“Best of Bacon” Launches Friday, May 11, at the Ann Arbor District Library’s “Big Room”!

Hello, Loyal Readers!

Here’s some news: My tenth book, Best of Bacon: Select Cuts, will be published UM Press on May 8!

This is a collection of my 40 favorite stories I wrote between 1992 and 2018, all centered on the state of Michigan. They cover a dozen different sports for a dozen different media outlets, from the Ann Arbor News to National Public Radio, they stretch from a couple pages to a dozen, and they include features on Bo Schembechler, Gordie Howe, Ernie Harwell, and Jim Abbott, among others, plus first-person stories about getting crushed at the U.S. Open, a Detroit Vipers practice, and in Mike Barwis’s School of Pukitude. More often, they explore timeless themes—why we love sports, how we pass that passion down to the next generation, and how it will be threatened or preserved in the future. These stories speak to the value of sports, but also to our values. But they have one thing in common: they all meant a lot to me when I wrote them, and they still do today.

These stories led to the publication of six of my books, including Blue Ice, Bo’s Lasting Lessons, Three and Out, Fourth and Long, Endzone, and The Great Halifax Explosion. Almost half these stories won national awards. The Table of Contents is below.

After it comes out May 8 — just in time for Mother’s and Father’s Days — the good folks at Literati Bookstore and I will be launching the book at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 11, at the remodeled top floor of the Ann Arbor District Library, with capacity for 200 folks. So please feel free to tell 199 of your best friends!

Here’s the list:

-Friday, May 11, 7 pm, Literati hosting at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

-May 23, Chicago. Location TBD.

-May 29, Traverse City. Location TBD.

-June 12, 7 p.m. Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor.

Hope to see you on the book tour trail!




“While every vignette here takes you to a different place and time, it all resonates in a familiar way: John U. Bacon reports and writes with heart.”

—Eric Adelson, Yahoo! Sports writer, awarded nation’s top sports feature, 2013


“People who think they don’t like sports probably haven’t read John U. Bacon.”

—Cynthia Canty, host of “Stateside,” Michigan Radio


“John U. Bacon tells stories the same way a coach carries out a brilliant game plan. With passion and wisdom, hilarity and poignancy, he guides you to every corner of Michigan, a place where he has an unparalleled home court advantage.”

—Linda Robertson, Miami Herald, seven-time contributor to The Best American Sports Writing


Table of Contents


Kid Stuff

A Father’s Day Gift

Don’t Try This At Home

How Coach Mac Changed My Life

The Almighty Cleavers

Hoops the Potawatomi Way

Our Unforgettable Assistant Coach

You Should Have Met Fennville’sWes Leonard

The Camp Director Puts Out the Candle


Confessions of an Idiot

Paper Viper

Monster Bites Man at U.S. Open

Spinner Takes the Wheel

What Coaching Women Taught Me

A Crash-Course in the Barwis School of Puke-itude

Pond of Dreams: Build It, and They Will Come



Joe Louis, the Gentle Giant

Remembering Mr. Hockey

Magic’s Journey

Man vs. Machine

Jim Abbott’s Biggest Struggle

Denard’s Day



Bo’s Back Where He Belongs

Tom Izzo: Iron Mountain Man

Carol Hutchins: The Biggest Winner on Campus

Harbaugh Comes Home

Red Berenson Did It All, with Honor



Halifax, Extraordinary Heroism, and Hockey

The True Story of “The Gipper”

The Big House After Hours

Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson

How President Hannah Made MSU

The Tigers’ Love for Lakeland

The Voice of the Tigers

William Clay Ford: Misunderstood Man


Money and Madness

How Title IX Changed the Nation

The Un-collector

Ann Arbor News’ Death RuledSuicide

EMU Football Still Not Worth It

Travel Team Madness

How Michigan’s Greed Alienated Fans

How to Fix College Sports


The Future

What I Want for My Son


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1 Comment Leave a comment  

  • Ron Pudduck May 3, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    Excited to see some more hours of good enjoyable reading and remembering! Keep that pen writing and your sharp mind and emotions pouring out memories for us to read and think about.


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