The Gipper : George Gipp, Knute Rockne, and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame Football
Overview - Win one for The Gipper. Has there ever been a better-known and widely-used exhortative phrase in sports? Not likely. But who was the "Gipper," this mythical-like sports figure whose nickname has aroused, in turn, awe, wonderment, curiosity, and amusement since the second decade of the twentieth century, and why is his story important? Read more...
More About The Gipper by Jack Cavanaugh
Win one for The Gipper.
Has there ever been a better-known and widely-used exhortative phrase in sports? Not likely. But who was the "Gipper," this mythical-like sports figure whose nickname has aroused, in turn, awe, wonderment, curiosity, and amusement since the second decade of the twentieth century, and why is his story important? Answering those questions is the formidable task taken on here by veteran sportswriter Jack Cavanaugh, whose Pulitzer Prize-nominated biography of boxing legend Gene Tunney was referred to as "impressively researched and richly detailed" by Sports Illustrated
More than eight decades after his death, George Gipp is still regarded by football historians as Notre Dame's best all-around player. And it was Gipp and his legendary coach, Knute Rockne, who were largely responsible for putting the small Midwestern all-male school on the map.
Like Cavanaugh's other critically acclaimed books, The Gipper
is also a period piece, with a considerable focus on the era before, during, and immediately after WWI. It details the changes that the country underwent during that time, including the onset of Prohibition and the gangs that it spawned in the Midwest such as those active in the South Bend area and in nearby Chicago, headed by the notorious Al Capone.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in:
- Review Date:
It's not surprising that the more one gets to know George Gipp, the less like a hero he seems. A high school drop-out, he spent much of his time at Notre Dame cutting class, playing semi-pro ball under assumed names, hustling pool, and engaging in high-stakes gambling. Cavanaugh organizes his research well and says what he can about Gipp's personal life, but rightly focuses on the young man's astounding athleticism. Nearly a century on, Gipp still holds the Notre Dame record for most yards per carry in a season, most career total yards for a non-quarterback, and the longest field goal; he never allowed a pass to be completed to the man he was covering (though as teams tended to have few passes per game in those days, this is less impressive than it might seem), and is regarded by most historians as the school's best all-around player. His death in 1920 at the age of 25 (having never completely recovered from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918) leaves Cavanaugh to fill out his effort with stories of Coach Rockne and Notre Dame's colorful early football days, all placed into the larger context of a country dealing with great tragedies. (Oct.)