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Publisher's Summary

A rollicking guided tour of one extraordinary summer, when some of the most pivotal and freakishly coincidental stories all collided and changed the way we think about modern sports

The summer of 1984 was a watershed moment in the birth of modern sports when the nation watched Michael Jordan grow from college basketball player to professional athlete and star. That summer also saw ESPN’s rise to media dominance as the country’s premier sports network and the first modern, commercialized, profitable Olympics. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s rivalry raged, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe reigned in tennis, and Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon made pro wrestling a business, while Donald Trump pierced the national consciousness as a pro football team owner. It was an awakening in the sports world, a moment when sports began to morph into the market-savvy, sensationalized, moneyed, controversial, and wildly popular arena we know today.

In the tradition of Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927, L. Jon Wertheim captures these 90 seminal days against the backdrop of the nostalgia-soaked 1980s, to show that this was the year we collectively traded in our ratty Converses for a pair of sleek, heavily branded, ingeniously marketed Nikes. This was the year that sports went big-time.  

©2021 L. Jon Wertheim (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Glory Days

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great sports summer

This is a very enjoyable book about sports in the summer of 1984 and the impact that things that happened that summer would have long term. The author makes a compelling case and there were a lot of transformative sports events. The star of the book is Michael Jordan. The case is made that Jordan had his “coming out party” that summer with the Olympic trials and games, but more compelling and long lasting on sports and culture is the story of how Jordan came to sign with Nike. It was the period when ESPN switched from paying cable companies to be a part of their packages to requiring cable companies to pay THEM to be a part of the package. It was the summer when Mike Tyson failed to make the Olympic team because he lost two decisions and decided to change his style some to eliminate decisions. It’s was the summer of the first Bird/Magic NBA final. It was the year of David Stern’s first year leading the NBA in a tenure that would dramatically change the league. It was a summer in which Navratilova and McEnroe would dominate tennis. It was the summer in which the Karate Kid would become a hit ushering in more sports themed movies, sequels and even years later a streaming series. It was a summer when a young Donald Trump, who desperately wanted an NFL franchise, would begin a push for a USFL/NFL merger that would ultimately kill the USFL. And it was the summer of the Jackson Victor Tour which in an example of The Butterfly Effect to the extreme would result in the Patriots’ NFL domination more than 20 years later.

If you lived through this time, I can’t recommend it enough, not just for the nostalgia, but also for the explanations of how important the events of that summer were long term in the sports world. I liked the reader. He read fast and made what might have been a 12 or 13 hour book with a different reader into a fast paced 10 hour listen. However, be warned that he does mispronounce a few names.

1 person found this helpful

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It was ok.

A few interesting items I didn’t know before listening. But book never really capitivated me as a reader.

1 person found this helpful

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A walk down memory lane that I didn't know about

An all around entertaining book that allowed me to look back on the sport and culture world of 1984 when I was 16 years old (and was blissfully unaware of what was happening in the moment) - and allowing me to look back through the lens of a 50+ year old reader knowing how influential that year was on my love of all things sports-related. Fun and light listening.

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Voice over guy was an idiot

the voice over artist mispronounced names constantly,names of people he should know really

jgr90878

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Glory Days, well they’ll pass you by

Great trip down memory lane! Some new insights to historic stories. Only issue is with reader. Clearly not a sports fan. Butchered names like Fuhr, Sutter and Aguirre.

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Excellent nostalgia

Who knew so much important stuff all happened back in 1984? I was 12 and have vague memories of a lot of the events described here. Good times. The author was great, as was the narrator. Glory Days indeed.

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Top 10 sports book

For anyone who lived through the 80’s , this is a must listen. Great story , great listen

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Perfect for Gen X

I was a high school tennis and basketball player that idolized John McEnroe and North Carolina Tar Heels in 1984. So, of course, this book was written to tap into my nostalgia.

But I also played it for 21 year old son and he loved it too.

A great summer read about a great summer!

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Reader flaws

The book’s subject matter is awesome. I really enjoyed it. The reader, however, should have done a better job of researching the pronunciations of several names. He continually mispronounced names throughout the book.

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Terrible

This should have been titled “ The Life and Times of Michael Jordan.” Barely a mention of the Detroit Tigers’ great season. All Jordan all of the time. 🤮