Forty Minutes of Hell (Hardcover)

The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson

By Rus Bradburd

Amistad, 9780061690464, 336pp.

Publication Date: February 1, 2010



"Nolan Richardson's extraordinary life and success as the University of Arkansas' coach are an important chapter in the history of our country's struggle for racial equality, with all the excitement of the Final Four. What an incredible journey "
--President Bill Clinton Forty Minutes of Hell by Rus Bradburd is an intricate exploration of the politics of race and sports, from the Jim Crow era until today, witnessed through the life of legendary African-American basketball coach and NCAA Title winner Nolan Richardson. A remarkable story of pride, courage, and accomplishment in the face of discrimination, Forty Minutes of Hell is also a fascinating window into the world of elite collegiate sports. NBA legend Charles Barkley calls this inspiring and important biography, "A great story about America and its hidden histories....Every American should thank Richardson] for showing us it was possible."

Praise For Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson

“This is a great story about America and its hidden histories. . . Every black college coach with a good job today owes Nolan Richardson a measure of respect for the fearless way he kicked down doors. Every American should thank him for showing us it was possible.”
-Charles Barkley, basketball legend

“Suggestion: Place a note pad nearby . . . in order to keep score of the ‘wow’ moments, as in ‘Wow, did that really happen? . . . Thanks to Bradburd’s book, you can walk in Richardson’s shoes, one page at a time.’”
-Tulsa World

“I’ve never read a sports book I would describe as operatic until now. Nolan Richardson’s story, both unique and universal, would challenge the most seasoned biographer, but Bradburd’s libretto is heartbreaking and inspiring. This is the finest sports biography I’ve read in years, hands down.”
-Dave Zirin, author, A People's History of Sports in the Unites States

“A combination career retrospective and racial history of Southern college basketball . . . Establishes Richardson as one of college basketball’s most compelling figures, both because of and in spite of his race.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“[An] energetic biography. . . . Bradburd rounds out his story with humanizing detail.”
-Sports Illustrated

“There are so many amazing things to know and remember about Richardson, truly a sports hero and pioneer. . . . But Richardson’s life was about more than wins and losses, as Bradburd details in excellent and entertaining style.”
-Boston Globe

“[An] excellent, angry new biography.”
-Financial Times

“Bradburd does an incredible job chronicling Richardson’s rise from a high school coach to getting a junior college job. . . . [His] copy shines in the well-researched chapters on the black coaches and the athletes who came before Richardson but never got the opportunity to elevate themselves.”
-SLAM Online

“What an incredible journey!”
-President Bill Clinton

“Highly provocative. . . . A sharp-elbowed biography.”
-New York Times