83 books like The Secret Game

By Scott Ellsworth,

Here are 83 books that The Secret Game fans have personally recommended if you like The Secret Game. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

This book is similar to mine, following a team of high school basketball players through a season, but it’s set in an urban environment: Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The boys it focuses on are African-American, the off-court struggles they and their community face (crime, violence, drug use, the lure of the streets, and the corruption of college basketball recruiters) differ from those that challenge the kids in remote Alaska, but the joy and solace they find in the game itself are the same. The writing is terrific—lucidly and intimately bringing to life the four boys whose lives it focuses on.

By Darcy Frey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Darcy Frey chronicles the aspirations of four young men as they navigate the NCAA recruitment process, their only hope of escape from a life of crime, poverty, and despair.

It ought to be just a game, but basketball on the playgrounds of Coney Island is much more than that. In The Last Shot, the aspirations of a few of the neighborhood's most promising players reveal that what they have going for them (athletic talent, grace, and years of dedication) may not be enough to defeat what's working against them: woefully inadequate schooling, family circumstances that are often desperate, and the…

Book cover of The City Game: Triumph, Scandal, and a Legendary Basketball Team

Jeffrey S. Gurock Author Of Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend

From my list on American Jews and sports.

Who am I?

I am a professor of American Jewish history who has written extensively on how sports have impacted the lives of American Jews. I have been especially interested in how the acceptance or rejection of Jews in the sports arena has underscored that group’s place within this country’s society. I have been likewise intrigued by how the call of athleticism has challenged their ethnic and religious identity. The saga of Marty Glickman, a story of adversity and triumph, speaks boldly to critical issues that this minority group has faced.

Jeffrey's book list on American Jews and sports

Jeffrey S. Gurock Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Tragically, in 1951, players on the City College basketball team – Jews and African Americans – were caught up in a point-shaving scandal that rocked the city and the Jewish community.

Goodman tells this sad story comprehensively and unsparingly, and took me back into the neighborhoods where these athletes grew up and detailed how organized crime figures seduced them. He also notes importantly how this corruption of basketball which was then seen as a “Jewish sport” fed antisemitic attitudes against Jews.

By Matthew Goodman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The City Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The powerful story of a college basketball team who carried an era’s brightest hopes—racial harmony, social mobility, and the triumph of the underdog—but whose success was soon followed by a shocking downfall

“A masterpiece of American storytelling.”—Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Devil in the Grove


The unlikeliest of champions, the 1949–50 City College Beavers were extraordinary by every measure. New York’s City College was a tuition-free, merit-based college in Harlem known far more for its intellectual achievements and political radicalism than its…

Book cover of I Came as a Shadow: An Autobiography

Syl Sobel Author Of Boxed Out of the NBA: Remembering the Eastern Professional Basketball League

From my list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball.

Who am I?

When Jay Rosenstein and I started writing Boxed Out of the NBA, we thought we were writing a light collection of mostly humorous anecdotes from old ballplayers about playing in the minor league. But as we interviewed the old Eastern Leaguers and understood how the league gave a home to players who couldn’t make the NBA in large part because of race, we realized we had a much more important and socially significant story. It’s been our privilege to get to know these gentlemen, and feel like they have entrusted us to tell their story. We want to help them get the respect and recognition they deserve while they are still here to appreciate it. 

Syl's book list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball

Syl Sobel Why did Syl love this book?

OK, I’m stretching a bit to include this on my list.

John Thompson made his mark on basketball as a college coach, not from his two years as Bill Russell’s back-up with the Celtics. But I’ve got a personal interest here: I was a student sportswriter at Georgetown from Coach Thompson’s second year as coach, and as a junior and senior got to attend his weekly press conferences with the student press. I’ve often said I learned more about life from those meetings in Coach’s office than I did from any other class at Georgetown.

I feel the same about this book, written with Andscape senior writer Jesse Washington. If you read this book you probably won’t agree with all of it, but I have no doubt that you’ll learn from it. 

By John Thompson, Jesse Washington,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Came as a Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The long-awaited autobiography from Georgetown University’s legendary coach, whose life on and off the basketball court throws America’s unresolved struggle with racial justice into sharp relief

John Thompson was never just a basketball coach and I Came As a Shadow is categorically not just a basketball autobiography.

After three decades at the center of race and sports in America, the first Black head coach to win an NCAA championship is ready to make the private public. Chockful of stories and moving beyond mere stats (and what stats! three Final Fours, four times national coach…

Book cover of The Breaks of the Game

Jonathan Weiler Author Of Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America's Great Divide

From my list on basketball books with larger societal issues.

Who am I?

I am a professor of Global Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and I have written about the intersection of sports, media, and politics for many years. I am also the co-host of a podcast, Agony of Defeat, with Matt Andrews, that explores the connections between sports, politics, and history. Basketball is an especially rich topic for mining these intersections. And I’m also a lifelong sports fan.

Jonathan's book list on basketball books with larger societal issues

Jonathan Weiler Why did Jonathan love this book?

David Halberstam's classic, a chronicle of the Portland Trailblazers during the 1979-80 season. Three years removed from a stunning run to the NBA title, and with their mercurial superstar, Bill Walton, injured and then traded, the Blazers scuffled through the long slog of the season, trying in vain to recapture old glory. The book isn't just a chronicle of a team of interesting characters, though. It's an unflinching look at the cold financial calculus of professional sports and what it means when athletes know that they are, in the end, high-priced and expendable commodities. The book also captures the NBA at a critical inflection point in its history. It became a predominantly black league in the 1970s and its popularity declined to the point that the finals were televised on tape delay. Halberstam, the players and management are acutely aware of the tightrope the sport was compelled to walk as…

By David Halberstam,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game focuses on one grim season (1979-80) in the life of the Bill Walton-led Portland Trail Blazers, a team that only three years before had been NBA champions.
More than six years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his groundbreaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and…

Book cover of The Sphas: The Life and Times of Basketball's Greatest Jewish Team

R.D. Rosen Author Of Tough Luck: Sid Luckman, Murder, Inc., and the Rise of the Modern NFL

From my list on Jews and sports.

Who am I?

I am an author whose works have spanned several genres, from mysteries (I won an Edgar for Strike Three You’re Dead), to psychology (I coined the word “psychobabble” and wrote a book about it), to humor (Bad Cat and Bad Dog were both bestsellers), and, more lately to nonfiction, including Such Good Girls, true story of three Jewish women who survived the Holocaust. I have worked in television as a comedian, writer, and producer, and as a senior editor in the publishing industry, but my first and enduring love is the magic of writing.

R.D.'s book list on Jews and sports

R.D. Rosen Why did R.D. love this book?

The little-known story of promoter Eddie Gottlieb’s South Philadelphia Hebrew Association team begins in the 1920s when professional basketball in this country was often played in a cage-encircled court to protect the athletes from the rabid fans in Philly and other cities in the hard-scrabble Eastern League. The unathletic Gottlieb kept the SPHAs at the top of the pack, along with Harlem’s all-Black Renaissance team. The story ends in the 1940s when helped organize the whites-only Basketball Association of American, the forerunner to the NBA. Gottlieb, who coached the original Philadelphia Warriors, spent the last 30 years of his life preparing each NBA season’s schedule by hand with a pencil and a legal pad.

By Doug Stark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The history of the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association's basketball team and the legends it spawned

Book cover of Vanishing Girls

JB Schroeder Author Of Runaway

From my list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives.

Who am I?

I love stories about everyday people ripped out of their normal lives and forced to face the craziest situations head-on. I mean, can you even imagine? Could you find a way to survive and win? To face down life-threatening danger and evil people and rise from the ashes stronger and smarter? I’m pretty sure I’d kill if it meant protecting my children…but strand me in the wilderness and I’d likely perish from eating the wrong berries. I hate to be hungry, but I love to bring edgy romantic suspense and twisty psychological suspense to readers. Enjoy!

JB's book list on women confronting danger to reclaim their lives

JB Schroeder Why did JB love this book?

Lisa Regan is a stellar writer, and Vanishing Girls was a literal can’t-put-it-down read. I raced through the first four books in this series (Detective Josie Quinn series) and can’t wait to read the rest. I promise if you try it, you’ll feel the same—it’s addictive! Detective Josie is a mess—but you’ll be rooting for her big time. This situation is dark and disturbing, and this author excels at making things worse and worse for her characters. The writing is fast-paced and twisty—seriously, you’ll want to hold on tight to the armchair!

By Lisa Regan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

‘Wow this book blew my mind!... Utterly fantastic, I loved it, this is your worst nightmare come true! An explosive start to a new series. This book was scary, dark and twisted and kept me hanging on the edge of my seat unable to put it down. A huge 5 stars for this.’ Bonnie’s Book Talk, 5 stars

When Isabelle Coleman, a blonde, beautiful young girl goes missing, everyone from the small town of Denton joins the search. They can find no trace of the town’s darling, but Detective Josie Quinn finds another girl they didn’t even know was missing.…

Book cover of Indian Paths of Pennsylvania

Jason Cherry Author Of Pittsburgh's Lost Outpost: Captain Trent's Fort

From my list on the French and Indian War.

Who am I?

I grew up in western Pennsylvania where my dad loved history and always tried to stop at any battlefield or historic sign that happened to be within his field of vision. My mom was a passionate researcher of our family ancestry and I spent our childhood looking in cemeteries for specific names and gravestones. When I was ten years old, we joined a living history reenactment group that portrayed everyday life in the 1750s, and I was immediately hooked. I began researching about our group known as “Captain William Trent’s Company” and after almost thirty years of living and breathing summer weekends at 18th Century historic sites, the pages of Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost: Captain Trent’s Fort came to life. I picked these five books because I want future readers to be transported like I was when I first read them.

Jason's book list on the French and Indian War

Jason Cherry Why did Jason love this book?

This book is unique because it shows the reader how you can walk in the footsteps and travel like those trekking across Pennsylvania in the early 18th Century where there were no interstates or turnpikes, but instead, indigenous paths that influenced the roadways we know today. It also gave me a visual where I could experience firsthand what a traveler saw when he or she walked this route.

By Paul A. W. Wallace,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indian Paths of Pennsylvania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its original publication in 1965, Indian Paths of Pennsylvania has remained the standard volume for charting the foot trails forged and followed in Pennsylvania by Native Americans, documenting an era of interaction between Indians and European settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. With the advent of European settlement, the Indian trails that laced the wilderness were so well-situated that there was little reason to forsake them until the age of the automobile. The trails that traverse the mountains “kept the level” so well that they remain an engineering curiosity. Equally as remarkable are the complexity of the system…

Book cover of Woods Runner

Elizabeth Raum Author Of A Kidnapping In Kentucky 1776

From my list on middle-grade novels about little known aspects of American history.

Who am I?

As a child in New England, I climbed over stone walls wondering about the lives of those who built them. I devoured biographies and historical fiction, but I never imagined that I'd become a writer of such books for kids 8-14. First, I became a social studies teacher and, later, a librarian. I wanted my students to read about honorable characters striving to make the best of difficult but often little-known, historical situations. I demanded reliable details, a challenging conflict, and a resolution filled with hope for a better future. That is now my goal as a writer of children's books – and as a reader. These books meet those high standards. Enjoy! 

Elizabeth's book list on middle-grade novels about little known aspects of American history

Elizabeth Raum Why did Elizabeth love this book?

What an exciting tale! I've done lots of research about life on the American frontier during the Revolutionary War, but Gary Paulsen provided information that was new to me about British attacks on small frontier villages and prison ships anchored in New York Harbor. I couldn't stop reading. The author alternated the fiction story with nonfiction segments providing further explanation. Rather than interrupt the reading, they enhanced it, elevating the excitement I felt as Samuel searched for his missing parents.

By Gary Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woods Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston.

But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for…

Book cover of Confessions of a Funeral Director: How Death Saved My Life

Todd Harra Author Of Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt

From my list on aspiring funeral directors or with a morbid streak.

Who am I?

I’ve been in the funeral profession my entire professional career, and my family has deep roots in the profession too. My great-great-great grandfather was a cabinet maker, or “tradesman undertaker” in rural Milford, Delaware prior to the Civil War. In addition to being a funeral director and embalmer, I’m a certified post-mortem reconstructionist and cremationist, and the president of the Delaware State Funeral Directors Association. I’ve written five books on the subject of the funeral profession and am an associate editor for Southern Calls, “The Journal of the Funeral Profession.”

Todd's book list on aspiring funeral directors or with a morbid streak

Todd Harra Why did Todd love this book?

You might recognize Caleb Wilde from his prolific social media presence. And while Wilde’s funeral home is only about an hour from mine, that has nothing to do with the recommendation. What appealed to me about Confessions is Wilde’s naked honesty about the pervasiveness of death that many of us who work in the profession feel. Confessions is introspective, and at times funny, but my main takeaway is Wilde’s attempt to foster a more death-positive attitude with his text. Sure death is sad, and at times tragic, but there are life lessons to be learned and it doesn’t have to be a taboo subject in our culture.

By Caleb Wilde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Confessions of a Funeral Director as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I tremble to say there's good in death, because I've looked in the eyes of the grieving mother and I've seen the heartbreak of the stricken widow, but I've also seen something more in death, something good. Death's hands aren't all bony and cold."-from Confessions of a Funeral Director

We are a people who deeply fear death. While humans are biologically wired to evade death for as long as possible, we have become too adept at hiding from it, vilifying it, and-when it can be avoided no longer-letting the professionals take over.

Sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde understands this reticence…

Book cover of Heat and Light

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

From my list on ordinary people drawn into social activism.

Who am I?

Was it the environmental movement, which burgeoned as I was growing up? Or remnants of Sunday School teachings? For whatever reason, I deeply believe that I have a responsibility to give back to the world more than I take. There are many ways to give back, as my characters Miranda and Russ explore in my novel I Meant to Tell You. In my nonfiction, I’ve investigated the healthcare and financial industries, and also suggested steps we can take in our everyday lives as consumers, parents, and investors. When I’m not writing, I’m organizing environmental clean-ups, collecting supplies for refugees, and phoning public officials.

Fran's book list on ordinary people drawn into social activism

Fran Hawthorne Why did Fran love this book?

I live in the same world where too many modern novels (including mine!) take place—a world of professionals and students, people whose hands get dirty only if we’re repotting our tomato plants. So it’s wonderfully eye-opening to enter the setting of this book, along with farmers, prison guards, nurses, and other rural folks who are actually living out the current debate over natural-gas fracking. While the gas-company officials are clear villains, the townspeople on both sides are portrayed with compassion and complexity. Who are the “good guys” and “bad guys” when a prison guard sells his mineral rights to the frackers for the cash to start a dairy farm? Or when a gas driller has an affair with a woman whose husband died of environmental cancer? 

By Jennifer Haigh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart-a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families. Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas. To drill or…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and college basketball?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and college basketball.

Pennsylvania Explore 81 books about Pennsylvania
North Carolina Explore 121 books about North Carolina
College Basketball Explore 18 books about college basketball