Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Book Review: ‘The Color of Sundays’

One of the major architects in the Steelers' success of the 70s, Bill Nunn Jr., is the subject of the latest book from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte.



At the outset, the Pittsburgh Steelers football team was, to put things kindly, woebegone. Founded in 1933, the team made one appearance in the playoffs, a losing effort against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1947, in the years between that inaugural season and the team’s golden age beginning in the 1970s.

One of the major architects in turning the team around, Bill Nunn Jr., is the subject of the latest book from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte.

The son of acclaimed Pittsburgh Courier editor William Nunn Sr., the younger Nunn was born and raised in Homewood. An outstanding athlete, he was recruited by the fledgling Harlem Globetrotters but decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and go to work at the Courier, one of the most important African-American-owned newspapers in the country. His work as sportswriter and eventually as managing editor for the paper put Nunn front and center as professional sports in America slowly desegregated.

​Conte tells Nunn’s story from his time as an aspiring college athlete through his years at the Courier and his job later as a scout for the Steelers. As part of Nunn’s work at the Courier, he compiled an annual list of the top black football players in the country; those prospects mostly were ignored by the professional teams of the day. Nunn’s insight into what made players great — their athletic ability and those so-important intangibles of personal character — altered the very essence of the Steelers.

Andrew Conte’s “The Color of Sundays” is a well-researched and welcome edition to Steelers scholarship. A book about Bill Nunn Jr. certainly was overdue, but Conte can be chided on trying to do too much in these pages. Occasionally, he gets distracted by the other stories he’s trying to tell: the title fight between Joe Louis and Pittsburgh’s Billy Conn; Jackie Robinson’s early career with the Brooklyn Dodgers; the Civil Rights movement. Those other stories threaten to overwhelm “The Color of Sundays” and too often steal the spotlight away from Nunn.
 



 

Pittsburgh Penguins fans can be forgiven for being a little edgy of late, thanks to late-season collapses, coaching upheaval, more rumblings about the team moving out of the city and the departure of fan favorite winger Pascal Dupuis. It hasn’t been for the feint of heart.

Luckily, David Finoli has compiled a brisk and enjoyable skate-around for young and older fans alike with the latest entry in his Greatest Games series (he’s already held forth on classic match-ups played by the Steelers and Pirates): “Classic Pens: The 50 Greatest Games in Pittsburgh Penguins History.”  Finoli puts the reader right at center ice as he lovingly recreates some of the Pens’ most exciting outings.
 



 

Sports often is said to be poetry in motion, but let me just say the poets in this town have some moves of their own. Set to be published three times a year, the debut issue of the Pittsburgh Poetry Review focuses on the city’s own abundance of riches, featuring more than 70 poets with local ties. Subscribe at pittsburghpoetryreview.com.
 

  • The Color of Sundays by Andrew Conte; Blue River Press; $25
  • Classic Pens: The 50 Greatest Games in Pittsburgh Penguins History; David Finoli; The Kent State University Press; $18.95
  • Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Issue One; $12



 


photo by john campbell

 

Speak Up

Feb. 17/ A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Bonnie Jo Campbell writes from personal experience about the lives of working-class Americans. Campbell, the author of three short story collections, was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2009. She’ll speak at Chatham’s Words Without Walls Reading Series. (Chatham University, James Laughlin Music Hall, 5798 West Woodland Road, Shadyside; 412/365-1685, chatham.edu/events) —KC

Feb. 28/ Widely acclaimed young adult and children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson drops by the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Kids and Teens Series. The author of more than 30 books, Woodson is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal for her 2014 novel in verse “Brown Girl Dreaming” inspired by her own upbringing in the 1960s and 1970s in South Carolina and New York. (Carnegie Library Lecture Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; 412/622-8866, pittsburghlectures.org) —KC

FEB. 18/ Author, playwright and performer (as well as a frequent Pittsburgh Magazine contributor) Robert Isenberg has penned a number of tomes. He’ll read from his recent book, “The Green Season,” a collection of essays about his experience living in Costa Rica. (East End Book Exchange, 4754 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield; 412/224-2847, eastendbookexchange.com) —Lauren Davidson
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

Will the new Steelers zone at Kennywood Park be ready in time for opening day?

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Dr. Juan Antonio Lora's passion project is linked to youthful memories.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

The lauded Lawrenceville hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

The 400-Word Review: Us

Jordan Peele's new film is terrifying, essential viewing.

Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Comfort, mobility and style were all considerations for these brides’ perfect wedding wardrobe.

Pittsburgh Tops the List For First-Time Homebuyers

The report from Bankrate.com touts Pittsburgh’s affordability, job market and culture.

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, local organizations are giving you the opportunity to recycle, learn about sustainability and get rid of unwanted stuff at home.

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

After a two-year hiatus, Michele and Cindy Savoia's beloved restaurant and bar returns to the South Side.

7 Scenic Day Trips with Spectacular Views

By car, train, bicycle or foot, head outside to take in these unforgettable vistas.

Restaurant Review: LeoGreta is a Gem in the Making

With a few tweaks and a little time to settle in, LeoGreta will be the restaurant we all wish we had in our neighborhood.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' Last World Series

Forty years removed from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ most recent championship, the “We Are Family” Pirates reflect on the myriad differences between their game and the one played on the North Shore today.

Foreign Investment: Pittsburgh's Business with Israel

Pittsburgh has a robust Jewish and Israeli community, with scores of programs, both social and academic, bridging the ocean. The relationship, however, is increasingly about business.

Grandstand Gear: The Ultimate Baseball Scoring Pencil

A Pirates fan says she designed the perfect pencil for keeping score at baseball games — and it’s a hit.

Giving the Little Ones Room to Learn

An expansion at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf will allow the storied institution to better serve the needs of its youngest students.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

Will the new Steelers zone at Kennywood Park be ready in time for opening day?

Comments

Pittsburgh Tops the List For First-Time Homebuyers

Pittsburgh Tops the List For First-Time Homebuyers

The report from Bankrate.com touts Pittsburgh’s affordability, job market and culture.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Dr. Juan Antonio Lora's passion project is linked to youthful memories.

Comments

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

Dish Osteria Will Reopen This Spring

After a two-year hiatus, Michele and Cindy Savoia's beloved restaurant and bar returns to the South Side.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

The 5 Best Seats at PPG Paints Arena

From ultra-premium experiences to bargains with great views, here are five perfect places to watch the Pens.

Comments

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Fitness: Five Great Trails to Run in the Fall in Pittsburgh

Don’t resign yourself to the gym treadmills just yet – fall is one of the best times of the year to get outside and pound the pavement, surrounded by falling leaves and the possibility of grabbing a hot latte on the way home.

Comments


After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

The lauded Lawrenceville hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

Comments

It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

It's 2019. We Need a Modern, Dine-In Cinema

Pittsburgh is long overdue for a new movie palace where you can get an actual meal brought to your seat.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Brown and Bell are Gone – What the Steelers Need to do Next

Whether the Steelers are better or worse off, whether they’re culpable or deserve to be applauded for finally resolving two of their biggest problems remains to be seen.

Comments

‘The Most Exciting Sporting Event in the Country’

‘The Most Exciting Sporting Event in the Country’

“March Madness” is as cruel as it is compelling. Just ask Robert Morris Head Coach Andy Toole, who has been there and hoping to go back again.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Us

The 400-Word Review: Us

Jordan Peele's new film is terrifying, essential viewing.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Triple Frontier

The 400-Word Review: Triple Frontier

Netflix's action flick is pretty good. It's also exactly what the streaming service should be providing.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Comfort, mobility and style were all considerations for these brides’ perfect wedding wardrobe.

Comments

The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

The Big Fake Wedding Offers Everything But the “I Dos”

This nontraditional wedding showcase gives couples real-world insight into planning their big day.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Comments

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Leanne & Steve Dish on Season 2 of "Restored by the Fords"

Siblings Leanne and Steve Ford talk renovating Steve’s new warehouse, Leanne’s new baby — and their two new HGTV shows.

Comments