The Root Recommends: 'A Level Playing Field'

An engrossing new book focuses on the intersection of sports, race and American culture.


Gerald L. Early's new book, A Level Playing Field: African American Athletes and the Republic of Sports, brings a smart perspective to the myriad ways that sports often tested out integration, long before it hit the nation's highest courts, became a slogan appearing in a newspaper headline or started a movement that changed the nation irrevocably.

This relatively small book -- which could definitely fit inside a basketball player's palm -- is the culmination of lectures that the author gave over the years. Early gives attention to subjects such as integration, assimilation and race relations that are often not discussed in the same conversation with sports -- all the more reason to check it out.

Got ideas for The Root Recommends? Send them to

Previous recommendation: 'Happy Endings.'

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.