Five books for your summer sports reading list

Jonathan Bennett
Special To The Black Mountain News

Last week I shared a few of my top summer movie choices for your viewing pleasure, and this week I thought I would pass along a handful of summer sports books that might pique your interest.

If you’re heading to the beach anytime soon don’t forget your beach chair and umbrella and make sure you drop by the bookstore to pick up one or two of the books on this list.

Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown. I just love books that stick it to Adolf Hitler. Brown's latest release hit bookstores last year and has remained near the top of the bestsellers list ever since. It’s the story of a group of working-class college students from the University of Washington who beat the odds to take on the world in the 1936 Olympic games. Brown details the life of the nine boys in the crew boat, their quest to escape the Depression and finally their path to Olympic gold.

Unbroken” by Laura Hildebrand. With the release of the recent movie, the legend of Louis Zamperini is now very well known. It truly is an amazing World War II survival story, but sports fans will also enjoy the first part of the book which details the athletic aspirations and eventual Olympic success of Louis Zamperini. Just for the record, Zamperini also did a great job of sticking it to Adolf Hitler in the 1936 games.

The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn. Kahn is unquestionably one of the greatest sports writers of the 20th Century. His classic, “The Boys of Summer,” details his life growing up in Brooklyn and the time he spent covering the Brooklyn Dodgers during the Jackie Robinson years. It shares his life as a writer and provides the best look into the lives of the men that wore Dodger blue.

Into Thin Air” by John Krakauer. OK, I know that a book about an insane snow storm on top of Mount Everest isn’t what you think about when it comes to a summer reading list. But this incredible account of the events that unfolded on that mountain back in 1996 is gripping. It’s one of the best adventure tales of all time and is told in a powerful and compelling manner.

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports” by Kostya Kennedy. No summer sports reading list is complete without taking in a book about a legendary Yankee. In Kennedy’s book you’ll read about the journey to DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, a record set at the beginning of World War II and one that may never been broken.

Here are a few others that I would highly suggest:

  • “Eight Men Out” by Eliot Asinof
  • “Satchel” by Larry Tye
  • “Wait Till Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • “King of the World” by David Remnick
  • “Babe: The Legend Comes to Life” by Robert Creamer
  • “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by Jane Leavy
  • “Triumph” by Jeremy Schaap
  • “Cinderella Man” by Jeremy Schaap