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Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson Hardcover – February 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1ST edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061690465
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061690464
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[An] energetic biography. . . . Bradburd rounds out his story with humanizing detail.” (Sports Illustrated)

“Highly provocative. . . . A sharp-elbowed biography.” (New York Times)

“[An] excellent, angry new biography.” (Financial Times)

“There are so many amazing things to know and remember about Richardson, truly a sports hero and pioneer. . . . But Richardson’s life was about more than wins and losses, as Bradburd details in excellent and entertaining style.” (Boston Globe)

“Suggestion: Place a note pad nearby . . . in order to keep score of the ‘wow’ moments, as in ‘Wow, did that really happen? . . . Thanks to Bradburd’s book, you can walk in Richardson’s shoes, one page at a time.’” (Tulsa World)

“Bradburd does an incredible job chronicling Richardson’s rise from a high school coach to getting a junior college job. . . . [His] copy shines in the well-researched chapters on the black coaches and the athletes who came before Richardson but never got the opportunity to elevate themselves.” (SLAM Online)

“A combination career retrospective and racial history of Southern college basketball . . . Establishes Richardson as one of college basketball’s most compelling figures, both because of and in spite of his race.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“I’ve never read a sports book I would describe as operatic until now. Nolan Richardson’s story, both unique and universal, would challenge the most seasoned biographer, but Bradburd’s libretto is heartbreaking and inspiring. This is the finest sports biography I’ve read in years, hands down.” (Dave Zirin, author, A People's History of Sports in the Unites States)

“What an incredible journey!” (President Bill Clinton)

“This is a great story about America and its hidden histories. . . Every black college coach with a good job today owes Nolan Richardson a measure of respect for the fearless way he kicked down doors. Every American should thank him for showing us it was possible.” (Charles Barkley, basketball legend)

From the Back Cover

An exploration of the racial politics of American sports, from the Jim Crow era to the present day, witnessed through the life of legendary African-American basketball coach and NCAA title winner Nolan Richardson

Born in El Paso's Segundo Barrio, or Second Ward, pioneering basketball coach Nolan Richardson grew up in the only black family in a Mexican neighborhood and attended desegregated Bowie High School in 1955. Richardson went on to play at Texas Western College, now the University of Texas at El Paso, as the first black star player for legendary coach Don Haskins. Richardson eventually rose to national prominence as a coach in his own right. He became the first black coach at a predominately white school in the Old South to win the NCAA Championship in 1994 at the University of Arkansas. With Richardson's Razorbacks playing at a high-pressure, electrifying pace—a style he called "Forty Minutes of Hell," which became a nationally known trademark—Arkansas made three appearances in the Final Four, and Richardson was named NABC Coach of the Year in 1994.

Richardson's gradual political awakening, and his subsequent refusal to keep quiet about overt or subtle racial injustices, marked his rise. Regardless of his staggering win totals, tensions in Arkansas culminated in an infamous 2002 press conference in which he accused the University of Arkansas of discriminating against him, bringing about an abrupt end to his college coaching career. The only coach in history to win a Junior College National Championship, the NIT, and the NCAA tournament, Richardson went on to coach internationally and in the WNBA.

Rus Bradburd, a former college basketball coach who also worked with Don Haskins, highlights Richardson's trailblazing career with empathy and intimacy, revealing a man whose hard-won successes were matched by deeply felt losses. An intensive inside look at elite collegiate athletics and a chronicle of the transition away from the segregated era of American sport, Forty Minutes of Hell is the first full-length biography of Nolan Richardson, setting his complicated story against the backdrop of a decisive time in American history.


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Customer Reviews

Five REVEALING Stars!!
RBSProds
Bradburd's account of this multi-championship winning coach is thorough and as fast-paced as Richardson's famous game.
Tecatex
This is an important book, for basketball fans and non-fans alike.
Reckoning

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RBSProds TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Five REVEALING Stars!! A wide-ranging, in-depth look at the life and times of famed National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame coach Nolan Richardson, known for his highly influential "Forty Minutes of Hell"-style of basketball coaching. Coach Richardson's unique life experiences, as detailed by author Rus Bradburd, is full of triumphs and tragedies, during which time he became the only coach to win the 'coaching trifecta' of a National Collegiate Division I Basketball Championship, a National Invitational Tournament Championship, and a National Junior College Basketball Championship. This well-researched book is full of previously unknown stories about Coach Richardson, Coach Don Haskins of UTEP fame, and many sports personalities from the Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas areas, as well as on the national level. The book begins with his 'infamous U of Arkansas press conference' that touched off a firestorm of debate across the nation's sports TV and talk radio shows, resulting in the bizarre firing of Richardson as head coach of the University of Arkansas varsity basketball team after years of excellence, that probably should not have happened. The book also covers the torturous lawsuit and the aftermath of the judgement. But it also details the influence of his grandmother; the evolution of Richardson's 'aggressive basketball' coaching style; the glory years of his involvement with many teams, coaches, and players; his trailblazing activities amid the racial and social problems of the times; the tragic death of his influential teenaged daughter from leukemia; and the importance of his friends and family life. A well-written, very nostalgic look at Coach Richardson's life that also contains much new information. Highly Recommended. Five DETAILED Stars!! (This review is based on an Amazon.com Kindle download in "Text-to-Speech" mode.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tecatex on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
"Forty Minutes of Hell" is great reading, even for the non-sports fan. Nolan Richardson's life is a saga of grit, determination, and basketball coaching brilliance with no compromise of personal integrity. Bradburd's account of this multi-championship winning coach is thorough and as fast-paced as Richardson's famous game. Richardson's controversial statements about race are not ducked. In fact the book begins with his famous/infamous press conference at the University of Arkansas in 2002 which was a prequel to his termination there. Like any hero, Richardson is not perfect, and Bradburd doesn't gloss over Richardson's mistakes. The El Paso chapters will surprise many readers--it's a city with a rich basketball tradition, alongside its Mexican-dominant culture and its prescient civil rights litigation. What Nolan Richardson has accomplished is truly amazing--coaching the winning teams of all three major college basketball titles and storming his outspoken way into sports history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reckoning on March 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rus Bradburd's telling of the life (so far) of legendary basketball coach Nolan Richardson is partly a basketball story, from a junior college in hardscrabble West Texas to Final Fours and a national championship at Arkansas. More importantly, though, it's the story of a man from a poor neighborhood in El Paso fighting through daunting obstacles to achieve the pinnacle of success in a place where many wished him to fail, and the scars left by those battles. Perhaps most importantly, this book tells the story of a nation's struggles with racism, both subtle and overt, over the last half-century. Because of people like Nolan Richardson, much progress can be seen; as Bradburd's book makes clear, however, fear and bigotry remain alarmingly present in our country. This is an important book, for basketball fans and non-fans alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BP on February 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't care less about basketball, but I loved this book. Basketball is simply a lens - a brilliant lens in Bradburd's expert hands - through which the author examines fifty years of racial relations, politics, history and civil rights struggle. Nolan Richardson is a fascinating character -- complicated, visionary, driven, irascible. At times he appears the most disciplined man alive and at others, out of control. He is portrayed as utterly human in dealing with a doomed marriage, a sick child or school politics. At the same time, he can become larger than life in breaking barriers and attaining impressive firsts on and off the court. His story, America's story in the second half of the last century, is full of heroism and flaws, anger and compassion.

This is an epic story, and you don't need to like basketball to find Nolan's story riveting any more than you need to love war to find yourself transfixed by Achilles'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Boswell on March 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Rus Bradburd's Forty Minutes of Hell is well written, wholly engaging, and a lively read. Nolan Richardson is a fascinating figure, but he had sort of dropped out sight; at least he'd dropped off my radar screen. This book suggests why that's a crime. I knew that Richardson was a good coach, but I had no idea just how much he accomplished as a coach and as a black man in the south willing to speak his mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carla A. Whiteside on March 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a Coach Richardson fan, you will find this book quite interesting. A book you can sit down and read in no time. After reading you will understand that all he has said through the years is true.
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