This is a year of big sports books—of comprehensive, authoritative, all-inclusive, authentic, richly illustrated (and somewhat costly) sports books, to borrow a few of the more conservative words from the jacket blurber's vocabulary. Of the 200-odd books with sport as their subject that were published during 1956, the big books are particularly impressive. They head the following list of sports books that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED recommends at Christmas.
THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL by Allison Danzig, with a foreword by Earl Blaik (Prentice-Hall, $12.50, 525 pages, 350 photographs). Danzig, who since 1922 has been a sports-writer on the New York Times, covers the field with thoroughness from the first game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869 up to the 1955 season.
THE FIRESIDE BOOK OF BASEBALL edited by Charles Einstein (Simon and Schuster, $5.95, 394 pages) is a delightful anthology of more than 100 articles and stories about baseball, with selections from such diverse writers as Thomas Wolfe, Billy Sunday, Tallulah Bankhead and Red Smith.
DUCK SHOOTING ALONG THE ATLANTIC TIDEWATER edited by Eugene V. Connett, with color plates by Dr. Edgar Burke and Lynn Bogue Hunt (Morrow, $15, 308 pages). This thick book, first published in 1947, has just been republished. It is a comprehensive history of the sport, enriched by anecdotes by oldtime gunners and a study covering every aspect of the science and art of duck shooting.
THE DEER OF NORTH AMERICA, a Wildlife Management Institute Publication, edited by Walter P. Taylor (Stackpole Company, $12.50, 668 pages). The most complete, illustrated book on the subject in 30 years—an all-inclusive volume summarizing years of intimate study of deer by the contributing game specialists.
AMERICAN WATER AND GAME BIRDS by Austin L. Rand, with 127 photographs in color, 40 black-and-white photographs and 35 bird silhouettes (E. P. Dutton Co., $11.50, 239 pages). The author is Chief Curator of Zoology, Chicago Natural History Museum. A beautiful, informative book. THE UNDERWATER GUIDE TO MARINE LIFE by Carleton Ray and Elgin Ciampi, with illustrations in color and black and white by Teiji Takai (A. S. Barnes, $8.75, 338 pages). A complete guide to marine life, handsomely presented and of special interest to skin-divers and fishermen.
HORSEMANSHIP by Waldemar Seunig, with photographs (Doubleday, $8.50, 390 pages). First published in Germany in 1941 where it has become the classic book on training the horse and its rider. It is now in an English edition which Bill Steinkraus calls "really masterful."
A PICTURE HISTORY OF MOUNTAINEERING by Ronald W. Clark (Macmillan, $5.95). From the Bisson brothers on Mont Blanc in 1860 to the Everest ascent of 1953, here is the era of modern climbing, profusely illustrated.
SKI NEW HORIZONS by Roland Palmedo (Barnes, $4.95, 230 pages). This is a guide, with maps, to skiing around the world, tips on travel, everything else you need to know to ski Argentina or Lebanon and wherever else there's snow. FAMOUS AUTO RACES AND RALLIES by Erwin Lessner (Doubleday, $5, 380 pages). A history of the sport of motor racing from 1865.
ALL OUT OF STEP by Gerard B. Lambert (Doubleday, $4.50, 316 pages). This is the witty and readable autobiography of the retired jet-powered businessman (Listerine, Gillette Razors) who made his business career as enjoyable and exciting as his sports activities.
NATURE'S WONDERS edited and compiled by Charles L. Sherman, with 462 color photographs (Hanover House, $7.50, 252 pages). A beautiful and informative book, of interest to children as well as adults, this was prepared with the cooperation of the National Audubon Society. It has chapters on birds, flowers, seed and plant reproduction, etc.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT, THE NATURALIST, by Paul Russell Cutright (Harper, $4, 297 pages). During his administration as President, Theodore Roosevelt set aside almost 150 million acres of public lands and created 51 wildlife reservations. Here is the story of his interest in nature from his boyhood bird-watching days.
REMINGTON ARMS IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Alden Hatch (Rinehart, $6.50, 359 pages). Few companies are so entwined with U.S. history as is Remington Arms. The book includes tables and photographs of every model of gun the company ever made.
In addition to these books, there is also a selection from the pages of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, TIP FROM THE TOP, Book 2, 52 more golf lessons, compiled by Herbert Warren Wind (Prentice-Hall, $3.95). It is also available, boxed, with Book 1 ($6.95). THE SPIRIT OF THE WILD by Dr. William J. Long (Doubleday, $4) is a publication in book form of the delightful nature studies rediscovered by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. HITS, RUNS AND SOCIAL ERRORS (Random House, $2.95) is a selection of cartoons from SPORTS ILLUSTRATED selected by Charles Preston. YESTERDAY IN SPORTS edited by John Durant (Barnes, $3.75, 136 pages) contains 62 of yesterday's most dramatic moments in sports. And TO THE GREAT SOUTHERN SEA by William A. Robinson (Harcourt, Brace, $5) appeared in part as The Ultimate Storm.