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7 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story on NFL History
Professor Thomas Smith is a good story teller. He handles large amounts of material well. The history of the Washington Redskins and it's founder George Preston Marshall is a fascinating piece of 20th century sports history. The book is an interesting read for anyone who enjoys 20th century history. How the JFK administration came to play a pivotal role in putting a stop...
Published on September 10, 2011 by Badger75

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Redskins History 101
"Showdown" serves as a good introductory history of the Washington Redskins' first quarter century, but the actual "showdown" referred to in the subtitle ("JFK And The Integration Of The Washington Redskins") takes up but three chapters of the book, and JFK himself was a peripheral figure to George Preston Marshall's most powerful opponent, the Secretary of the Interior...
Published 17 months ago by Andy Moursund


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Redskins History 101, February 2, 2013
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Andy Moursund "Andy Moursund" (Kensington, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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"Showdown" serves as a good introductory history of the Washington Redskins' first quarter century, but the actual "showdown" referred to in the subtitle ("JFK And The Integration Of The Washington Redskins") takes up but three chapters of the book, and JFK himself was a peripheral figure to George Preston Marshall's most powerful opponent, the Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.

That said, Smith does present what amounts to an excellent mini-biography of Marshall, tracing his rise from owner of a laundry chain to one of the great pioneers of promotion that the sporting world has ever seen. He also gives a running account of the efforts of black sportswriters and activists (with a few white supporters) to put pressure on first the NFL as a whole, and then the Redskins in particular, to integrate their sport. It's a tale that's been better told by other writers, but by focusing on the Redskins Smith has written a book that will be of special interest to fans of the Burgundy and Gold. He pulls no punches in describing Marshall as the racist that he was, and concludes by making an interesting (and largely valid) comparison to baseball's Ty Cobb---giants in their respective sporting fields, but unloved by their contemporaries and virtually friendless on their deathbeds. Think of Marshall as being a combination of Bill Veeck's promotional wizardry along with Tom Yawkey's racist pigheadness, and you've got a pretty good summary of his legacy. It's a decidedly mixed bag.

One quibble: This book was in strong need of an editor. Minor factual mistakes are spread throughout, the chronology is off on several occasions, and the footnotes are impossible to connect to the text. You read a statement and wonder what it refers to, but when you look for the citation, it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Three stars out of five is about right for this one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story on NFL History, September 10, 2011
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Professor Thomas Smith is a good story teller. He handles large amounts of material well. The history of the Washington Redskins and it's founder George Preston Marshall is a fascinating piece of 20th century sports history. The book is an interesting read for anyone who enjoys 20th century history. How the JFK administration came to play a pivotal role in putting a stop to one of the last vestiges of sports segregation is worth it. His account of NFL history and the personalities that made the league is well organized. Some facts and details are misstated but don't detract from the story. A well documented bibliography is a bonus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Showdown, January 12, 2013
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This review is from: Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins (Paperback)
Great read. Political, social, & football history combine to create a unique dynamic at a critical juncture in US history! Compelling book! Wonderfully written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, January 3, 2013
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rbng (east coast) - See all my reviews
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Great! One of the multitude reasons that JFK was murdered. Pride can get you in trouble. I never knew what an owner of a pro football team could be so selfish. to put petty racist reasons above a winning product.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, November 14, 2012
I did not know a lot of the details of the history of the team. I am African American and even though the team has a dark history about racism, they are my hometown team and am an avid fan always.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, November 5, 2011
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Excellent history of the team going all the way back to Boston chronicling what an innovative and frustrating sort GPM was.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, June 5, 2013
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This book came in very handy for my Civil Rights paper in college. Found out a lot about the Civil Rights Movement through this book.
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Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins
Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins by Thomas G. Smith (Paperback - September 4, 2012)
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