The Galloping Ghost
Red Grange, an American Football Legend
By Gary Andrew Poole
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618691630, 336pp.)
Publication Date: September 2008
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In the 1920s four athletes defined American sports: Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones, and Red Grange. They were the country's first athletic pantheon, its Mount Rushmore, and for a few brief years Red Grange outshone them all. The Galloping Ghost tells the remarkable untold story of this fleet-footed college football player who inspired poetry, dazzled fans as he felled opponents on the field, and, with the help of an unscrupulous and utterly brilliant manager (the first real-life Jerry Maguire), helped launch and legitimize professional football, changing American sports forever.
In this first major biography of Red Grange, Gary Andrew Poole draws on exhaustive research and interviews to evoke the golden age of sports in all its splendor and outrageousness. He transports readers from college football rallies to barnstorming tours, from the locker room to the White House to Hollywood, as he recounts Grange’s rise and tragic fall. And he lays bare the fascinating and psychologically complex relationship between a star athlete and the nation’s first real sports agenta relationship that encapsulated the good and shadowy sides of sports and how they inevitably intersected.
For fans of Cinderella Man, The Devil and Sonny Liston, and The Devil in the White City, The Galloping Ghost is a provocative, character-driven, atmospheric sports history that gives us a new understanding of a seminal sports figure, from raw and innocent athletic talent to mortal American icon. A symbol of rebellious manhood and virility, Red Grange is a reminder of the fleeting nature of fame, youth, and physical dominance.
GARY ANDREW POOLE has written for the New York Times, Time, GQ, USA Today, Wired, and other periodicals. He graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
"The valuable part of the narrative is a story that many sports fans will not know, or at least know only in outlinenamely, the increasing blurring of sports figure and cultural celebrity in the Depression era, especially once Hollywood began to recruit sports stars to turn up in all sorts of B-list productions. That blurring, after all, is what defines sports figures today, and Grange was an indisputable pioneer . . . A useful character study of a figure often overlooked today." Kirkus Reviews
"Puts Grange's great career in the context of its colorful time... Pays worthy tribute to a legend." Booklist, ALA
"Poole is eminently readable, and the accent on Pyle is a real bonus." Library Journal
"A lively, well-written biography of this towering figure. Grange revolutionized the game on the field and his business manager, C.C. Pyle, revolutionized it off it." -- Orange County Register
"...reveals how the game is played on the field, and how it resonates in the wider world." The Washington Post
"[Poole] recounts the rise and tragic fall of the first national star of the gridiron. Poole also lays bare the complex relationship between a prominent athlete and the nation's first real sports agent." -- (Chicago) Sun-Times News Group
"Poole gives us the first major biography of Grange." -- Time Out Chicago
"Football wasn't truly football until the coming of Red Grange" -- Chicago Magazine