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-- Kevin Leonard, Northwestern University Archivist

"Its strengths are great research
and a very well-told story."

-- The Illinois State Historical Society, which awarded Gus Hornsby's Gamble the Certificate of Excellence at its 2024 Best of Illinois History Awards

Staff Pick: October 2023 Chicago books
-- Chicago Public Library Staff

Gus Hornsby's Gamble

is available

Larry LaTourette's new book, Gus Hornsby's Gamble, is now available for purchase. You can get a copy of the book either by purchasing directly from the publisher or by going through any of the major online retailers:

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Brick and mortar independent bookstores are preferred, and Larry is working this fall to get his book into local bookstores. 

FOR BOOKSELLERS: You can order wholesale directly from McFarland. Click here for McFarland's instructions.



Explore the story of Gus Hornsby with the Release Day video below:


Gus Hornsby spread the game of football like an evangelist worldwide in the 1870s and helped establish American football in the country's heartland. A groundbreaking journalist, inventor, explorer, and entrepreneur, Hornsby seemed destined for greatness. However, his arrogance, greed, and an intractable gambling addiction drove him to become a criminal and left him in obscurity. In prison, this public ruin ultimately led to his greatest accomplishment: personal redemption.

Hornsby's spectacular rise and fall intersected, surprisingly, with towering influencers of this period, including the women and men who would create the "first-wave" feminist movement in the United States. This book explores their unexpected connections and interweaves their stories—along with details of the first American football game in the Midwest, a match at Northwestern University—to reveal elements of a pivotal moment in American history, both in feminism and sports.

For Northwestern alumni and fans, the book provides an unprecedented glimpse into life at the university in its earliest period, based on a wealth of original research.

For students of nineteenth-century American feminism and its links to the temperance movement and early athletics, Gus Hornsby's Gamble offers new information about Frances Willard, her followers, and their effect on middle America. 

This is not just a story about a person navigating nineteenth-century America; it is a story of  America, from the nineteenth century to today—brash, imaginative, and possessing seemingly unlimited resources and creativity, but overly self-assured and wildly reckless.

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