New book by Maine author looks at football’s effect on pop culture

November 6, 2009 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail

Dr. Edward J. Rielly of Westbrook, Maine, recently authored "Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture," a book that highlights football's role in shaping society. The paperback was published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Rielly, an English professor at Saint Joseph's College, takes a detailed look at this American pastime through the lens of pop culture with his fascinating A-to-Z inventory of how aspects of the game affect and reflect broader society. Far more than a game, America's favorite spectator sports is an intrinsic part of the nation's popular culture - a proving ground for high school athletes, a springboard for stars, a multimillion-dollar business, and a vast entertainment enterprise.

The encyclopedia covers all levels of play - from youth to professional - offering a from-the-ground-up, gridiron look at the game of football within the matrix of American culture. The volume profiles players and personalities, teams and events, games and football concepts, and sociological and technological changes in the sport. The goal is not to name every Hall of Famer or to retell the game's entire history, but to give a clear and detailed account of where, in football history, the importance of people and events extends beyond the playing field. Its wide-ranging entries range from Joe Montana to concussions, from mascots to team names, and from American presidents to football in television commercials.

Rielly is the author of 20 books, including a similar book on baseball, a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a biography of Sitting Bull and a volume on the 1960s. He is also a published poet and has edited books on how to teach fiction and non-fiction genres. In addition, he writes reviews and articles and has won national awards for his poetry.