A unique new reference work, this encyclopedia presents a social, cultural, and economic history of American sports from hunting, bowling, and skating in the sixteenth century to televised professional sports and the X Games today. Nearly 400 articles examine historical and cultural aspects of leagues, teams, institutions, major competitions, the media and other related industries, as well as legal and social issues, economic factors, ethnic and racial participation, and the growth of institutions and venues. Also included are biographical entries on notable individuals—not just outstanding athletes, but owners and promoters, journalists and broadcasters, and innovators of other kinds—along with in-depth entries on the history of major and minor sports from air racing and archery to wrestling and yachting. A detailed chronology, master bibliography, and directory of institutions, organizations, and governing bodies—plus more than 100 vintage and contemporary photographs—round out the coverage.
Steven A. Riess (Ph.D., U. of Chicago, 1974) formerly the Bernard Brommel Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of History at Northeastern Illinois University is the author of several books, three of which were cited by CHOICE as "Outstanding Academic Books." Other awards include the Webb-Smith Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Among the founding members of the North American Society for Sport History, he edited the Journal of Sport History from 1985 to 1992.
In 2011 American sports generated $200 billion as an industry, more than twice as much as our automobile industry. Where were these funds expended? The editor of Sports in America states that 30 million Americans expended $40 billion on fishing gear alone. And what about the couch potatoes? Sports fans expended $22.4 billion on attending sporting events in 2010. The purpose of this three-volume set is to provide a comprehensive history of American sports as well as an in-depth analysis of how social forces have shaped American sports history (and vice versa). The work is divided into three major sections, the first of which offers long essays of the history of sports from colonial times to the twenty-first century. The next section—the largest by far—is organized alphabetically and covers athletes, teams, institutions, and topics such as business, media, and immigration. There’s even an entry for Saloons, taverns, and sports bars. The third section includes a chronology, an annotated list of institutions and organizations, and a bibliography. An extensive index in volume 3 points the user to specific references in the text, but there is also a table of contents for each volume and a "Topic Finder" that makes the set a browser’s delight.A cursory search of the literature shows that the two-volume Encyclopedia of Sports in America: A History from Foot Races to Extreme Sports was published in 2009, but that shorter work seems to be a historical treatment. Based on this comparison, Sports in America from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century is recommended for academic and larger public library collections. Smaller libraries with Encyclopedia of Sports in America will have to decide if the expenditure is justified.