Speaking

I'm currently accepting new inquiries for speaking engagements. Please use the "contact" link above to get in touch.

Monday
May072012

Cover image for "Ten-Gallon War" is released

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s 2012 fall catalog is out, containing the cover image for my new book as well as a page of advertising and marketing details. It’s nice to see “Ten-Gallon War” situated near the front of the catalog.

For the record, I love the cover.

Full disclosure: I didn't know the catalog was out until Fred Goodwin of the Dallas Cowboys Book Blog found it and put the news on Facebook. Thanks for the detective work, Fred!

Here is a link to the entire catalog, and here is the page in the catalog:

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar012012

My book on the Cowboys and Texans is...finished!

The Texans' Abner Haynes (photo by Sports Illustrated)I'm very excited to announce I've (finally) completed the manuscript for my book about the three-year pro football battle that took place in Dallas from 1960 through 1962. The title is "Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future."

The book will be out in September 2012, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the same people who published "That First Season," my book about Vince Lombardi's first year in Green Bay, and also "The Great Match Race," my book about the epic North-South horse race that captivated America in 1823.

"Ten-Gallon War" is the story of the birth of the Dallas Cowboys as well as the birth of the American Football League -- two momentous occasions in pro football history that were very much intertwined. Fledgling teams owned by Lamar Hunt and Clint Murchison, Jr., young men from Texas oil dynasties, fought it out in a rollicking battle for survival, although they never faced each other on the field.

I relied on interviews with more than 60 sources, including Texas football legends such as Abner Haynes, Len Dawson and Gil Brandt.

Like my book about Lombardi, it is set in the years when pro football was coming of age, skyrocketing out of baseball's shadows to become America's true national pastime. It was a simpler time when football was far less corporate than it is today. Quite honestly, I can't believe some of the stuff I dug up abut these teams and that time, and I can't wait for people to read it.

I will be updating this blog regularly with information about the book in the months leading up to its publication -- there might even be a few chunks of text to give you a feel.

Please feel free to post comments and check back regularly to see what's here.

 

Thursday
Mar102011

World Cup Scene: South Africa 2010

In June 2010, I went to South Africa with my family to see soccer's World Cup. I had covered the event for a newspaper twice before, but this time, I went strictly as a fan. I had a lot more fun sitting in the stands with sports fans from around the world.

We were in Africa for 10 days and attended three games. This picture in this post is from the USA-Algeria game in Pretoria on June 23rd -- the game in which Landon Donovan scored a dramatic goal in extra time to give the US a victory and a place in the tournament's "knockout" phase.

If you click on the thumbnail picture, it opens a larger version you can peruse for a close look at the scene in South Africa. The stadium in Pretoria was a renovated rugby ground with the feel of an Ivy League football stadium. The game kicked off in the late afternoon under clear skies and ended as darkness fell and the temperature dropped into the low 50s. There were thousands of Americans in the stands, cheering and waving flags, and needless to say, they went berserk when Donovan scored.

I took this picture from my seat early in the game. There was a family of Algerians sitting right in front of us. They rooted hard but we all got along. As soon as Donovan scored, they looked at each other and ran for the exit. It was as if they couldn't stand to watch the last few minutes.

Tuesday
Mar012011

Speaking in NYC on 3/3/11 about "That First Season"

I will be appearing in New York City on Thursday, March 3, as part of the "Varsity Letters" sports reading series, a free monthly event sponsored by Gelf Magazine. The topic will be "That First Season," my book about Vince Lombardi's first season in Green Bay -- pretty topical these days given the Packers' Super Bowl victory and the fine off-Broadway play about Lombardi currently running in New York.

The "Varsity Letters" event is at (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street, starting at 7:30 p.m. I encourage all fans of football history and the Packers to come and listen.

Two other authors will also speak -- Sport's Illustrated's Jon Wertheim, co-author of "Scorecasting," and Doug Merlino, author of "The Hustle."

Here's a link to my question-and-answer session with a Gelf interviewer:

http://www.gelfmagazine.com/archives/before_lombardi_was_lombardi.php

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday
Mar102010

New Book Project. . .and Help Wanted

I'm excited to announce I've started working on a new book to be released in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the publisher of two of my previous books -- That First Season (2009) and The Great Match Race (2006). My new subject is the rollicking pro football war that took place in Dallas, Texas, from 1960 to 1962, when two teams -- the Cowboys of the National Football League and the Texans of the American Football League -- played there and fought bitterly for the loyalty of the city's fans.

It's funny how ideas are hatched. I included a chapter on the subject when I wrote my football memoir Cotton Bowl Days more than a decade ago, and I had more or less forgotten about it, but then the people at NFL Films, whom I respect enormously, contacted me last summer about being interviewed for their AFL documentary, Full Color Football. They had read Cotton Bowl Days and wanted me to serve as an expert on the Dallas war. Meanwhile, I was on the prowl for a new book idea. Several weeks after I taped the NFL Films interview late last summer, the light bulb came on. The "Battle of Dallas" had everything going for it, from fueding oil-rich Texans (team owners Lamar Hunt and Clint Murchison) to football legends such as Cowboys coach Tom Landry. It was set in pro football's coming-of-age era, a fascinating time, and had the plot line of an old western -- the town wasn't big enough for both teams, and in the end, one would have to go. It was a perfect subject for me, a Dallas native raised in those years. My publisher quickly agreed.

I've started researching and writing, and I'm looking for people who have memories of those years either as a fan of the Texans, a fan of the Cowboys, a fan of both, or just as a Dallas resident observing the scene. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page on this website. You will hear back from me. I'm looking to write about the fans as well as the owners, coaches, and players, since the fans were so integral to the story. I obviously can't promise anyone they'll end up in the book, but I want to compile as many stories, opinions, and perspectives from those days as I can, and some will make it. Thanks in advance for any help!