Book Review: When Oberlin Was King of the Gridiron

When Oberlin Was King of the Gridiron: The Heisman Years. By Nat Brandt. (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2001. xii, 230 pp. Paper, $18.00, ISBN 0-87338-684-1.)

It was an all-too-familiar story of the 90’s: Ohio’s college football powerhouse regularly trounced a series greater or lesser teams from throughout the region, but each year the team and a certain controversial coach named John were never quite able to win the big game against Michigan. Whereas most of the scarlet and gray faithful at this point will roll their eyes and say they have heard it all before, chances are actually likely that they have not. The ’90s were the 1890s, the John was John Heisman, and the Ohio football powerhouse was Oberlin College. In a well-researched book steeped in the flavor of college life in the 1890s, Nat Brandt tells the unlikely story of how Oberlin College went from a school where football was forbidden to one of the strongest teams in the nation. Continue reading Book Review: When Oberlin Was King of the Gridiron