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Turning of the Tide: How One Game Changed the South Hardcover – September 1, 2006


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About the Author

Don Yaeger lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931722943
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931722940
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Yaeger is a former associate editor for Sports Illustrated. He is the author of more than a dozen books and coauthor of five New York Times bestsellers, including "I Beat the Odds: The Autobiography of Michael Oher"; "Never Die Easy: The Autobiography of Walter Payton"; and "Ya Gotta Believe!: The autobiography of Tug McGraw."

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Sherwood on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a 'must-read' for anyone with an interest in big-time college football and race relations in the US.

To paraphrase someone in the book, Sam "Bam" Cunningham did more in one football game to accelerate integration in Alabama and the South than the late Rev. King, Jr. did in 25 years.

Hyperbole perhaps but a point worth making.

The only down side to the book is that it isn't really a book.

The author repeated and re-repeated incidents, one surmises, to make it book-length.

That aside, it's a wonderful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David J. Patterson on January 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thought that Turning the Tide was a very good book. It was about a game in 1970 featuring USC and Alabama. USC was a fully integrated football team and Alabama consisted of all white players. The Alabama coach, Bear Bryant, beleived in integration, but the school policies wouldn't allow it. When the teams got a chance to choose who they would be playing in the season opener, Bear stratagized. Bryant asked the coach of USC, John McKay, if the fully integrated Trojans would take on the Alabama Tide for their season opener.

When USC dominated the Tide 42-21, all of Alabama realized it was time to get some black players. The person who helped influence this choice was Sam Cunningham. A running back for USC, who ran for more than 100 yards in the game, and was African-American.

Once Alabama was integrated, they had great records in their later years, winning many national championships. This truly showed that the color of a person's skin was not a measure of talent. If a school really wanted to win, they would do whatever was neccessary. Having talented players on your team, black or white, was a great way to do this. Once the South took action and integrated, other schools in the area followed.

This made an impact on football teams everywhere, but it more greatly influenced the world as it is today. It showed all colors could act as equals, even when outsiders conceived blacks as inferior. I guess you could say Sam Cunningham could be grouped with other leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks because they all helped to create racial equality.

Football, as well as any sport, brings people together, no matter their skin color. This book was a story about how totally different people could come together and play as team. It showed the true beginning of integration in football. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you get a chance to read it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nanny on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must for Bama fans or fans of Southern Fried Football. I'm a Bama alum and learned so very much that I didn't know by reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Mullens on December 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am a graduate of an SEC university. I was looking forward to reading the book. The book is much better than One Night, Two Teams because it was fair. Don Yaeger was not preachy and did not try to pit USC as good and Alabama as evil. Alabama should have integrated sooner and Yaeger told the facts about that. The book was factual. Bear Bryant had a strategy that was ultimately effective for more comprehensive integration, as the book points out. This book would be a good study if one is interested in sports sociology.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By W. M. Williams on August 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written book on a great subject. We learn from history and this book takes us beyond football. Bear Bryant and John McKay were not only oustanding coaches but realized they have a moral obligation to help others at the same time helping themselves. I have read books on both men and of course they weren't perfect but they did grab the reins to make a difference. None of us is perect but some times we can make a difference.

It was important that it was Sam Cunningham who made it happen.

He is a leader who understands what is important. He and the others help make life better for all of us.

I will share this book with my grandsons so they can understand that it is important to bring others with you on your advantures to success.

The book covered an amazing amount of stories about how sports and athletes can make a difference. Great reading.

I have heard many myths about the game and they were interesting but now an important story has been told by some of those who lives it.
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By WDX2BB on December 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The 1966 NCAA basketball tournament final has sometimes been called the Brown vs. Board of Education of the game. That's because Texas Western, with an all-African American team, defeated Kentucky, which was all-white. The future of the sport hadn't quite fully arrived at that point, but we could certainly see it from there.

There's never been a fully equivalent game in college football, but one contest came relatively close. That was the 1970 game between Southern California and Alabama, and that game is the subject of Don Yaeger's book, "Turning the Tide."

Yaeger goes through the game early and quickly -- not a bad idea for a review here. Alabama had won championships in the 1960's with an all-white roster, but still hadn't integrated when 1970 rolled around. Southern California came in to Birmingham, and clobbered the Crimson Tide, 42-21, in a game that wasn't, as the cliche goes, as close as the score indicates. Sam Cunningham ran for 135 yards in only 12 carries in a memorable performance.

The legend has it that Alabama realized it needed African Americans on the roster in order to compete. When they arrived, Alabama returned to its spot as one of the nation's best programs.

Yaeger tries to sort through the fact and legend that surround the game to this day. The author points out one important fact relatively early -- two blacks were on the freshman roster for Alabama already, and were ready to play varsity football in 1971. Indeed, Wilbur Jackson and John Mitchell had outstanding careers for the Tide. So integration was coming to Alabama, whether administrators and fans liked it or not ... and some certainly didn't.

The legendary coach Bear Bryant gets credit here for pushing along the process, though.
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