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Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  74 ratings  ·  13 reviews
JEWISH JOCKS: AN UNORTHODOX HALL OF FAME is a timeless collection of biographical musings, sociological riffs about assimilation, first-person reflections, and, above all, great writing on some of the most influential and unexpected pioneers in the world of sports. Featuring work by today’s preeminent writers, these essays explore significant Jewish athletes, coaches, broa ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Twelve (first published January 1st 2012)
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A reading of the 50 essays in the recent book, Jewish Jocks, edited by Franklin Foer (brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer) and Marc Tracy, leads me to a few conclusions. One, that most Jewish sports figures are short. Really short. Like 5’7” and shorter, with a few exceptions that prove the rule. Second, that the kind of Jewishness that binds them all together is a kind of Jewishness of character: more often brainy than brawny; more strategic than strapping; more thoughtful than thuggish. I ...more
A solid selection of essays about Jewish sports heroes, non-heroes, sports journalists, and villains linked to sports by writers including Simon Schama, David Brooks, Ira Berkow, and Buzz Bissinger. Where you might find yourself wanting more Hank Greenberg or Sandy Koufax, it's important to remember that you can easily find whole books about these titans elsewhere. Where this collection shines is when you read about someone new, someone influential about who you know little or nothing, such as 1 ...more
Adam Jacques
Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame Is a collection of short memoirs and/or biographies. The men and women featured in this book range from Sandy Koufax to Mark Spitz to Howard Cosell. These guys and girls didn't necessarily know how to run the bases, shoot hoops, or battle it out in the ring but they were deemed as Jewish Jocks. Some were T.V. reporters others General managers for baseball teams. One even helped fix the 1919 famous "Black Sox Scandal" These are the Jocks that happen to be ...more
Jan 01, 2013 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I learned a lot reading this book. Stories I'd never heard, angles I didn't know. (Mark Cuban is Jewish?)

Many stories left me wanting more, which is good and bad. Good because that meant they were interesting, bad because so many seemed more like ideas for profiles than actual profiles. (And, let's face it, many talked about the exact same stereotypes in very similar language.) A bit disappoint in Dahlia Lithwick's piece; very standard piece for someone who writes so brilliantly about the Suprem
Jewish Jocks tells the life stories of many famous Jewish athletes. Some of them have revolutionized their respective sports while other are just stand out athletes. Some of the people in the book are predictable, like Hank Greenberg or Mark Spitz, while others, like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, are not always easily identifiable as Jewish. It is surprising how many seemingly unknown Jews play such huge roles in developing modern sports. All in all, I learned many things and was very enter ...more
Interesting information, but it feels like a rush job. They picked too many people to write about whom I would have left out. Plus, I'd have liked to know more about some whose stories only got a page or two. Too many like Bud Selig are not jocks. It demonstrates the problem of putting a label on a group of people based on their race, religion or ethnic background. It tries to make a connection where in many cases none exists.
Somehow never got into this book. The essays were very well written and some were even entertaining, but mostly I found it a slog to get through them all. Too many about jocks I really didn't care about and not enough about those I did.
Gail Richardson
RECEIVED BOOK FREE THROUGH GOODREADS FIRST READS. Not really a sports fan, but, found stories to be insight and some humorous. It delves into the lives of some famous sports figures. If you are a fan, you'll enjoy this read.
Sam Allard
(3.5 /5)

Review published in Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Elliot Chalom
Eh. Could have been so much better.

My full take on this book over at
Fun selection of essays, great reading that both my son and I enjoyed reading together.
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Franklin Foer is the editor of The New Republic and has written for Slate and New York magazine. Foer, who lives in Washington, D.C., is older brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and freelance journalist Joshua Foer.
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