Book: The Galloping Ghost

The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend (Houghton Mifflin, 2008) is the story of Harold “Red” Grange who played American football in the 1920s. Back in the “Golden Age of Sports,” he was a huge star. Grange is still considered the greatest ever college football player (he definitely has the most literary nickname), and his decision to turn pro helped bring legitimacy and popularity to the National Football League. The Galloping Ghost has been called the definitive portrait of the football legend.  Several  reviewers—from the Washington Post to Sports Illustrated—heaped a lot of nice hyperbole on it, calling the book “exquisite,” “superb,” “terrific,” “extremely well-researched,” “an ideal read for football fans,” “top-notch story-telling,” and so forth.  It has been compared to Cinderella Man, The Devil and Sonny Liston, and The Devil in the White City.

Praise for The Galloping Ghost:

“Football’s first superstar played with a ballerina’s grace and a bull’s power, but as Gary Andrew Poole shows in The Galloping Ghost, there was more.  21st-century fans will benefit from his reburnishing of the legend.”–Sports Illustrated

“The book is a terrific read.”–Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

“You can almost feel the hits Grange took from defensive players and nearly taste the mud… This book is ideal for any football fan. I had chills reading [it].”  (Chicago) Sun-Times News Group

“Red Grange may have been the best football player of all time, but hardly anyone talks about him the way baseball fans talk about Grange’s contemporary, Babe Ruth.  Gary Andrew Poole’s new biography fills in the blanks of the life of a football legend.”–Bob Edwards, The Bob Edwards Show

“[Poole] traveled the country for two years to meticulously research Grange’s life.  The book is a quick, lively, unpretentious read that captures Grange’s greatness as well as his day, and clearly details his role in the growth of the game.  I would recommend this to football fans, as much as I recommended Michael Lewis’ ‘The Blind Side.'”–Ethan Skolnick, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“A lively, well-written biography of this towering figure. Grange revolutionized the game on the field and his business manager, C.C. Pyle, revolutionized it off it.” –Orange County Register

“…reveals how the game is played on the field, and how it resonates in the wider world.”–The Washington Post

“Grange was a roaring success in the ‘20s, and Gary Andrew Poole speaks for almost all of us when he says, in The Galloping Ghost: ‘Red Grange played way before my time, but his ghost always hovered above the American sporting landscape.’ Exceptional players are often described as defining an era, but Grange did more. He defined a game. ‘If you were to draw a line through the mud of American history and find one man who could be considered the founding father of our football culture, it would be Red Grange,’ Poole says. He’s right; Grange’s mastery moved football from the periphery to the center of American life. At Illinois and later, breaking a great taboo for a squeaky-clean collegian by signing with pro teams, Grange placed an indelible footprint on the gridiron. He built up statistics that impress even eight decades later, including a fabled 1924 showdown against Michigan in which the Ghost recorded 402 net yards in only 41 minutes of play. He was, as Poole puts it, ‘a quiet warrior,’ but his game, and impact, were loud.”–Bloomberg News

“Poole gives us the first major biography of Grange.” — Time Out Chicago

“Red Grange was the most important figure in the history of American football, both college and pro, and Gary Andrew Poole’s extremely well-researched biography of the man, The Galloping Ghost, sheds all new light on Grange’s career from his days as a young phenom to his barn-storming around the country as an American hero to his utlimate decline and fall. It is a fascinating read.” –William Nack, author of Secretariat and Ruffian

“With superb reporting and deft writing, Gary Andrew Poole pulls off his version of a spectacular Grange touchdown run, invigorating a legendary sports story with energy and new detail. Grange’s inner life is explored as broken-field runs come alive and a controversial saga plays out.” —John Eisenberg, author of The Great Match Race

“Gary Andrew Poole has chosen a subject matter like few others in the American sports landscape. Red Grange is one of the greatest football players, and personalities in the history of the game. The Galloping Ghost is not only a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame (and yes, he also played for the New York Yankees in 1926-27), but was on the cover of Time Magazine, and was the recipient of the first “six figure” contract in American athletics by way of his 19-game barnstorming tour with the Chicago Bears. Few athletes before or since have captured the imagination of sports fans in the way Grange did. Poole’s account captures this story and this era in a unique and fascinating way.”– Pat Haden, former college and NFL quarterback, former television football analyst, and USC’s athletic director

“In writing the authoritative biography of Red Grange, Gary Poole has done so much more. He has vividly brought us back to the glory days of college football’s past and the raucous birth pangs of the pro game. And he has brilliantly shown us how America’s first national football hero was also, thanks to his charismatic and conniving manager, America’s first sports commodity, as well.”–Samuel G. Freedman, professor, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and author of The Inheritance

For Galloping Ghost publicity requests, please contact: Megan Wilson, Publicity Manager, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 617.351.3377,