American Sports

A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas

by Murry R. Nelson, Editor

Print Flyer
Cover image for American Sports

May 2013


Pages 1573
Volumes 4
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Popular Culture/Sports, Recreation, and Leisure

America loves sports. This book examines and details the proof of this fascination seen throughout American society—in our literature, film, and music; our clothing and food; and the iconography of the nation.

This momentous four-volume work examines and details the cultural aspects of sport and how sport pervasively reflects—and affects—myriad aspects of American society from the early 1900s to the present day. Written in a straightforward, readable manner, the entries cover both historical and contemporary aspects of sport and American culture. Unlike purely historical encyclopedias on sports, the contributions within these volumes cover related subject matter such as poetry, novels, music, films, plays, television shows, art and artists, mythologies, artifacts, and people.

While this encyclopedia set is ideal for general readers who need information on the diverse aspects of sport in American culture for research purposes or are merely reading for enjoyment, the detailed nature of the entries will also prove useful as an initial source for scholars of sport and American culture. Each entry provides a number of both print and online resources for further investigation of the topic.


  • Includes a variety of biographies beyond just players or coaches that have impacted sport and American culture
  • Provides suggested resources within each entry, an extensive bibliography and chronology, and useful guides to obtaining additional information, making this book an excellent research resource
  • Analyzes significant sports-related films and novels
Author Info

Murry R. Nelson, PhD, is professor emeritus of education and American Studies at Penn State University, University Park. His published works include biographies of Bill Russell, Shaquille O'Neal, and the Rolling Stones, all published by Greenwood, as well as The National Basketball League; A History, 1935–1949. He holds a doctorate from Stanford University and was awarded three Senior Fulbright Awards to Iceland (1983), Norway (1990–91) and Hungary (2007–08).



"Nelson and the volume's many contributors deserve commendation for explaining their criteria and creating an enjoyable collection that casual sports fans will enjoy."Choice

"An entertaining reference work that will appeal to the casual sports fan as well as high school and college students seeking a beginning point for a sports-related research project."Booklist

"More than just a sports history book, this is a valuable compendium of interesting articles on athletes and related subjects that convincingly conveys the importance and ubiquitous nature of sports in American life. It is well-written, well-organized, and well-developed and is ideal for high school students, undergraduates, and general readers interested in the diverse aspects of sports in our culture."Library Journal

"What is most impressive about the set is the breadth of the entries . . . this reference set that is applicable to contemporary American culture would be of use in school and college libraries."ARBA

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Encyclopedia of Stock Car Racing cover imageEncyclopedia of Video Games cover imageCombat Sports cover image
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