Books by George Vecsey

After three years of covering religion for The Times, including two papal conclaves, George Vecsey returned to where he began his journalism career -- writing about sports. In January 1982, following the death of the sports columnist Red Smith, he was nam


EIGHT WORLD CUPS by George Vecsey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 13, 2014

"Timed to appear before the 2014 tournament in Brazil, the book provides a readable personal story and a history of America's coming-of-age on the pitch."
One man's perspective on more than three decades of international soccer. Read full book review >
STAN MUSIAL by George Vecsey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 10, 2011

"Rather than a journalist's or a biographer's disinterested analysis, the author offers a fan's notes."
A deeply admiring, fawning biography of the great St. Louis Cardinal. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

World-famous dissident Wu (Bitter Winds, 1994) gives a powerful exposÇ of China's use of slave labor to produce export goods, as he describes his undercover visits to his homeland, including his detention last summer and its impact on Hillary Clinton's attendance at the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing. In 1992, Wu, living in the United States, established the Laogai Research Foundation in order to expose China's sale of forced labor products on the international market. (Laogai is the Chinese gulag, where Wu himself spent 19 years in forced labor camps.) In this new book his focus is on his highly dangerous trips back to China since 1991. He visited his old prison, Beijing No. 1 Laogai Camp, which is now known as a shrimp farm but is otherwise unchanged, and he and his wife, Ching Lee, managed to film the notorious Wangzhuang Coal Mine, where Wu had undergone ``reform through labor'' and nearly lost his life. Wu pretended to be an American businessman and obtained admissions that products were made by prisoners. On another visit, he entered a hospital and was told how expensive transplant operations for foreigners made use of organs taken from prisoners after—and even before—execution. The final part of Wu's narrative details his arrest and trial last year. Due to pressure from Congress and his American citizenship, he was relatively well treated and released after two months. Neither the White House nor Hillary Clinton come out too well in this affair, and Wu believes that Nixon's famous China visit played into Mao's hands. He argues that dropping China's most favored nation status is the only way to change conditions inside the country; meanwhile, we are fooling ourselves by equating capitalism in China with democracy. Wu's moving and heroic story is essential reading for anyone concerned with the human rights struggle and its implications for public policy. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 1989

The ingratiating journal of a man content but not complacent about his lot in life. Vecsey—a sports columnist for The New York Times—kept an episodic log of his 1986 assignment schedule. It started on New Year's Day at Miami's Orange Bowl (where Oklahoma beat Penn State 25-10 to take college football's national championship) and ended on New Year's Eve in Phoenix, Ariz., with the author preparing to write about another clash for the same title. Between times, he followed the fortunes of such home teams as baseball's Mets (winners of an exciting World Series), basketball's Knicks, and hockey's Islanders (fallen on hard times after four straight Stanley Cups). Vecsey also journeyed to the Soviet Union (which tested his resolutely liberal impulses) for the Goodwill Games, Mexico for the World Cup soccer matches (of which he is an unabashed fan), and other venues well west of the Hudson River. The text's diary format serves mainly as a narrative convenience. In many cases, Vecsey uses it as a point of departure to comment on family ties, his profession, and larger issues (including the abolition of prizefighting). A working reporter who covered religion and Appalachia for over a decade before returning to the sports beat, the author is self-consciously aware of the wider worlds beyond athletics. With ghosted biographies for the celebrity likes of Loretta Lynn (Coal Miner's Daughter) and Martina Navratilova, plus books of his own (One Sunset a Week), still in print, he is able to wander far afield indeed. In less deft hands, a personal odyssey of this sort could have been self-indulgently mawkish. Vecsey, though, manages to make his points, offer the odd anecdote, pay tribute where it is due, and provide glimpses of sports reporting's less glamorous aspects in unflaggingly graceful fashion. Overall, then, a winning memoir. Read full book review >