Fred Barnes reviews The Big Scrum in the Wall Street Journal:
“The Big Scrum” is the first complete account of Roosevelt’s football rescue, a sport that—surprisingly for a man who championed physical challenges—he liked but never played. Mr. Miller tells the story in marvelous detail, with special focus on the dogmatic opponents of the college game, especially Harvard President Charles W. Eliot and frontier scholar Frederick Jackson Turner, and on the sport’s allies, such as Woodrow Wilson, then a Princeton professor, and painter and sculptor Frederic Remington.
It’s a great story and, as luck would have it, a timely one. As the 2011 season begins, “The Big Scrum” reminds us that, a century ago, college football was in trouble but managed, with help, to change its ways. It is a tonic reminder today, when college football, with its proliferating scandals, has stumbled into a crisis and seems unable to extricate itself. …
Roosevelt, with his blunt approach to most things, might not have been the ideal candidate for the job a century ago. But as Mr. Miller argues persuasively, TR proved to know exactly how to proceed.