'Forrest Gump' author signs UA football book on campus


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Winston Groom, author of the novel “Forrest Gump,” will be on campus this weekend to sign copies of his latest work, which focuses on Alabama football.

From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium’s Walk of Champions, the Pulitzer Prize nominated author will be available for the special book signing.

 “The Crimson Tide: The Official Illustrated History of Alabama Football, National Championship Edition” is Groom’s second Alabama football tribute.

In 2002, Groom, a 1965 UA graduate, published his first Bama football book, “The Crimson Tide: An Illustrated History of Football at the University of Alabama.”

“The last book stopped in 2000, and a lot has happened in the time since then,” Groom said. “Thankfully, we all know the story turns out well, but it struck me even before we won the championship that it was a very sensible time to write an updated book.”

This updated history of Alabama football not only covers the time that has passed since the first book was published, but also stems back to 1892, when William G. Little first introduced the game to the University. Season by season, the book brings to life all aspects of the game’s history at Alabama, good and bad.

“It’s not a book that could be written by a person who is dispassionate from the University,” Groom said. “But I also don’t cover anything up; I show all the mistakes we’ve made and the fact that we have learned so much through our mistakes.”

With new chapters to cover the so-called “dark days” of Alabama football during the beginning of the 21st century (2001-2006 seasons), the book leaves nothing out. The focus then turns to the Saban era, with a section that includes more than 60 new color photographs, updated appendices for all-time lettermen, game records, bowl appearances, national and SEC championships and a new sidebar on the Heisman Trophy win by Mark Ingram.

            Writing these books, which have both been published by The University of Alabama Press, has been an honor for Groom as well, he said.

            “Most people used to only think of ‘Bear’ Bryant when they thought of Alabama football, which of course is a great thing to think of,” Groom said. “But I wanted to show that we have a tremendous history that’s so much more than just ‘Bear’ Bryant, going all the way back to our first championship in 1925, which has given a big boost not just to the University but to the entire South.”

In total, Groom has published eight novels, including the 1983 Pulitzer Prize finalist “Conversations with the Enemy,” and seven nonfiction works. Groom’s visit to campus is one anticipated by both faculty and students alike, as almost all of them have seen the Academy Award winning film adaptation of Groom’s novel “Forrest Gump.”

“It’s not only great to have someone like Winston Groom come visit our campus, but to know that someone who has accomplished so much went here at one time just like you and me is unbelievable,” said Kyle Weeks, a junior majoring in business.

Fans will also have another opportunity to see Groom at the Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 16, when he will be signing books in the National Alumni Tent on the Quad.

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