Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

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Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics is a long, well-researched history of how the NFL rose to prominence from the late 1950s to the 1970s. The book cites newspaper reports, magazine articles, and other accounts to piece together how the NFL went from being a violent and unappealing game to being a staple of American life, a benchmark of masculinity, and a necessity to making politicians appear like the everyman.

Anyone who has a basic grasp of the history of American football will likely enjoy this book. It takes a sliver of sports history, and shows how it grew to intersect with the political sphere using anecdotes and primary sources from the time. It shows how football relied on journalists in the 1950s to make it approachable to politicians and intellectuals, and later how those politicians and intellectuals used football to make themselves approachable.

This book does not get into any accounts of modern politics and football–that is, the 1990s and beyond. However, that doesn’t mean this book is completely irrelevant. Pigskin Nation depicts the development of the symbiotic relationship between politicians, the NFL, and football players. Readers can draw their own conclusions about what that means in the modern day.

For me, I see and understand the NFL’s relationship with politics today and marvel at its intersection, but as someone who has only just begun to follow and understand sports, this book was a little beyond my realm of understanding. It references people and events in football history that I have no knowledge of. I can appreciate the book for its thorough research and for shining a light on a moment in history that grew to have great importance today. I would need more than a rudimentary understanding of football, and of sports as a steering-wheel to societal issues, to fully grasp this book.


Reviewed By:

Author Jesse Berrett
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Publish Date 2018-Apr-30
ISBN 9780252041709
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Sports & Outdoors
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