The Great Match Race
When did America first go mad for sports? It says in The Great Match Race that it was in 1823, when the nation was captivated by the match race in New York between Northern champion thoroughbred Eclipse and Southern upstart Henry. Congress and the New York Stock Exchange shut down for the event, and 60,000 fans (including Andrew Jackson and Aaron Burr) came from as far away as Alabama. Sports columnist John Eisenberg provides fascinating descriptions of the men behind the match, the ramshackle early state of horse racing, and even the personalities of the various horses. Most importantly, he conveys the fierce regional rivalry that divided the country at the track long before it erupted into civil war.