Although sometimes redundant and self-evident, this solid advice could be a handy tool for instructors.

READ REVIEW

THE BEAUTY OF A DIAMOND THROUGH THE EYES OF A COACH

Clouser’s testament to the virtues of America’s pastime.

Few people have such a singular passion as Clouser does for baseball. A longtime player, he turned his attention to coaching after realizing his big league dreams were beyond the fences. Inspired by his courageous mother, his book begins with a memorial to her selflessness and commitment to giving back. Among these memories, Clouser recounts his mother’s indifference and his own astonishment after learning she had lunch with a famous baseball player through the organization where she worked. (She recalled only that the player was a very nice man.) Clouser learned from his mother that there’s more to a man than what he does for a paycheck, even if that check comes from playing professional baseball. He provides many other heartwarming examples of his mother’s humility and how it had a lasting effect on him. Following his love for the game, Clouser helped found the Berkshire Baseball Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching young players the virtues of sportsmanship inherent in the sport. Among his noble goals is to teach young players, particularly those with lofty aspirations, that baseball doesn’t last forever, even for the greatest players, so he sets out to prepare kids for a moral life off the diamond. Clouser’s advice has a tendency to become sentimental and preachy, but his earnestness is genuinely affecting. Ultimately, Clouser’s story and his passion for the game will leave readers longing for a simpler time when the world revolved around the diamond.

Although sometimes redundant and self-evident, this solid advice could be a handy tool for instructors.

Pub Date: May 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468145670

Page Count: 198

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

THE DYNASTY

Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A quiet delight of a book.

GRANDMA GATEWOOD'S WALK

THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

A journalist’s biography of the unassuming but gutsy 67-year-old Ohio grandmother who became the first person to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail three times.

When Emma Gatewood (1887–1983) first decided she would hike the A.T., she told no one what she planned to do—not even her 11 children or 23 grandchildren. Instead, she quietly slipped away from her home in May 1955 and began her walk at the southern terminus of the trail in Georgia. Accomplishing this feat—which she often described as “a good lark”—was enough for her. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Montgomery tells the story of Gatewood’s first hike and those that followed, interweaving the story with the heartbreaking details of her earlier life. He suggests that this woman, who eventually came to be known as “Queen of the Forest,” was far from the eccentric others claimed she was. Instead, Montgomery posits that this celebrated hiker used long-distance walking to help her come to terms with a dark secret. At 18, Gatewood married a man she later discovered had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite. Despite repeated beatings over 30 years, she remained with him until he nearly killed her. Afterward, she lived happily with her children for almost 20 years. Montgomery suggests that an article in National Geographic may have been what first inspired Gatewood to hike the trail. However, as her remarkable trek demonstrated, while the A.T. was as beautiful as the magazine claimed, it was also in sore need of maintenance. Gatewood’s exploits, which would later include walking the Oregon Trail, not only brought national attention to the state of hikers’ trails across a nation obsessed with cars and newly crisscrossed with highways; it also made Americans more aware of the joys of walking and of nature itself.

A quiet delight of a book.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61374-718-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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