THE PRIZEFIGHTERS

AN INTIMATE LOOK AT CHAMPIONS AND CONTENDERS

A sharp, affectionate portrait—in words and stunning photographs—of prizefighters in their milieu. Photojournalist Schulman started shooting fighters in the early 1980s, when she covered the Kid Gloves at Madison Square Garden for ABC. She has since taken her camera to the famous, grimy gyms of the boxing world from New York to San Francisco, from the Dominican Republic to Ghana—large or small, decrepit or modern, ``the smell of ancient sweat is the same.'' Her visits include the Gramercy Gym on 14th Street, where Gus D'Amato trained Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres; the Kronk Gym in Detroit, home to Thomas Hearns and Evander Holyfield; Miami's Fifth Street Gym where Angelo Dundee worked Willie Pastrano and Muhammad Ali ``entertained'' Howard Cosell; and back to New York for peeks inside Stillman's and Gleason's, where names such as Joe Louis, Rocky Graziano, Kid Gavilan, Jake LaMotta, and Roberto Duran are more than mere legend. She takes a quick look at a few of the legendary matches: Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney; Ali's battles with Joe Frazier; the Duran- Sugar Ray Leonard saga; and the feisty Alexis Arguello-Aaron Pryor matchups. She offers incisive comments and profiles of dozens of fighters, from long-retired light-heavyweight champ Archie Moore to the little guys, barely 10, who box wearing gloves too large for their hands; from the great to the near-great, to those who made a career of standing up long enough to give the contenders a workout. There are success stories: Larry Holmes, Azumah Nelson, Roberto Duran. And sad stories: Leon Spinks, Aaron Pryor. There's also a touching portrait of trainer Ray Arcel, whose 20 champions over 65 years ranged from Tony Zale to the still-fighting Holmes. Boxing may or may not be ``a sport where the rewards outweigh the risks,'' but Schulman goes a long way toward putting a human— if battered—face on a profession long in disrepute. (100 b&w photos)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55821-309-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Lyons Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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