Our Boys

Watch the video and listen to the audio — see below!

OUR BOYS:9780805088908-lowres
A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen

Joe Drape

Times Books / Macmillan
$25.00 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8890-8
Sports – football / Small town life in the Midwest and Great Plains

An inspiring portrait of the extraordinary high-school football team whose quest for perfection sustains its hometown in our Midwest Heartland.

“Joe Drape has caught something deep and beautiful in Our Boys. It is true to the reality of life on the plains, much more than another football story.”
—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi

 “A great read for all, but even more so for big-city readers to get a taste of the quality of life and genuine caring of this small community and its revered teacher, mentor, and coach – Roger Barta. It is not so much a story about football but about the true meaning of midwestern values, family life, and the spirit of small town Kansas and its special people. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Bill Snyder, head coach, Kansas State University

Our Boys is about far more than football. It’s an inspiring story about how a coach and a community are building young men with the simple values of love, patience, and hard work. This is a great book.”
—Joe Paterno, head football coach, Pennsylvania State University

“If you want to turn away from the high-voltage auctioneer babble that surrounds big-time, big-money sport, take this trip to Smith Center, Kansas, with Joe Drape. This is organic stuff, a fat and healthy slice of unadulterated American life. Simply terrific.”
Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam and At the Altar of Speed

“This one hooked me – a reader who wouldn’t normally pick up a book about a legendary high school football team from Smith Center, Kansas!”
– Cheryl Kroger, Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, NE

Buy this book from your favorite locally owned and operated Midwest independent bookseller! Click here for the directory of our member bookstores.


Video: Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen

Link to this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcetUU5y6pg

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Audio: Joe Drape Discusses Our Boys

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Read the New York Times article that inspired the book.  


Booksellers — Earn up to $100 in rebates from MBA for promoting OUR BOYS!
Midwest Connections rebate form for OUR BOYS (PDF)

More details and promo materials for our Midwest Connections promotion for OUR BOYS are online now on the MBA website.  And if you need more information about the book or author Joe Drape, please be sure to let us know.  If you would like to inquire about publicity and events for Joe Drape, please contact Melanie DeNardo in Henry Holt Publicity, 646-307-5239, melanie.denardo@hholt.com .

 OUR BOYS (August 2009, $25.00, ISBN 978-0-8050-8890-8) is available from Macmillan, or you can order it from your preferred wholesaler.  Be sure to contact your Macmillan sales rep for more information about this title.  He/she can advise you about coop availability, too.

 Please do send your reviews about OUR BOYS to us as soon as you can!  We want to share your comments with your fellow MBA booksellers and with readers.  Thanks very much for your support for OUR BOYS and MIDWEST CONNECTIONS!



“The most improbable, unabashed love story I’ve read in years.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A compelling story expertly told.”
—Pat Forde, ESPN.com

 Our Boys delves into the heart of America in a manner that reminds me of The Last Picture Show and Friday Night Lights. Joe Drape crafts a terrific tale that will make you laugh, cry, and think. This is a story about small-town America that will make you shout.”
—Jim Dent, author of Twelve Mighty Orphans and The Junction Boys

“Joe Drape tells the remarkable story of the Smith Center Redmen, not only their success in winning football games, but also in swelling pride for a community and building character in young men. He shows that Roger Barta and the people in Smith Center are winners in every sense of the word.”
—Bob Stoops, head coach, University of Oklahoma

The football team in Smith Center, Kansas, has won sixty-seven games in a row, the nation’s longest high-school winning streak. They have done so by embracing a philosophy of life taught by their legendary coach, Roger Barta: “Respect each other, then learn to love each other and together we are champions.”

But as they embarked on a quest for a fifth consecutive title in the fall of 2008, they faced a potentially destabilizing transition: the greatest senior class in school history had graduated, and Barta was contemplating retirement after three decades on the sidelines.

In Smith Center—population: 1,931—this changing of the guard was seismic. Hours removed from the nearest city, the town revolves around “our boys” in a way that goes to the heart of what America’s heartland is today.

Joe Drape, a Kansas City native and an award-winning sportswriter for The New York Times, moved his family to Smith Center to discover what makes the team and the town an inspiration even to those who live hundreds of miles away. His stories of the coaches, players, and parents reveal a community fighting to hold on to a way of life that is rich in value, even as its economic fortunes decline.

Drape’s moving portrait of Coach Barta and the impressive young men of Smith Center is sure to take its place among the more memorable American sports stories of recent years.

Read the New York Times article that inspired the book.   http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/sports/football/09football.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=smith%20center%20kansas&st=cse


Joe Drape is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of The Race for the Triple Crown and Black Maestro. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, he previously worked for The Dallas Morning News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he doesn’t live in Kansas, he lives in New York City with his wife and son.

photo: Heather Johnson

Visit Joe Drape’s Website www.joedrape.com

Follow Joe Drape On Twitter http://www.twitter.com/joedrape