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Big Read announces 2014-2015 book selection

May 12, 2014

"Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" by John Carlin has been chosen as the required summer reading for all incoming 2014-2015 freshmen by Coastal Carolina University's Big Read Committee.

The book will provide the focus for several activities for incoming freshmen during Welcome Week 2014, Aug. 16 and 17, including documentary film screenings, guest speakers and discussion panels.

The Big Read program is designed to encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue among students, professors and the entire CCU community. In previous years, the book was required text for University 110: First-Year Experience classes. This year, professors have the option of tying the book into their lesson plans.

"Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation" is about how, after being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by 50 years of apartheid. His plan was to use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long, an embodiment of white supremacist rule, to epitomize and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's effort to bring South Africans together again.

John Carlin offers a portrait of Nelson Mandela blending the racial tensions with the game of sports. He draws from interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela's historic campaign, and the Springboks' unlikely win. As he makes clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase the earliest hatreds and make the nation whole.

For more Big Read information, contact Brianne Parker, chair of the Big Read Committee, at or 843-349-6536.