Fallen Stars
Five American Athletes Who Died in Military Service
Sports - Biography/Memoir - Military History
6 x 9, 268 pp.
18 b&w photos. Index.
Pub Date: 11/06/2017
Swaim-Paup-Foran Spirit of Sport Series, sponsored by James C. ’74 & Debra Parchman Swaim, Nancy & T. Edgar Paup ’74, & Joseph Wm. & Nancy Foran
Price:        $26.95

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Fallen Stars

Five American Athletes Who Died in Military Service

Carson James Cunningham

In the spring of 2002, motivated by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, National Football League stalwart Patrick Daniel Tillman turned down a multimillion-dollar contract to join the US Army. Two years later, he died while serving his country in the mountains of Afghanistan. In the process, he became an American icon.

Inspired by Pat Tillman’s story, Fallen Stars captures the lives and times of Tillman (1976–2004) and four other war-hero American athletes: Hamilton “Ham” Fish (1873–98), Hobart “Hobey” Baker (1892–1918), Nile Kinnick (1918–43), and James Robert "Bob" Kalsu (1945–70), all of whom died while serving in the US military.

Why a focus on fallen war-hero athletes, and why these five? Because here we have over a century’s worth of men who faced the fears and uncertainties that come with life and made the ultimate sacrifice. Their stories give us a kaleidoscopic picture of America over the course of more than one hundred years, and through them we can explore the wars America has participated in, the values that Americans have celebrated, and what it has meant, over time, to be an American hero.

CARSON JAMES CUNNINGHAM, head men’s basketball coach at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, is also the author of American Hoops: US Men’s Olympic Basketball from Berlin to Beijing, Underbelly Hoops: Adventures in the CBA—AKA The Crazy Basketball Association, and (with Randy Roberts) Before the Curse: The Chicago Cubs’ Glory Years.

What Readers Are Saying:

"In contemporary sports, 'hero' is a term criminally overused; but in his groundbreaking book, Carson Cunningham gives us examples of true valor and courage among athletes. Equally parts sports text, psychological study, and military history, this book entertains, informs, and gives readers much to consider. And if it causes us to be more judicious in lionizing athletes—differentiating fine performers from true sports heroes—so much the better." —Jon Wertheim, Executive Editor Sports Illustrated

“Carson Cunningham has written a book not just about American sporting and war heroes, but about critical points in our country’s history. His dive into the very nuanced details of their lives is what makes this book feel so personal.”—Nick McCarvel, freelance sports journalist and former tennis writer for USA TODAY Sports

“As the celebrations ended and the crackles in the distance grew more infrequent, I was proud to be reading Fallen Stars close to my Fourth of July this year.” ––Jeff Carroll, author Perfect Rivals: Notre Dame, Miami and the Battle for the Soul of College Football


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