“Season of Upsets: Farm Boys, City Kids, Hoosier Basketball and the Dawn of the 1950’s” by Matthew Werner
Basketball, historical, High school
November 15, 2014
4 of 5 stars (very good)
Indiana loves its high school basketball, especially in the 1940s and 1950s when all schools, no matter what size, played one tournament. There were chances for the small rural schools to upset their larger counterparts. The towns represented by these smaller schools would sometimes completely close to support these young athletes. During the 1949-50 season, tiny Union Mills enjoyed a run to the Sectionals that is burned in the collective memory of the town.
That season, not only for Union Mills, but for the entire rural county of LaPorte, is captured in this crisply written book by Matthew Werner. Through extensive research and interviews, Werner captures the spirit of the players and coaches of each of the twelve schools in the county.
However, the book is much more than just about basketball. The reader will have a good understanding of what life was like in rural Indiana during that time as the trials and tribulations of the player’s families are also described in rich detail. While reading these passages, the reader will feel like he or she is living with these hard working people.
It would be a disservice to the book to compare it to the movie “Hoosiers” because this book is a much more complete picture of what it was like for a small rural school’s basketball team to face a much bigger urban school. The basketball played by Union Mills in the county championship is just as exciting and good as any other basketball played. Werner’s recap of their games proves this. He also captures the spirit and emotions of these players and coaches in a manner that leaves the reader cheering for them until the very end. A very good book that any basketball lover will want to add to his or her library.
I wish to thank Mr. Werner for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Pace of the book:
I found the sections on describing rural life a little slow but very informative. The sections on the boys and the basketball seemed to flow a little better as a narrative but both are essential to the book.
Do I recommend?
For anyone who is interested in that time frame, be it about the basketball, society or life in that era, this book will give the reader a slice of the Midwest during the 1950’s.
Book Format Read: