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

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #410,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
The entire book is based on a lie. Alabama had already integrated the team the same year as the Sam Cunning game. Sam Cunningham had nothing to do with Alabama getting black players. They already had one sitting on the bench who could not play because he was a freshman by the name of Wilbur Jackson. In 1971 freshman were ineligible to play. Wilbur Jackson would have a great career at Alabama as a RB and go on to the NFL and play for the 49ers. When the return game was played the next season Alabama had one black John Mitchell starting who was a juco transfer and Wilbur Jackson playing. The Sam Cunning story is the biggest myth in college football. Alabama had integrated its Basketball team even sooner I think in 1967 but at the very least by 1968 by Wendell Hudson. Alabama strongly wanted Condrege Holloway to sign with them in 1971 to be the first black QB. I know Coach was honest with him and told him some people may not be ready for it and he had yet to decide he would run the Wishbone or it may have been a easier decision for Condredge. Everyone including me assumed he would sign a Pro Baseball contract as the Number 3 pick in the draft and he turned down $100,000 to play for Tennessee. The amazing thing is he was probably at least as good at Basketball as football if not better and Baseball he was best I have seen to this day. Although I never saw Mays or McCovey play when they were in Alabama. No one yet knew Bryant was going to switch to the Wishbone prior to the 1971 season least of all his friend John Robinson. At the time of recruiting I do not think even Coach Bryant had decided. He had Darrell Royal or his assistant Emory Ballard teach the offense to his team but he tweaked it to include much more passing.Read more ›
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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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Format: Hardcover
I finished reading this book nine years ago so my memory of this book's contents is fuzzy. But what I do remember is how this book described the events surrounding the historical 1970 USC vs. Alabama game.

It's sad that it took super deep into the 20th Century for Alabama and many other Dixie state college football teams to integrate their football teams.

It took a Black-laden USC running back corps (which helped lead the Trojans to a 42-21 whipping of Alabama in that 1970 game) to help force the Dixie states college football teams to say, "You know what? Having some Blacks on our team aint so bad."

That statement may sound funny, but to ambitious and talented Black football players in the early to mid 20th Century, there was NOTHING funny about that statement.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of my FAVORITE Bama Football books! I think I have read any and all written in the time frame even CLOSE to my lifetime, as well as my Grandfathers collection of Bama Books and Dad's. We are a 5th generation Bama Graduate family, and I was the first to letter and be a scholar shipped athlete in our family:). Don Yeager (author) has written a LOT of very good/great ALabama stories, and SEC stories, like Blind Side backstory of Mike Oher's REAL story. That's one of the best, if not the #1 VERY best and favorite books I've read in my life!

It clarifies any conflicts and inconsistancies that came up in Blind Side vs the Tuohy's book/story.
Michaels book (by him and Yeager)s a MUST READ, IMHO, and should be a textbook for all teens and kids of any background. Truly inspiring!
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