Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man

Des Jardins, Julie

Published by Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0199925623 / ISBN 13: 9780199925629
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Synopsis: Americans are obsessed with football, yet they know little about the man who shaped the game to make it uniquely technical, physical, and 'man-making' at once. Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football," was the foremost authority on American athletics and arguably the greatest amateur American athlete of his time.

In Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man, Julie Des Jardins chronicles the life of the clock company executive and self-made athlete who remade football and redefined the ideal man. As a student at Yale University, Camp was a varsity letterman who led the earliest efforts to codify the rules and organization of football-including the line of scrimmage and "downs"-to make it distinct from English rugby. He also invented the All-America Football Team and wrote some of the first football fiction, guides, and sports page coverage, making him the foremost popularizer of the game. Within a decade American football was an obsession on college campuses of the Northeast. By the turn of the century, it was a bona fide national pastime.

Since the Civil War, college men of good breeding had not a physical skirmish to harden them. They had grown soft, Americans feared, both in body and attitude. Camp saw football as the antidote to the degeneration of these young men. When massive numbers of college football players enlisted to fight in World War I, Camp held them up as proof that football turned men effective and courageous. His influence over the game, however, was not always viewed as beneficial. Under his watch, dozens of college and high school players were killed or maimed on the gridiron. President Theodore Roosevelt urged him to reform football to prevent administrators from banning it, but Camp was ambivalent about removing the very physicality that made the game man-making in his eyes. The criticism targeted at him over the aggressiveness of football still haunts the game today.

In this fast-paced biography, Julie Des Jardins shows how the "gentleman athlete" was as much the arbiter of football as he was the arbiter of modern manhood. Though eventually football took on meanings that Camp never intended, his impact on the professional and college game is simply unsurpassed.

About the Author:
Julie Des Jardins is the author of The Madame Curie Complex, Lillian Gilbreth: Redefining Domesticity, and Women and the Historical Enterprise in America: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Memory.

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Title: Walter Camp: Football and the Modern Man
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 167 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. To a handful of colleagues, Walter Camp was a clock-company executive. To nearly everyone else, he was the quintessential gentleman athlete and the Father of American Football. Born in Connecticut in 1859, he attended Yale University just as collegiate sport was growing organized and competitive in the United States. In college, he was a varsity letterman who led the earliest efforts to codify the rules of football and to make it distinct from English rugby. As the creator of the All-America football team and the writer of some of the first football fiction, guides, and sports page coverage, Camp popularized the game like no other. For four decades, he was the most influential regulator in college football, making him the target of charges that the game was too brutal. Under his watch, dozens of college and high school players were killed or maimed on the gridiron. President Theodore Roosevelt urged him to reform football to prevent administrators from banning it, but Camp was ambivalent about removing the very physicality from the game that made it man-making in his eyes. Although he made his greatest contributions to football, he also had a hand in developing college baseball, crew, and track and field, as well as amateur boxing, tennis, and Olympic teams, making him one the nation s foremost propagators of amateur sport. The greatest proof of his contention that athletics, football especially, cultivated effective, courageous men came in World War I, when massive numbers of college football players enlisted for military service and the Allies defeated the Germans; Camp insisted that American athleticism was the reason. Along with cultivating his own body, he popularized strength training and the ideal of the muscular physique for American boys, helping to redefine the ideal man of modern times. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199925629

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 236 x 167 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. To a handful of colleagues, Walter Camp was a clock-company executive. To nearly everyone else, he was the quintessential gentleman athlete and the Father of American Football. Born in Connecticut in 1859, he attended Yale University just as collegiate sport was growing organized and competitive in the United States. In college, he was a varsity letterman who led the earliest efforts to codify the rules of football and to make it distinct from English rugby. As the creator of the All-America football team and the writer of some of the first football fiction, guides, and sports page coverage, Camp popularized the game like no other. For four decades, he was the most influential regulator in college football, making him the target of charges that the game was too brutal. Under his watch, dozens of college and high school players were killed or maimed on the gridiron. President Theodore Roosevelt urged him to reform football to prevent administrators from banning it, but Camp was ambivalent about removing the very physicality from the game that made it man-making in his eyes. Although he made his greatest contributions to football, he also had a hand in developing college baseball, crew, and track and field, as well as amateur boxing, tennis, and Olympic teams, making him one the nation s foremost propagators of amateur sport. The greatest proof of his contention that athletics, football especially, cultivated effective, courageous men came in World War I, when massive numbers of college football players enlisted for military service and the Allies defeated the Germans; Camp insisted that American athleticism was the reason. Along with cultivating his own body, he popularized strength training and the ideal of the muscular physique for American boys, helping to redefine the ideal man of modern times. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199925629

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