Go inside the Sudan, Bill Rosinski's last word and travel back to the 1920s.
Voices of Sudan, by David Johnson
In 1983, civil war erupted in the east African country of Sudan. An earlier war had ended just nine years before, but the brutalities of this new set of battles and the starvation and social disintegration that accompanied them surpassed anything the late twentieth century would witness. More than two million Sudanese were murdered; four million were displaced. The devastations of war and famine remain.
David Johnson, a local photographer and former Providence Day School English teacher, leapt into this cauldron of suffering in February, invited by the African Leadership and Persecution Project. His beautiful book, Voices of Sudan, documents his profound voyage.
One might be surprised to find the word "beautiful" describing a picture book of Sudan. But Johnson's photographs are radiant with color and serenity. Focusing on close-up images of people, he celebrates their spirits, their ability to express joy in the midst of pain.
That is not to say that Johnson ignores the horrors. His text tells the facts—drought, rape, sickness, death—in straightforward prose. It is this juxtaposition of the beauty of the Sudanese faces with the bleakness of their stories that makes Voices of Sudan so powerful. Elevate, $19.99. -Meg Freeman Whalen
Tales from the Carolina Panthers, by Bill Rosinski
As one of just a handful of NFL teams to launch in the last twenty years, the Carolina Panthers are still a relatively young franchise. Many of us who have lived in the Carolinas for several years have been able to witness the Panthers’ evolution from an expansion team to its current state as a solid sports team and organization.
But we’re just fans.
Former Panthers radio play-by-play broadcaster Bill Rosinski takes us on the inside in his new book, Bill Rosinski’s Tales from the Carolina Panthers, co-authored with The Charlotte Observer sports writer Pat Yasinskas. Rosinski’s tales allow us to relive many of the highlights and lowlights of the team’s first ten years, his tenure in the broadcasting booth. Sure we watched on TV or read in newspapers about the player trades, player arrests, losing seasons, coach firings, coach hirings, and the Super Bowl appearance, but Rosinski shares what was going on around the front offices during those times.
The man who was more often heard than seen also puts himself under the spotlight. He shares the I-can-laugh-about-it-now tale of him falling off the stage during the team’s 2002 kickoff luncheon, to the still-a-sour-taste-in-my-mouth recap of the series of events that led to his contract not being renewed after the 2004 season. Sports Publishing L.L.C., $19.95. — Jarvis Holliday
Breaker Boys, by David Fleming
There are sports books; then there are books about sports. Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship is the latter. It’s as much the story of the era in which the players lived as it is the story of an over-achieving football team.
Charlotte resident and author David Fleming, who is also a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, vividly takes you back to the 1920s. At the heart of the story are the Pottsville Maroons, a semipro football team from Pennsylvania made up of coal miners. Though the NFL was just a fledgling league then, no one expected these guys to be able to compete. Instead, they dominated the 1925 season, going 12-2 and only allowing a total of twenty-six points.
Fleming goes on to chronicle events that include what has been called the greatest game ever seen and also what has been viewed as one of the biggest robberies in all of sports, hence the book’s title. ESPN Books, $24.95. — Jarvis Holliday