Cook describes his unlikely ascent from high school benchwarmer to walk-on athlete in one of the country’s premier college football programs in this debut sports memoir.
Growing up watching University of Georgia football games with his father, Cook knew that he wanted to one day play for the team himself. He had no idea how difficult a dream that was to accomplish, however, even for a talented football player—which he was not. “I wasn’t a standout on my high school football team,” recalls Cook in his introduction, “in fact, I wasn’t even a starter. I was a fourth-string linebacker and had recorded one tackle in my entire high school career.” Most people would have seen the writing on the wall, but Cook would not let himself be deterred. After getting his acceptance letter from the university, he quickly Googled how to try out for the team, though even that information wasn’t easily acquirable. The tryout process—which Cook literally snuck his way into under false pretenses—turned out to be a tiered, monthslong affair in which he competed against far more qualified athletes for one of the few open spots on the roster. Despite being small, slow, and weak by even the standards of his high school program, Cook began a Rudy Ruettiger–like rise. He showed that he could outwork any player he came up against, proving that his spirit and tenacity were enough to earn him the right to wear a Bulldogs jersey. Cook’s prose is simple and clean, and it emanates the considerable regard he has for the University of Georgia and its storied program: “I went to every home game that fall, and they all held new meaning for me. I still got as excited about games as I had when I was a kid, but it was different. I knew those guys; I had trained with them and practiced against them. I understood what went on behind the scenes.” While Cook’s narrative doesn’t have quite the same drama as that of Notre Dame’s famous walk-on, it offers wonderful insight into the functioning of an elite Division I program that should be of interest to any college football fan.
An inspirational memoir that is ultimately more about fandom and drive than athleticism.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)