Football season is well underway and we’re here to add a dose of football and NFL themed reads to your TBR. Featuring reads that will educate you on the origins of modern football, the creation of the NFL and sports media, the intersections of football and politics, and a selection of articles from the Journal of Sports History, this list has everything you need for kickoff.

Walter Camp and the Creation of American Football

Roger R. Tamte

Roger R. Tamte tells the engrossing but forgotten life story of Walter Camp, the man contemporaries called “the father of American football.” He charts Camp’s leadership and for the first time tells the story behind the remarkably inventive rule change that, in Camp’s own words, was “more important than all the rest of the legislation combined.”




Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Remade American Politics

Jesse Berrett

Jesse Berrett explores pro football’s new place in the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 1970s. Governing, entertainment, news, elections, celebrity—all put aside old loyalties to pursue the mass audience captured by the NFL’s alchemy of presentation, television, and high-stepping style. An invigorating appraisal of a dynamic era, Pigskin Nation reveals how pro football created the template for a future that became our present.



Keepers of the Flame

Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media

Travis Vogan

NFL Films changed the way Americans viewed professional football. In Keepers of the Flame: NFL Films and the Rise of Sports Media, Travis Vogan presents NFL Films’ rise from a small independent production company to a marketing machine Sports Illustrated called “perhaps the most effective propaganda organ in the history of corporate America.”




The Revolt of The Black Athlete

Harry Edwards

This Fiftieth Anniversary edition of Harry Edwards’s classic of activist scholarship offers a new introduction and afterword that revisits the revolts by athletes like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos. Relating the rebellion of black athletes to a larger spirit of revolt among black citizens, Edwards moves his story forward to our era of protests, boycotts, and the dramatic politicization of athletes by Black Lives Matter.



Football and Manliness: An Unauthorized Feminist Account of the NFL

Thomas P. Oates

Thomas P. Oates uses feminist theory to break down the dynamic cultural politics shaping, and shaped by, today’s NFL.Though longing for a past dominated by white masculinity, the mediated NFL also subtly aligns with a new economic reality that demands it cope with the shifting relations of gender, race, sexuality, and class.




NFL Football - Richard Crepeau

NFL Football: A History of America’s New  National Pastime

Richard C. Crepeau

In this wide-ranging history, Richard C. Crepeau synthesizes scholarship and media sources to give the reader an inside view of the television contracts, labor issues, and other forces that shaped the league off the field and all too often determined a team’s success on it. NFL Football tells an epic American success story peopled by larger-than-life figures and driven by ambition, money, sweat, and dizzying social and technological changes.



 Journal of Sport History

Edited by Maureen Smith

The Journal of Sport History is published on behalf of The North American Society for Sport History. It seeks to promote the study of all aspects of the history of sport. The Journal of Sports History frequently discusses the NFL in its content, which can be found here:


This is the fourth installment of our blog series exploring the articles in the special issue on “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore(vol. 131, no. 522). The special issue on “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore (vol. 131, no. 522) is available in print and on JSTOR now. 

Pretend News, False News, Fake News: The Onion as Put-On, Prank, and Legend
By: Ian Brodie

When I first encountered The Onion I shared their humorous stories on my wall: technically, my door. The little window and then the entirety of my cramped study carrel on the third floor of the Arts Building at Memorial University of Newfoundland soon became

covered with print-offs from its website. In my corner of far-eastern Canada, well-distanced from its home base in Wisconsin or the large American urban centers of its print distribution network, The Onion arrived as a newly discoverable source of witty and cynical humour that reflected how my cohort and I imagined ourselves.

And often those stories would be torn down, defaced, or otherwise subjected to some kind of “commentary.” When removed from the context of a humour website and placed upon the grand entrance to an inner sanctum in the hallowed halls of the ivory tower (however plywood-y that sanctum may have been), how were they interpreted? The Onion was barely known at that place and time, still a niche for the first generation of digital migrants. And this was different from the yellowed New Yorker cartoon of the tenure-tracked do

ors that signalled ‘read me askance’: this looked like journalism, which is almost like real research! How was it to be taken?

My article, “Pretend News, False News, Fake News: The Onion as Put-On, Prank, and Legend,” shies away from this auto-ethnographic moment. It is a reflection on the recontextualization of a piece of humour from its initial source and the different “authority” bestowed on it through both the act of sharing and the relationship of the sharer to the new audience. Looking back, however, this examination of the double-edged quandary of what happens when news parody becomes mistaken for reality and—more soberly—how the parodist negotiates the grim realities of the real world must have some of its genesis on that door.

The whole issue can be found here:

Read the article from blog post #2 by Tom Mould, guest editor
Read the article from blog post #3 by Timothy Evans 
Read the article from blog post #4 by Ian Brodie 


During the 1968 Olympics at Mexico City, two American 200-meter sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos performed arguably the most overtly political statement in the history of the Modern Olympic Games. After Smith and Carlos received their Gold and Bronze medals, respectively, they each raised a black gloved fist in a Black Power salute and bowed their heads for the duration of the national anthem.

Considered by many as the most overtly political statement in the history of the Modern Olympic Games, Carlos and Smith received massive backlash for their actions, including being kicked out of the Games and enduring death threats from fellow Americans. Smith explained his and Carlos’s motivation for the protest: “We were concerned about the lack of black assistant coaches. About how Muhammad Ali got stripped of his title. About the lack of access to good housing and our kids not being able to attend the top colleges.”

Carlos and Smith were inspired by Dr. Harry Edwards, an American sociologist whose career focused on African Americans in sports and sports management. Edwards was the founder of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), a movement calling for the boycott of the 1968 Olympics to protest racial segregation in America and racism in sports in general. Smith, Carlos, and silver medalist Peter Norman supported OPHR. Instead of boycotting, however, they elected to demonstrate openly at the Games proper, wanting to use their influence as leverage for the movement.

Edwards recounts the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute and its aftermath in The Revolt of the Black Athlete. The Fiftieth Anniversary edition of his classic of activist scholarship offers a new introduction and afterword that revisits the revolts by athletes like Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos. At the same time, Edwards engages with the struggles of a present still rife with racism, double standards, and economic injustice. Again relating the rebellion of black athletes to a larger spirit of revolt among black citizens, Edwards moves his story forward to our era of protests, boycotts, and the dramatic politicization of athletes by Black Lives Matter. As Carlos declares years later, “They tried to make it a moment, but it was a movement because we’re still in the movement today.”

Incisive yet ultimately hopeful, The Revolt of the Black Athlete is the still-essential study of the conflicts at the interface of sport, race, and society.

This summer the newly created University of Illinois Press Green Team – made up of staff members Jennifer Barbee, Jennifer Comeau, James Engelhardt, and Julie Laut – worked with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Certified Green Office Program to find simple, inexpensive actions we could take in our building and personal workspaces to reduce the use of resources and improve overall sustainability. The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) outlines the campus’ plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and this program allows offices the opprtunity to help achieve that goal through day to day actions.

Just this month we were pleased to learn that the University of Illinois Press has achieved Gold-Level Standards in the Certified Green Office Program! We have already implemented many suggestions, including the use of recycled paper, double-sided printing, and using rechargeable batteries. New initiatives include motions sensor lights and a new “Directions to the Press” page with bus schedules. As a staff, we are encouraging each other to turn off office lights, use reusable dishware, and bring refillable bottles for drinking water.

We continue to look for ways to create more sustainable practices in our building, so that the University of Illinois Press can be do its part to contribute to the iCAP every day.

This is the third installment of our blog series exploring the articles in the special issue on “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore(vol. 131, no. 522). The issue will be available on JSTOR and in print in mid-October. Check this blog in the coming weeks for frequent posts by some of the folklorists who examined the concept of fake news in their 2017 AFS conference presentations and contributed to the special issue of the Journal of American Folklore.

The Bowling Green Massacre
By: Timothy Evans

Usually academic writing (mine, at least) is the end product of research. The Bowling Green Massacre, however, was something I “lived through.” My article is as much a memoir as an analytical piece. For several weeks in February 2017, the “massacre” was a major topic of conversation in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where I have lived and worked as a folklore professor for nineteen years. It dominated both social media and the local news cycle. It became a major topic of discussion in the classroom. To have the community I live in become the target of “fake news” was at once surreal and enlightening.

Philip K. Dick, a novelist whose work in many ways predicted the phenomenon of “fake news,” commented that “reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Daily life continued in Bowling Green, a community which has had a large population of immigrants and refugees for many years, with never a terrorist attack. The obvious absurdity of the massacre claim was a source of humor and creative inspiration, manifesting in memes, faux survivor stories, songs, and celebrations.

My article is largely an account of my own experiences with the “massacre” and that of my Bowling Green neighbors, especially the playful and artful counter-narratives that interest me as a folklorist. I hope that others will write or collect accounts of direct experiences with “fake news.” When we are deluged with “alternative facts” coming from politicians, the media, multinational corporations, religious authorities, or from our social media “friends,” it is easy to feel helpless. One solution to this, perhaps, is to focus on the concrete realities of our everyday lives, on our stories, and on the humor and imagination which are so often the way we tell truth to power.

The work of Italian engineer and builder Pier Luigi Nervi fascinates and inspires half a century after the completion of his best-known works.

The spiraling, web-like patterns of his 1957 Palazzo dello Sport is still breathtaking in its span, scale, and resolution. Nervi’s buildings were of concrete, a material that in the hands of other designers was often cold or alienating. But Nervi was able to coax concrete into works of great beauty—so much so that Harvard University invited him to deliver the 1961 Norton Lectures in Poetry. Nervi’s technical and philosophical fluency is evident in a reprint of those talks, titled Aesthetics and Technology in Building, and is explored in a new book, Beauty’s Rigor. Together these volumes demonstrate how Nervi’s attention to material and processes forged a unique sensibility that imprinted his work with finely grained patterns that lend his buildings their human scale.
—Thomas Leslie

Beauty’s Rigor offers a comprehensive overview of Nervi’s long career. Drawing on the Nervi archives and a wealth of photographs and architectural drawings, Thomas Leslie explores celebrated buildings. What emerges is the first complete account of Nervi’s contributions to modern architecture and his essential role in a revolution that realized concrete’s potential to match grace with strength.


Aesthetics and Technology in Building: The Twenty-First-Century Edition introduces Nervi’s ideas about architecture and engineering to a new generation of students and admirers. More than 200 photographs, details, drawings, and plans show how Nervi put his ideas into practice.he uses his major projects to show how these now-iconic buildings emerged from structural truths and far-sighted construction processes.


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This is the second installment of our blog series exploring the articles in the special issue on “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore (vol. 131, no. 522). The issue will be available on JSTOR and in print in mid-October. Check this blog in the coming weeks for frequent posts by some of the folklorists who examined the concept of fake news in their 2017 AFS conference presentations and contributed to the special issue of the Journal of American Folklore.

A Doubt-Centered Approach to Contemporary Legend and Fake News
By Tom Mould, guest editor of the Special Issue on Fake News

Red or blue, Republican or Democrat, conservative or progressive, the issue of fake news inspires strong emotions. Yet while some contemplate fake news in horror, others shout it as liberation. In a rose-colored world where glasses are half full, we might imagine that the divergence is merely a semantic one. Sometimes fake news is used to describe news parody such as “The Daily Show,” and The Onion, other times to describe intentionally false and misleading stories, and still others to impugn the motive and reporting of very real journals and journalists. I am a card-carrying optimist, but even I cannot explain away the deep divide where fake news is used in such clearly contradictory ways.

It is tempting to believe that these three categories are easily recognizable and distinguishable, that we can laugh at the first, dismiss the second, and critique the third. But as folklorists know from the study of traditional communication grounded in real social contexts, boundaries between real and parody, rumor and truth, conspiracy and fact are hardly so clear. Belief is not understood as an either/or proposition, and meaning is not fixed but created in the moment. A fabricated news story written as satire from The Onion can get tweeted or emailed without the clear graphic and verbal markers that signal parody and be interpreted as a true story. A story researched and vetted accordingly to the highest standards of journalism can be dismissed out of hand simply because of the news agency who produced it. And as we know all too well, hackers from around the globe can spread false stories through social media that help shape our views, from opinions about politicians to issues of immigration.

It is therefore no exaggeration to say that fake news poses a deep and dire threat to democracy.

It is also no exaggeration to say that fake news in all its dimensions has inspired an explosion of creativity, often, but not solely, as a critical response to misinformation and outright fabrications passed off as truth. And so, a group of fifteen folklorists well-practiced in the study of belief, narrative, politics, and online lore gathered together to discuss fake news, not just as a timely phenomenon, but as a contemporary expression of forces that have inspired and plagued us for at least two thousand years.

In my own piece, I consider how the phenomenon of fake news may benefit from a new approach to the study of contemporary legends, attending not only to how narrators make their stories credible, but how audiences hear those stories and find doubt. Taken together, the articles in the special issue “Fake News” from the Journal of American Folklore challenge us to consider the chilling threats and wildly creative responses created and inspired by fake news, providing a powerful example of how scholars can weigh in productively in contemporary cultural and political discussions.

To celebrate 100 years of publishing Lincoln, we’re having a sale on all our Lincoln Studies titles! October 3-6, use Promo Code LINCOLN on our website to get 50% off on all Lincoln Studies books!


Abraham Lincoln is no stranger to the University of Illinois Press. In fact, Daniel Kilham Dodge’s Abraham Lincoln: The Evolution of His Literary Style was published 18 years before the press was officially established by the Board of Trustees. Since then,  the press has published dozens of important titles in Lincoln and Civil War studies from many of the nation’s premiere Lincoln Scholars. The Press also works closely with many organizations in the field including the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center, the Abraham Lincoln Association, and the Illinois Historical Society.

Need some ideas for what to buy? Check out some of our latest and greatest below. And if you’re attending the Conference on Illinois History, don’t miss our 100 Years of Publishing Lincoln panel and centennial reception.

Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Battle Over Freedom

Graham A. Peck

The Press’s commitment to the study of our state’s and nation’s past continues. Published in 2017, Graham A. Peck’s Making an Antislavery Nation presents an original and compelling explanation for the triumph of the antislavery movement in the United States in the years prior to the Civil War.




Lincoln’s Confidant: The Life of Noah Brooks

Wayne C. Temple

From the legendary Lincoln scholar Wayne C. Temple comes the long-awaited full-length biography of Noah Brooks, the influential Illinois journalist who championed Abraham Lincoln in Illinois state politics and became his almost daily companion at the White House.

Available December 2018




Lincoln the Lawyer

Brian Dirck

Lincoln, of course, was more than a president. He spent most of his adult life as a practicing lawyer. Dirck’s Lincoln the Lawyer explores the origins of Lincoln’s desire to practice law, his legal education, his partnerships with colleagues, and the maturation of his far-flung practice in the 1840s and 1850s.

Awarded the Barondess/Lincoln Award of the Civil War Round Table of New York (2007)




The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson, eds.

Published during the 150th Anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates in 2008, Davis’s and Wilson’s landmark volume is the most complete record ever assembled on the topic.

A volume in the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center Series





“We Cannot Escape History”: Lincoln and the Last Best Hope of Earth

James M. McPherson, ed.

Well known for his 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom, McPherson assembled Lincoln and Civil War scholars including Kenneth M. Stampp, Jean H. Baker, and Harold Holzer for “We Cannot Escape History,” which examines Lincoln’s role in shaping the destiny of the United States and the world.




Join us at the 2018 Association for the Study of African American Life and History annual meeting and conference for a reception and book signing with Sandra M. Bolzenius, author of  Glory in Their Spirit: How FourBlack Women Took On the Army during World War II.

3:00–4:00 p.m., Friday, October 5, 2018
University of Illinois Press booths 5 & 6
Refreshments will be served





We’re also delighted to announce the launch of the Darlene Clark Hine fund which will support Black studies publications that build a greater understanding of the African American experience.





And don’t forget to check out some of our latest African American studies titles while you’re there! Get University of Illinois Press books at the conference discount of up to 40% off with free shipping, and journal subscriptions up to 30% off.




We hope to see you there!

Join us on October 4, 2018 at the Conference on Illinois History for a panel celebrating 100 years of Publishing Lincoln and a reception celebrating  200 Years of Illinois History, 100 Years of the University of Illinois Press and 20 Years of the Conference on Illinois History!

           100 Years of Publishing Lincoln Panel  3:30-5:00pm

Chair: Dr. Brian Dirck, professor of history at Anderson University, Indiana and author of books including Abraham Lincoln and White America, Lincoln and the Constitution, and Lincoln the Lawyer, winner of the Barondess Award from the New York Civil War Roundtable for best book on Abraham Lincoln.


Dr. Catherine ClintonDenman Endowed Professor at the University of Texas San Antonio, author of biographies of Mary Todd Lincoln and Harriett Tubman and an expert on women and the Civil War.

Dr. Fred Hord, professor of Africana Studies at Knox College and coeditor of a forthcoming book on African American perceptions of Lincoln, from Frederick Douglass’s response to Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech in 1858 to the centenary of Emancipation.

Dr. Kate Masur, associate professor of history at Northwestern University and author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (2010) and numerous articles on emancipation and black politics during and after the Civil War. Her most recent project is the republication of a largely forgotten classic in Lincoln studies and African American history, They Knew Lincolnby John E. Washington.

Dr. Graham Peck, professor of history at Saint Xavier University and author of Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Battle over Freedom (University of Illinois Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the 2018 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. The book focuses on Lincoln and Douglas in reinterpreting the rise of antislavery politics. Peck also wrote, directed, and produced “Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy,” a feature-length documentary film that was broadcast on WTTW, Chicago.

Evening Reception in the Abraham Lincoln Library Atrium 5:00-6:30pm

Light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

*Conference registration not required to attend the U of I Press panel or evening reception.*

Please RSVP for the reception by September 29 at

Parking is available in the Museum Parking Garage, located on the corner of Sixth and Madison Streets.

The rate is $0.75 per 1/2 hour or $1.50 per hour.

Directions to the library can be found here,