The Sons of Westwood (Paperback)

John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball (Sport and Society)

By John Matthew Smith

University of Illinois Press, 9780252079733, 344pp.

Publication Date: September 16, 2013

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (9/16/2013)

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


For more than a decade, the UCLA dynasty defined college basketball. In twelve seasons from 1964 to 1975, John Wooden's teams won ten national titles, including seven consecutive championships. The Bruins made history by breaking numerous records, but they also rose to prominence during a turbulent age of political unrest and youthful liberation. When Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton--the most famous college basketball players of their generation--spoke out against racism, poverty, and the Vietnam War, they carved out a new role for athletes, casting their actions on and off the court in a political light.
The Sons of Westwood tells the story of the most significant college basketball program at a pivotal period in American cultural history. It weaves together a story of sports and politics in an era of social and cultural upheaval, a time when college students and college athletes joined the civil rights movement, demonstrated against the Vietnam War, and rejected the dominant Cold War culture. This is the story of America's culture wars played out on the basketball court by some of college basketball's most famous players and its most memorable coach.

About the Author

John Matthew Smith is an assistant professor of history at Georgia Tech.

Praise For The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College Basketball (Sport and Society)

"This volume uncovers the indelible link between sports and society in the US.  While he focuses on Wooden and UCLA men's basketball, Smith remains mindful of the larger forces molding the young men who played for the 'Wizard of Westwood.' Highly recommended."--Choice

"John Matthew Smith may be the first author to fully and fairly assess the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) basketball program during its miraculous run of ten championships from 1964 to 1975. . . . revealing and insightful."--Journal of Sport History


"The Sons of Westwood is an excellent, wide-ranging history, not only of UCLA basketball and the Wizard of Westwood, but of the great social movements which characterized the era of the Wooden Dynasty. I recommend it to any who love basketball or are interested in one of the more interesting periods of recent American life. John Matthew Smith is a historian on which we should all keep our eye."
--Charles E. Young, Chancellor Emeritus, UCLA

"A thoroughly engrossing account…The Sons of Westwood makes a complex story during a turbulent time in U.S. history a little easier to understand. It is a well-researched account that would be attractive to scholars and a popular audience… John Matthew Smith connects the events occurring in collegiate athletics to events in the larger American society."--The Journal of African American History

"This is the John Wooden book I've been waiting to read--a well-written, meticulously researched, and astute portrait of one of the sporting world's most interesting and influential characters. John Matthew Smith's book is at once a pleasure to read and a solid work of history."
--Jonathan Eig, New York Times bestselling author of Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season