The First Star: Red Grange and the Barnstorming Tour That Launched the NFL

The First Star Red Grange and the Barnstorming Tour That Launched the NFL In The First Star acclaimed sports writer Lars Anderson recounts the thrilling story of Harold Red Grange the Galloping Ghost of the gridiron and the wild barnstorming tour that earned professional

  • Title: The First Star: Red Grange and the Barnstorming Tour That Launched the NFL
  • Author: Lars Anderson
  • ISBN: 9781400067299
  • Page: 338
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In The First Star, acclaimed sports writer Lars Anderson recounts the thrilling story of Harold Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost of the gridiron, and the wild barnstorming tour that earned professional football a place in the American sporting firmament.Red Grange s on field exploits at the University of Illinois, so vividly depicted in print by the likes of Grantland RicIn The First Star, acclaimed sports writer Lars Anderson recounts the thrilling story of Harold Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost of the gridiron, and the wild barnstorming tour that earned professional football a place in the American sporting firmament.Red Grange s on field exploits at the University of Illinois, so vividly depicted in print by the likes of Grantland Rice and Damon Runyan, had already earned him a stature equal to that of Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, and other titans of American sports golden age Then, in November 1925, Grange made the fateful decision to parlay his fame in pro ball, at the time regarded as inferior to the purer college game Grange signed on with the dapper theater impresario and promoter C C Pyle, who had courted him with the promise of instant wealth and fame Teaming with George Halas, the hard nosed entrepreneurial boss of the cash strapped Chicago Bears NFL franchise, Pyle and Grange crafted an audacious plan a series of seventeen matches against pro teams and college all star squads an entire season s worth of games crammed into six punishing weeks that would forever change sports in America With an unerring eye, Anderson evocatively captures the full scope of this frenetic Jazz Age spectacle Night after night, the Bears squared off against a galaxy of legends Jim Thorpe, George Wildcat Wilson, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame Stuhldreher, Crowley, Miller, and Layden while entertaining immense crowds Grange s name alone could cause makeshift stadiums to rise overnight, as occurred in Coral Gables, Florida, for a Bears game against a squad of college stars Facing constant physical punishment and nonstop attention from autograph hounds, gamblers, showgirls, and headhunting defensive backs, Grange nevertheless thrilled audiences with epic scoring runs and late game heroics Grange s tour alone did not account for the rise of the NFL, but in bringing star power to fans nationwide, Grange set the pro game on a course for dominance A real life story chock full of timeless athletic feats and overnight fortunes, of speakeasies and public spectacles, The First Star is both an engrossing sports yarn and a meticulous cultural narrative of America in the age of Gatsby.

    One thought on “The First Star: Red Grange and the Barnstorming Tour That Launched the NFL”

    1. It's hard to imagine today, but there was a time when the American public simply was not interested in professional football. Football was a college game. Working men, who loved baseball and boxing, thought football was for hoity-toity rich kids, not a real man's sport. Those who did follow the college game thought it wholesome and noble, and wanted it kept pure from the dirty, corrupt influence of professionalism. There were only a few professional football teams, and all of them were going bro [...]

    2. 3 1/2 stars. An entertaining story about Harold "Red" Grange and the tour that transformed professional football (the NFL) from an obscure, illegitimate and shady organization into the most popular sport in America. Without Red Grange, the National Football League would have collapsed in financial ruin and we'd all be sitting around watching figure skating on Sunday afternoons.The writing style of this book was very easy and entertaining. There was a lot of information that I knew little or noth [...]

    3. I liked this book and I enjoyed hearing about Red Grange and his sporting ability. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book which told all about Grange's exploits and his stats and how good of football player he really was. I mean, the man lifted ice as a job to make money to get into shape for football.The second half of the book was different in that it told more about how professional football was formed, and they needed a star which is what Grange provided. It was both the owner and an age [...]

    4. I remember when my son found a book at the library about Bigfoot, and was so fascinated that he would share his Bigfoot knowledge with anyone who would listen. I found myself reacting the same way to this book. Before I started, I knew very little about Red Grange: he was an early star of the Chicago Bears, who had also played at the University of Illinois. But did you know that Illinois used to be GOOD? An Red Grange once scored six touchdowns against Michigan? And George Halas played one baseb [...]

    5. As a big Illinois and Bears fan, I am a completely biased reviewer. Having said that, I really enjoyed this book and the story of launching the NFL. The book is written in a typical sports writer fashion and a little long winded at times. However, the subject matter is very interesting. The author also did a great job intertwining the stories of Grange, Halas, and Pyle. I recommend this book to any NFL, Bears, or Illini fan.

    6. First half of this book had a nice flow, but the second half felt like a laundry list of Grange's infamous barnstorming tour, and less a biography of the first true star of the sport of football. Overall, I did learn some new stuff however.

    7. There are tons of book's on baseball's history, but not so many on football. The history of the game remains much more untold, and this is a tremendous story of it's first star. Well written period piece.

    8. Couldn't put this book downabsolutely devoured it. Would have loved to have seen Grange play in his primen't believe they had to play 10 games in 18 days a time when players played both offense and defense. The NFL owes its current success to Grange and George Halas.

    9. Great story of Red Grange and his smarmy manager, and how they created the modern NFL. Oh yeah, along with a guy named George Halas, the only guy to get rich from owning an nfl franchise.

    10. I was underwhelmed. Had read an excerpt in Sports Illustrated which was great, but the rest of the book was just okay.

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