Good Times

by John J. Miller

K Lo: Thanks for noticing the New York Times review of my latest book, The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football.

It’s a big improvement over what the Times said the last time it reviewed one of my books. Here’s its appraisal of Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France (co-authored by Mark Molesky):

the whole book is a mad charge (whose only equivalent I know is the fascist French literature of the 30′s)

The reviewer was Bernard-Henri Levy, who is of course insufferable. So it was more amusing than anything else. I’ve boasted about this putdown ever since. Have you ever been compared to a fascist on the pages of the Times?

Anyway, here’s Judy Battista, who covers the NFL for the Times, on The Big Scrum:

Miller, a correspondent for National Review, provides a richly detailed history of football’s founding, with occasional detours into how Roosevelt, who had been an asthmatic child, came to embrace “the strenuous life” so much that once his political career bloomed, he worried Americans might not want a “sporting president.”

For those who know little about how football came to be — and how long the debate over player safety versus the appealing physicality of the game has gone on — “The Big Scrum” is a useful primer, introducing us to some of the sport’s most famous pioneers.

Just in time for football season!