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1 Burnside Sports and Fitness- Sports Writing

Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports


Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports Cover

ISBN13: 9780393080179
ISBN10: 039308017x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Howard Cosell was one of the most recognizable and controversial figures in American sports history. His colorful bombast, fearless reporting, and courageous stance on civil rights soon captured the attention of listeners everywhere. No mere jock turned "pretty-boy" broadcaster, the Brooklyn-born Cosell began as a lawyer before becoming a radio commentator. "Telling it like it is," he covered nearly every major sports story for three decades, from the travails of Muhammad Ali to the tragedy at Munich. Featuring a sprawling cast of athletes such as Jackie Robinson, Sonny Liston, Don Meredith, and Joe Namath, Howard Cosell also re-creates the behind-the-scenes story of that American institution, Monday Night Football. With more than forty interviews, Mark Ribowsky presents Cosell's life as part of an American panorama, examining racism, anti-Semitism, and alcoholism, among other sensitive themes. Cosell's endless complexities are brilliantly explored in this haunting work that reveals as much about the explosive commercialization of sports as it does about a much-neglected media giant.

Book News Annotation:

The author of this biography draws on recent interviews to tell the life story of legendary sportscaster and pop culture icon Howard Cosell (1918-1995). The book examines Cosell's impact on sports and sports journalism, focusing on the 1960s-70s, and recounts the behind-the-scenes chaos and the controversies over racism and anti-Semitism that followed Cosell throughout his career. The author analyzes Cosell's relationships with family, colleagues, TV networks, and athletes, especially boxer Muhammed Ali, and looks at the impact of Cosell's alcoholism on his career. Ribowsky has written other sports biographies. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


A deeply misunderstood sports legend, once the most hated and loved man in America, gets his due in this absorbing, revelatory biography.

About the Author

Mark Ribowsky's books include the New York Times Notable Book Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball. He lives in Plainview, New York.

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Brian Seifert, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Brian Seifert)

In this comprehensive and thoughtful biography, Mark Ribowsky describes Howard Cosell as a complex person who was a self promoter but also socially alert. This is a serious book. It looks at Cosell on several levels: as a person, a media figure, and a part of the culture in volatile times. His connection to Muhammad Ali is explained. It was a complex relationship that helped both men and grew into a respectful friendship. The book also offers a good look at how broadcast media are run, showing how Cosell grew to be valued. Ribowsky's research and depth of exploration of Cosell should be a model for anyone working on a biography.
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Matthew Schwartz, December 13, 2011 (view all comments by Matthew Schwartz)
Surprisingly, given Howard Cosell's incredible life and career, there has never been a definitive biography of the sportscaster, who died in 1995. Now, Mark Ribowsky has come up with a beauty.
"Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports" is an exhaustively researched, meticulous look at Cosell's life and the sports events he so memorably covered. In a 1978 poll by TV Guide, Cosell was voted both the most liked and most disliked sportscaster in America. To this day, there has been no sportscaster like him.
Ribowsky's narrative is woven with numerous interviews of Cosell's colleagues and critics. Cosell's weaknesses-his massive insecurties and often nasty nature-are detailed along with his often brilliant boxing commentaries, Monday Night Football drama, the tragic Munich Olympics, and much more.
Cosell's association with Muhammad Ali is a major portion of the book, as it was in his life. Cosell took an unpopular stand not only with Ali, but on numerous societal issues that transcended sports.
In this era of sportscasters and anchors who do little more than yell over highlights and emphasize the mundane in sports, there is no one like Howard Cosell. His penchant for the dramatic while annnouncing games is certainly missed. But the sports journalism he produced and that is rarely found today, is missed even more.
Ribowksy has done a fantastic job in detailing an amazing life.
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Product Details

Ribowsky, Mark
W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date:
35 black-and-white illustrations
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Biography » Sports
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Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » General
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Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports Used Hardcover
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Product details 496 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393080179 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A deeply misunderstood sports legend, once the most hated and loved man in America, gets his due in this absorbing, revelatory biography.
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