10 books like Everything They Had

By David Halberstam, Glenn Stout (editor),

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Everything They Had. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Dr. Z

By Paul Zimmerman, Peter King (editor),

Book cover of Dr. Z: The Lost Memoirs of an Irreverent Football Writer

Paul Zimmerman, aka “Dr. Z,” was a walking encyclopedia of NFL (and American football) knowledge. In addition to comprehensive coverage of players and coaches, teams and seasons, and big games, his humor and sophistical analytical asides graced the pages of Sports Illustrated for decades. Before that, he was a great reporter for the New York Post. Dr. Z’s memoir pulls back the curtain on his life and his path to prominence as a journalist. Decades before his memoir, Dr. Z brought forthright language to simple and complex football themes in his timeless tome, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football. Dr. Z’s all-time rankings of NFL players, coaches, and teams and behind-the-scenes tales about Vince Lombardi, Johnny Unitas, and others grab your attention.

For me, and anyone else who loves football, Zimmerman's unparalleled knowledge of the subject and remarkable memory of plays, players and coaches and games spanning…

Dr. Z

By Paul Zimmerman, Peter King (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dr. Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During his nearly 50 years of sportswriting, including 28 at Sports Illustrated, readers of Dr. Z came to expect a certain alchemical, trademark blend: words which were caustic and wry, at times self-deprecating or even puzzling, but always devilishly smart with arresting honesty. A complex package, that's the Doctor. The one-time sparring partner of Ernest Hemingway, Paul Zimmerman is one of the modern era's groundbreaking football minds, a man who methodically charted every play while generating copious notes, a human precursor to the data analytics websites of today. In 2008, Zimmerman had nearly completed work on his personal memoirs when…


The Red Smith Reader

By Dave Anderson (editor),

Book cover of The Red Smith Reader

John Schulian, one of the premier American sports journalists from the 1970s to the present, has recommended The Red Smith Reader with unsparing enthusiasm: “Quite simply the most thorough collection ever of the master’s work... a joy to everyone who picks it up.” A compilation of 131 Smith columns published in 1982, the year of his death, the book showcases his literary prose, which elevated the profession. The biggest games (Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Reggie Jackson’s three home runs on three consecutive at-bats in the 1977 Fall Classic) and individuals (Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Secretariat) are the foundation of Smith’s invaluable contributions to the understanding and appreciation of sports culture. His profiles of boxing and horse racing trainers are also exceptionally astute portraits.

Red Smith was a deadline artist, crafting timeless columns. As a fan of good writing and an admirer of his literary…

The Red Smith Reader

By Dave Anderson (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Red Smith Reader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1976, Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith is considered one of the greatest sportswriters ever to live. Put alongside Ring Lardner, Red Smith was beloved by those who read him because of his crisp writing and critical views.

Originally released in 1982, The Red Smith Reader is a wonderful collection of 131 columns with subjects ranging from baseball and fishing to golf, basketball, tennis, and boxing. As John Leonard of the New York Times appropriately stated, “Red Smith was to sports what Homer was to war.”

With a fantastic foreword by his son, successful journalist Terence Smith,…


Sports of Our Times

By Dave Anderson,

Book cover of Sports of Our Times

Published in 1979, Anderson’s collection of columns preserves seminal sports moments, primarily from that decade. Anderson’s on-deadline work for The New York Times revisits Hank Aaron’s 715th MLB home run, which broke Babe Ruth’s all-time record. He was in the right place at the right time for an interview with Negro Leagues pitching legend Satchel Paige in 1976, a column in which the old fireballer praised Slim Jones, Bob Feller, and Dizzy Dean as the “best pitches I ever saw.” Jimmy Connors, Joe Namath, Gordie Howe, Julius Erving, and Muhammad Ali are among the icons that Anderson highlights with exceptional portraiture, capturing Howe’s career as he approaches his 50th birthday. Anderson also produces a splendid profile of Wilt Chamberlain playing volleyball.

Like many of the premier sports journalists of the post-World War II era, Anderson traveled widely and covered prominent events throughout the United States and around the…

Sports of Our Times

By Dave Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sports of Our Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Sound and Fury

By Dave Kindred,

Book cover of Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Lives, One Fateful Friendship

In this dual biography about the nexus of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell’s cultural significance and friendship, the backdrop of their seemingly omnipresent place on the American and global media landscape in the 1960s and ‘70s is explored with great detail in the paths they forged, individually and collectively. Kindred does his homework in finding rich anecdotes from the boxer and broadcaster’s upbringings in Louisville and New York City, respectively. What’s more, there are recurring details about their interactions before, during, and after many of Ali’s biggest fights. It’s a fascinating character study of larger-than-life personalities with massive egos, as well as Cosell’s support of Ali’s right to oppose the Vietnam War. The alternating focus on Ali and Cosell gives Kindred a flexible format to deliver a literary knockout.

It is a rare gift to have the ability to tell the life stories of two iconic figures in the same…

Sound and Fury

By Dave Kindred,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sound and Fury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell were must-see TV long before that phrase became ubiquitous. Individually interesting, together they were mesmerizing. They were profoundly different -- young and old, black and white, a Muslim and a Jew, Ali barely literate and Cosell an editor of his university's law review. Yet they had in common forces that made them unforgettable: Both were, above all, performers who covered up their deep personal insecurities by demanding -- loudly and often -- public acclaim. Theirs was an extraordinary alliance that produced drama, comedy, controversy, and a mutual respect that helped shape both men's lives.

Dave…


Where Am I And Who's Winning?

By Andrew Baker,

Book cover of Where Am I And Who's Winning?

Pity or envy this sports journalist as he jet-lags around the world on an all-expenses-paid journey reporting on familiar Olympic events as well as competitive games he knows nothing about in countries he’s barely heard of – all on deadline. This is a hilarious whirlwind read for the armchair traveler. Although I’ve been a journalist and written several funny memoirs about travel, I have never had or even imagined such a unique travel experience. Probably neither have you. I loved the crazy pace, and the odd events and places. This book is a legal high.

Where Am I And Who's Winning?

By Andrew Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where Am I And Who's Winning? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To the armchair fan, the life of the sports writer is one of unalloyed joy: all-expenses-paid trips to the most exciting events in the world, the best seats in the house, and one-on-one interviews with Anna Kournikova... Well, up to a point.

Where Am I And Who's Winning? describes what it's really like to make your way through the world of sport, always on deadline, always between time zones, on a frantic, chaotic and hilarious tour of the planet's most famous and most bizarre sporting venues. There's football to be watched. And Formula One. And tennis. And two Olympics, two…


Gods at Play

By Tom Callahan,

Book cover of Gods at Play: An Eyewitness Account of Great Moments in American Sports

The author looks back on 50 years of sportswriting. This is a personal book, rich with stories of the sports gods of the 1960s and 1970s. Callahan was an insider and has stuff on Larry Bird and Muhammad Ali that no one else has. Callahan presents a fascinating earlier time when newspaper beat reporters were valuable to the team's they covered. Cincinnati Royals coach Bob Cousy refused an airline's request to bounce Callahan off a commercial flight, telling the pilot "we fly as a team and he is with us." 

Gods at Play

By Tom Callahan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gods at Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a columnist for Time magazine, among many other publications, Tom Callahan witnessed an extraordinary number of defining moments in American sport across four decades. He takes us from Roberto Clemente clinching his 3,000th, and final, regular-season hit in Pittsburgh; to ringside for the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman fight in Zaire; and to Arthur Ashe announcing, at a news conference, that he'd tested positive for HIV. There are also little-known private moments: Joe Morgan whispering thank you to a virtually blind Jackie Robinson on the field at the 1972 World Series, or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saying he was more interested in being…


Miss Mary Reporting

By Sue Macy, C. F. Payne (illustrator),

Book cover of Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber

Mary Garber loved sport. She played sport. She read about sport. And she wanted to write about sport. So, what’s wrong with that? Nothing! Then why, as a woman, was she banned from the Press Box? During the 1940’s, sports reporting was a man’s job and Mary was discouraged from pursuing this type of work. But she did. After working decades in a job she loved, she became known as a reporter who didn’t care who you were or where you were from. If you did something, she was going to write about you. I love this book for showing the strength and determination of Mary and how she brought her own special talents and observations to the reporting world. The illustrations beautifully capture the action and the era of this story.

Miss Mary Reporting

By Sue Macy, C. F. Payne (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miss Mary Reporting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A heartfelt, informative, and thoroughly engaging picture book biography.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

From beloved author Sue Macy comes an illustrated biography of Mary Garber, one of the first female sports journalists in American history!

Mary Garber was a pioneering sports journalist in a time where women were rarely a part of the newspaper business. Women weren’t even allowed to sit in the press boxes at sporting events, so Mary was forced to sit with the coaches’ wives. But that didn’t stop her.

In a time when African American sports were not routinely covered, Mary went to the games…


A Talent For War

By Jack McDevitt,

Book cover of A Talent For War

Partially because I credit Jack for inspiring me to give my own fiction writing one more try when I decided to retire from sports writing. Having read this book and being hooked on the entire series, I read about his life’s journey and saw many similarities to mine. As for the book itself, the thought of how future archaeologists would approach their craft on a galactic scale, and how solving ancient mysteries could impact current events so, really captured my imagination.

A Talent For War

By Jack McDevitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Talent For War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack McDevitt's A TALENT FOR WAR takes Alex Benedict into the heart of an alien galaxy in a thrilling interstellar adventure. 'A real writer has entered our ranks, and his name is Jack McDevitt' Michael Bishop, Nebula-winning author

Everyone knows the legend of Christopher Sim. An interstellar hero with a rare talent for war, he changed
mankind's history forever when he forged a rag-tag group of misfits into the weapon that broke the alien Ashiyyur.

But now, in a forgotten file, Alex Benedict has found a startling piece of information. If it is true, then Christopher Sim was a fraud.…


Blood Horses

By John Jeremiah Sullivan,

Book cover of Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son

Sullivan is probably best known today for his instant-classic essay collection Pulphead, but I actually prefer his first book, Blood Horses, a memoir he wrote in the aftermath of losing his beloved sportswriter father, whose special focus was horse racing and the Kentucky Derby. Sullivan, who cares nothing about horses and horse racing, tries to get closer to his lost father by covering the grand race and learning everything about the sport, and horses, that he can. This puts Sullivan on the grounds of the Kentucky Derby on the morning of September 11, 2001, while standing next to the Saudi owner of a celebrated racing horse. What happens when the Saudi’s phone starts ringing is too good to spoil here. An extraordinary memoir.

Blood Horses

By John Jeremiah Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One evening late in his life, veteran sportswriter Mike Sullivan was asked by his son what he remembered best from his three decades in the press box. The answer came as a surprise. 'I was at Secretariat's Derby, in '73. That was ... just beauty, you know?'

John Jeremiah Sullivan didn't know, not really, but he spent two years finding out, journeying from prehistoric caves to the Kentucky Derby. The result is Blood Horses, a wise, humorous and often beautiful memoir exploring the relationship between man and horse and the relationship between a sportswriter's son and his late father.


The Cloudbuster Nine

By Anne R. Keene,

Book cover of The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II

In The Cloudbuster Nine, Anne Keene not only channels her father’s memories of his own dreams of baseball glory but also recounts the tale of a collection of fighter-pilot cadets—men like the legendary Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Swain—who, while preparing for flight training in the U.S. Navy’s V-5 pre-flight program during World War II. In doing so, she provides a fascinating overview (and reminder) of what World War II meant for many of America’s star athletes—and what those athletes meant for America’s war effort. 

The Cloudbuster Nine

By Anne R. Keene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cloudbuster Nine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year's World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally,…


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