One of the books that has recently passed across my desk here at BSMW headquarters is Rebound: Basketball, Busing, Larry Bird and the Rebirth of Boston.
Written by Boston Herald writer Michael Connelly ( who also writes the daily Connelly’s Top Ten blog for the Herald website) the book parallels the struggles of a city in crisis during the tumultuous 1970’s with a once-great sports franchise in decline. Drawing upon his own experiences as a youth during that decade, Connelly presents a compelling social history of Boston.
With forced desegregation polarizing the city, the Celtics were in decline following their 1976 NBA championship over the Suns. Both the city and the team had histories of liberty, greatness and pride which were severely tested during the decade. The chapters alternate between events in the city, such as Judge Garrity’s 1974 decision on desegregation and the history of the Celtics through the years, and into their tough times in the late 1970’s. Tales of Red Auerbach talking to both the 76ers and Knicks about taking over those clubs because of his disgust with the owners of the Celtics are discussed.
Then, as Auerbach drafted Larry Bird and then maneuvered meddling owner John Y Brown out of town, the Celtics fortunes turned around. Events in the city, such as the senseless shooting of high school football player Darryl Williams rallied communities into taking action and galvanizing the city. When the Celtics won the 1981 championship, the team and city celebrated together, marking a change in both.
The book is due to be released on December 12th, but is available for pre order through Amazon.com. (Click on the image of the book to be taken to the Amazon order page.)