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Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul…

Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City

by Jay Jennings

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I received this book as a Christmas present and read it a short time afterward. This historical narrative looks at the 50th anniversary of the Little Rock Central High desegregation crisis of 1957 through the prism of the school’s football teams, both in 1957 and in 2007. As you would expect by the topic, the subject of race is front and center and colors every discussion from the relationship between the football players, the local politics (both past and present), housing patterns, highway construction, school locations, you name it.

As an Arkansas resident, and someone that is very familiar with Little Rock and much of the history contained in the book, I found the subject matter, at times intriguing and at times irritating. The author certainly has an almost pathological hatred for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that makes many of his observations suspect. By and large, however, he is relatively objective and gives a good, solid history of both the events of 1957 as well as racial events as far back as the 1920s while detailing the 2007 football season that makes up the bulk of the story. While I enjoyed the narrative, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the writing style and eventually tired of the dialogue that he attributes to head coach Bernie Cox. Seriously, how many repetitive pre-game and post-practice speeches can you digest before you’ve had enough? I guess you have to include some filler if you want to consume 275 pages.

If you’re from Arkansas, you might enjoy the familiar subject matter. I can’t recommend it for anyone else. ( )
  santhony | Jan 4, 2013 |
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Chronicles one season of the Little Rock Central High School football team comparing and contrasting the race relations of the team with the school's racial divide in 1957, when the school was first desegregated, in a book that shows how much has changed in 50 years--and how much has stayed the same.… (more)

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