Social History

Muscular Christianity

The following books provide a history of basketball, sports, and society. Complaints that the game is no longer pure and is corrupted by any number of factors fades away once these histories show that basketball has always been a battleground of ideas. The sport from its inception has served as a touchstone for debate on race, gender, immigration, sex, money, amateurism, pop culture, health, professionalism and labor rights.

Manliness & Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880 – 1917
by Gail Bederman

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes
by Walter Byers with Charles Hammer

Ball Don’t Lie! Myth Genealogy, and Invention in the Cultures of Basketball
by Yago Colas

The Secret Game: A Wartime Story of Courage, Change, and Basketball’s Lost Triumph
by Scott Ellsworth

Big Leagues: Professional Baseball, Football, and Basketball in National Memory
by Stephen Fox

The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History
by FreeDarko

Fit For America: Health, Fitness, Sport, and American Society
by Harvey Green

Finding a Way to Play: the Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball
by Joanne Lannin

The First Decade of Women’s Basketball, 1892-1905:  A Time Capsule of Media Reports from the Dawn of the Game
by The Lost Century of Sports Collection

From ‘Fair Sex’ to Feminism: Sport and the Socialization of Women in the Industrial and Post-Industrial Eras
by J.A. Mangan and Roberta Park

We Will Win the Day: The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Athlete, and the Quest for Equality
by Louis Moore

Basketball: Its Origin and Development
by James Naismith

The Black Athlete: A Shameful Story
by Jack Olsen

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Sports: How Calvinism and Capitalism Shaped America’s Games
by Steven Overman

Patriotic Games: Sporting Tradition in the American Imagination, 1876 – 1926
by S.W. Pope

Missionaries in Hawai’i: The Lives of Peter and Fanny Gulick, 1797 – 1883
by Clifford Putney

Muscular Christianity: Manhood and Sports in Protestant America, 1880 – 1920
by Clifford Putney

Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete
by William C. Rhoden

Sport in Industrial America: 1850 -1920
by Steven Riess

College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA’s Amateur Myth
by Allen L. Sack and Ellen J. Staurowsky

The Big Leagues Go to Washington: Congress and Sport Antitrust, 1951-1989
by David George Surdam

Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics
by Damion L. Thomas

They Cleared the Lane: The NBA’s Black Pioneers
by Ron Thomas

Larceny Games: Sports Gambling, Game Fixing and the FBI
by Brian Tuohy

Crusaders for Fitness: The History of American Health Reformers
by James Whorton

Making Men,  Making Class: The YMCA and Workingmen, 1877 – 1920
by Thomas Winter

Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball
by Onaje X.O. Woodbine

Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports
by Andrew Zimbalist

BACK TO: Historiography & Sources
JUMP TO: Biography ● NBA History ● Pioneers & Renegades

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