A skillfully told, affecting memoir of sports and social activism.




A former professional basketball player looks back on his life on and off the court, with an emphasis on how his outspokenness regarding racial discrimination led to his unofficial banishment from the NBA.

Hodges was a three-point specialist whose skill helped the Chicago Bulls to back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992; he also played for other NBA teams and enjoyed a successful 10-year career. However, as a black man who rarely shied away from challenging racial stereotypes—he grew up sending letters to members of Congress about significant issues—Hodges experienced dismay and then anger that almost all of his NBA colleagues refused to challenge the rich, white ownership establishment. Given that about 75 percent of the league’s players identified as black, Hodges preached the gospel of strength in numbers. In college at Long Beach State, he excelled academically as well as athletically and thus felt better prepared than most of his colleagues to present their grievances effectively. Unfortunately, the NBA stars of the 1980s and ’90s refused to heed his call; his ex-teammate Michael Jordan, the biggest of all the stars, does not come off well. Hodges hypothesizes that what he considers moral cowardice is linked to players seduced by huge salaries, fan adulation, and the cocoon of the NBA validating black manhood. He notes the rare exceptions, such as Lamar Odom and, to a lesser extent, Kobe Bryant. At the beginning of the book, the author sets the stage by recounting an invitation to the White House by President George H.W. Bush. Instead of wearing a traditional suit and greeting the president meekly, Hodges wore a dashiki and delivered a letter to Bush about the nation's shortcomings, many of them related to racial discrimination. Hodges' eventual banishment from the NBA caused him to occasionally second-guess his activism and led to bouts of depression, but he never surrendered his convictions.

A skillfully told, affecting memoir of sports and social activism.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60846-607-8

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Haymarket

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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