Mormon Yankees: Giants on and off the Court | BYU Studies

Mormon Yankees: Giants on and off the Court

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Mormon Yankees: Giants on and off the Court
Author Fred E. Woods
Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, 2012

Mormon Yankees: Giants on and off the Court

Reviewer John Stohlton

Mormon Yankees: Giants On and Off the Court describes an almost twenty-five-year period (1938–61) during which basketball-playing Church missionaries had a profound effect upon the Australian Latter-day Saint community, as well as on Australian basketball. Prolific author Fred Woods skillfully develops his thesis that the use of basketball as a proselyting tool brought both the Church and Australian basketball out of obscurity. In some 292 pages, Woods tells the story of the development of basketball-playing missionaries as a proselyting tool and the profound effect that the elite missionary teams, named the Mormon Yankees, had upon the Church in general and the members and investigators in particular. The author provides a helpful fifty-page overview of the time period and key developments, followed by the perspectives of some seventy former missionaries, Australian Church members, and nonmember Australian basketball players and officials regarding the program and its very positive effects.

All can enjoy this volume, but readers who enjoy Church history and sports are likely to find it almost impossible to even skim through the book without gaining an appreciation for what a group of talented and dedicated basketball-playing missionaries were able to accomplish.