Saturday, November 12, 2011

Book Review "West by West," "100 Yards of Glory" and more . . .

All matter of sports books keep on coming out with all kinds of subject matters for all kinds of tastes. On the market now are quite a few of interest for even the most informed of readers.

"West by West" by Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman (Little Brown, $27.99, 352 pages) is a moving autobiography of one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The NBA logo has long featured his silhouette. West came out of a little West Virginia mining town, was an All American at West Virginia University, co-captained the 1960 USA Gold Medal winning basketball team and moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers and a Hall of Fame NBA career as player, coach and general manager.

All was not a rags to riches story as West recounts in moving detail. The sub-title of the book refers to "my charmed, tormented life." That it has has been. From the heights of great success to the downers of depressions, self doubt and abusive childhood. Unflinching, eye opening, riveting--the man (warts and all) behind the legend emerges page after page. Highly recommended.

"100 Yards of Glory" by Joe Garner with a DVD narration from Bob Costas (HMH, $35.00, 320 pages) is a coffee table slice of pigskin heaven for the fans of the National Football League. The best of the Super Bowls, runs, catches, quarterbacks, coaches. etc. forms the subject matter of this worthy piece. We are there for a survey of such moments as Roger Staubach's Hail Mary, the '67 Green Bay Ice Bowl, David Tyree and his immaculate reception in Super Bowl XLII. Archival images adorn these pages and add to the total package.

"The Art of Fielding" by Chad Harbach (Little Brown, $25.99, 512 pages) is the kind of novel you will return to again and again.This first novel reminds me a lot of "Bang the Drum Slowly," one of my favorite sporting reads ever. It is baseball fiction but much more than that. It is also the kind of book about a bunch of young players, their insular college world and the national pastime and why it has the hold on so many of us. Grand slam.

From STC publishers comes "The Mets" by Andy Martino and Anthony McCarron ($40.00, 320 pages). Pegged to the franchise's 50th anniversary, the tome is a blend of words and 250 images. All the usual suspects are here as well as the oft told tales.

Rich Marazzi, a writer for USA Today Sports Weekly and Baseball Digest, is writing a first person oral history book on the subject of Yale Football to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Yale Bowl in 2014. He is looking for amusing anecdotes and interesting stories (on and off the field) surrounding Yale Football and the Bowl. His e-mail address is: and his mailing address is: 105 Pulaski Highway, Ansonia, CT 06401

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