Rising Tide

Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter


By Randy Roberts

By Ed Krzemienski

Formats and Prices




$19.00 CAD


  1. Trade Paperback $17.00 $19.00 CAD
  2. ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD
  3. Audiobook Download (Unabridged)

The extraordinary story of how Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Joe Namath, his star quarterback at the University of Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to victory and transformed football into a truly national pastime.

During the bloodiest years of the civil rights movement, Bear Bryant and Joe Namath-two of the most iconic and controversial figures in American sports-changed the game of college football forever. Brilliantly and urgently drawn, this is the gripping account of how these two very different men-Bryant a legendary coach in the South who was facing a pair of ethics scandals that threatened his career, and Namath a cocky Northerner from a steel mill town in Pennsylvania-led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.

To Bryant and Namath, the game was everything. But no one could ignore the changes sweeping the nation between 1961 and 1965-from the Freedom Rides to the integration of colleges across the South and the assassination of President Kennedy. Against this explosive backdrop, Bryant and Namath changed the meaning of football. Their final contest together, the 1965 Orange Bowl, was the first football game broadcast nationally, in color, during prime time, signaling a new era for the sport and the nation.

Award-winning biographer Randy Roberts and sports historian Ed Krzemienski showcase the moment when two thoroughly American traditions-football and Dixie-collided. A compelling story of race and politics, honor and the will to win, Rising Tide captures a singular time in America. More than a history of college football, this is the story of the struggle and triumph of a nation in transition and the legacy of two of the greatest heroes the sport has ever seen.


  • "It's a must read! RISING TIDE is an electrifying book that hits on all four cylinders: rich Alabama Football tradition; North meets South; Civil Rights Movement Era; and Coach Bryant's history-making return to his Alma Mater. This book gives you insight about Joe Namath, a "kid" from the North, his role in transforming Alabama Football into an elite power-house, and every twist and turn of the phenomenal and enduring relationship that developed between Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Joe Namath. The short and long of it, this book is just plain explosive!"
    John Mitchell, Pittsburgh Steelers Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach
  • "I didn't think the world needed another Bear Bryant book, but this one digs a little deeper and blitzes me with new info. And to think a Purdue guy wrote it."
    Dan Jenkins, sportswriter/book author
  • "Rising Tide is a riveting football story that doubles as first-rate, seminal historical investigation. Building the narrative around Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Joe Namath, the authors interweave early TV and civil rights into the fabric of their story with great grace. An absolutely wonderful read!"
    Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Cronkite
  • "RISING TIDE brings together two iconic figures-Bear Bryant and Joe Namath-in a can't-lay-it-down book. In beautifully evocative prose that takes readers from steel-town Pennsylvania to football-crazy Alabama, Roberts and Krzemienski recapture the drama, tension, glory, and shame of big-time college sports set in an era of civil rights protests and social upheaval. At the heart of the book is the improbable relationship between two unforgettable, larger than life men. You don't have to be a Crimson Tide fan to enjoy this great read."
    George C. Rable, Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama
  • "RISING TIDE is an absolute gem of a book about the twin pillars of white Southern identity: racial segregation and football, and how change was wrought in the heart of the old Confederacy that resisted it. RISING TIDE is an expertly written, must-read story of the intersection of athletics and politics."
    Gerald Early, author of A Level Playing Field and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Culture of Bruising
  • "[Bryant and Namath's] years together fueled the growing popularity of college football and coincided with the unfolding of the civil rights struggle that emerged as the defining news story of the early 1960s. "Rising Tide" weaves the two elements in an informative and entertaining narrative with broad appeal."
    Associated Press
  • "RISING TIDE aspires to be much more than another jock biography. It tells a fascinating story lying at the intersection of football, race and entertainment... Gridiron fans, particularly those of a certain age, will enjoy this trip down memory lane. So, too, will readers interested in revisiting a nation in transition."
    Plain Dealer
  • "RISING TIDE reads like an ESPN Documentary but packs ten times the information and entertainment value. Its accessible but intelligent prose and deep-probing insights keep interest high throughout its chapters. Football, its impact, events, and mannerisms are flawlessly interwoven with the tumultuous recounts of a politically, socially, and racially evolving South."
    Atlanta Journal Constitution

On Sale
Aug 12, 2014
Page Count
448 pages

Randy Roberts

About the Author

Randy Roberts is distinguished professor of history at Purdue University. An award-winning author, he focuses on the intersection of popular and political culture, and has written or co-written biographies of such iconic athletes and celebrities as Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Bear Bryant, Oscar Robertson, John Wayne and Muhammad Ali, as well as books on the Vietnam War, the Alamo, the 1973-1974 college basketball season, and West Point football during World War II. A Season in the Sun is the second book he has written with Johnny Smith. Roberts lives in Lafayette, Indiana.

Learn more about this author