ILLUMINATING LOOK AT AN ENDURING MYTH
You'd think there's nothing left to say about the 1936 Olympics, but in Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens ESPN's Jeremy Schaap argues that much of what is believed about the track star's experience at Hitler's Games isn't true. Schaap skillfully separates fact from legend—the sprinter wasn't snubbed by the Nazi leader after winning the 100-meters, for example—without diminishing Owens's hero status.
LIVELY ACCOUNT OF THE DEAD BALL ERA
In Crazy '08, Cait Murphy recounts the tumultuous 1908 season: The Cubs were a powerhouse, the AL and NL pennant races went down to the wire, and Fred Merkle made a mistake he never lived down. Crazy '08 is a richly detailed look at a less-than-wholesome chapter in baseball's past.
ENGAGING TALES OF A FORGOTTEN TEAM
In the early years of the 20th century the country's best football team was the Carlisle Indian School, coached by Pop Warner and starring Jim Thorpe. The squad came back to life this year in Carlisle vs. Army, by SI staff writer Lars Anderson, and The Real All Americans, by Sally Jenkins. They're both finely detailed stories that culminate in Carlisle's symbolic 1912 game against Dwight Eisenhower's Army team.
Bruce Feldman's Meat Market follows former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron as he scours the country for talent, taking readers deep into the swamp of college football recruiting. Feldman describes a system that lives down to a fan's worst expectations.
UNIQUE GLIMPSES OF BOXING ICONS
After shooting Cassius Clay's 1964 win over Sonny Liston, Ken Regan spent four decades taking pictures of the sport's greatest figures. Hundreds of his photos are gathered in Knockout: The Art of Boxing, which captures Ali, Frazier, Tyson and many others at their most menacing and behind the scenes.
REALISTIC TAKE ON A LEGEND
Jonathan Eig's Opening Day casts the breaking of baseball's color barrier in a new light, depicting Jackie Robinson as more fiery and Dodgers players as less supportive than popularly thought. Relying heavily on firsthand accounts by black journalist Wendell Smith, Eig revisits 1947 with an honesty that deepens our appreciation for Robinson.