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Power Players

Sports, Politics, and the American Presidency

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 18, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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Description

A colorful look at how modern presidents play sports, have used sports to play politics, and what our fan-in-chief can often tell us about our national pastimes.

POWER PLAYERS tells all the great stories of presidents and the sports they played, loved and spectated as a way to better understand what it takes to be elected to lead a country driven by sports fans of all stripes. While every modern president has used sports to relate to Joe Q. Public, POWER PLAYERS turns the lens around to examine how sports have shaped our presidents and made for some amazing moments in White House history, including:
  • Dwight Eisenhower played so much golf he had a putting green built outside the Oval Office! (He also almost died on a golf course while in office.)
  • How John F. Kennedy’s touch-football games with family were knowing plays to polish the Camelot mystique.
  • People might not have related to the aloof and awkward Richard Nixon but, hey, he would bowl a few frames just like them.
  • Ronald Reagan didn’t just play the part of “The Gipper” for the silver screen, but truly adopted the famous footballer’s never-say-die persona.
  • George H.W. Bush once ran a horseshoe league from the White House – with a commissioner and brackets! (He would later claim to have come up with the fan expression, “You da man.”)
  • Bill Clinton’s Arkansas Razorback fandom was so intense that he could be found shouting at the referees from a box at the basketball national championship game in 1994. 
  • George W. Bush’s not only owned the Texas Rangers but also threw out the most iconic first pitch ever in the 2001 World Series. 
  • What really went down when Barack Obama played pickup hoops with the North Carolina Tarheels. (He later won the state by .3 percent of the vote.)
  • Donald Trump is the only president ever featured in a professional wrestling storyline—and everything real and fake that went with that.
In the pages of POWER PLAYERS, a love of sports shines through as the key to understanding who these presidents really were and how they chose to play by the rules, occasionally bluff or cheat, all the while coaching the country into a few quality wins and some notorious losses.

What's Inside

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Praise

"Politics is a sport of its own, so no surprise that many modern presidents have loved athletic pursuits – witness the basketball court Barack Obama built on the White House grounds for pick-up games -- and others used them to an end. Richard Nixon tracked daily baseball box scores as closely as the unemployment rate. While Lyndon Johnson didn’t care about baseball, he started attending Washington Senator games to cultivate favor with the powerful Georgia Sen. Richard Russell, who did. And then there’s Joe Biden and his Peloton bike. POWER PLAYERS is smart, lively and fun, and presidential watcher Chris Cillizza also manages to tie the sporting side of the nation’s commanders-in-chief to larger insights about our leaders and their times."—Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief of USA TODAY and author, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power
“Charming and original, Chris’s exploration of presidents and sports is a fun read for politicos and sports fans alike.”—Jake Tapper, CNN
“In turns savvy and funny, Chris Cillizza tells the fascinating story of how our modern presidents have played sports and used sports to come off as winners with the American people. With colorful storytelling from the greens of Augusta to the bowling lane below the White House, POWER PLAYERS is a must-read book about how sports and politics have defined our nation.”—Tony Kornheiser, former Washington Post sportsqriter
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