her husband. Her husband insisted that she attend the reading, meet me, and buy a book. She told me she would read The Galloping Ghost, as a form of comfort, to him.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Book Tour, Day #1

I am in Chicago on my book tour for The Galloping Ghost.

I came in late last night and I immediately went to a chop house for a steak and martini. In the culinary sense, Chicago is like the Midwestern version of New Orleans. My steak was bathing in juices with two onion rings on the side, and the martini had three olives, all stuffed with blue cheese. Delicious. As I ate I watched a Cubs game, and read through Chicago Magazine, which has a nice mention in its "Noteworthy new releases" section about The Galloping Ghost: "Football wasn't truly football until the coming of Red Grange, one of the most influential Bears players of all time. In The Galloping Ghost, first-time biographer Gary Poole describes the life of Wheaton-raised Grange and his impact on the game, the business, and the popularity of football in our country."

I also recorded an interview at the studios at Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ). The interview will air next week. I am reading at the BookStall tonight.