HIS OWNSELF by Dan Jenkins


A Semi-Memoir
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Acclaimed sportswriter and best-selling novelist Jenkins (The Franchise Babe, 2008) writes about golf, his upbringing and how "everything was better in the '30s."

The author credits his sheltered and untroubled upbringing (he brags that his childhood was untouched by the Great Depression or World War II) for his choice of career path: writing sports stories and "all those darn novels with happy endings." He strikes resonant chords with sports fans when he states, "A sports event is the true showbiz—it's real" and, "Every kid should have two big sports events in his life." A 1935 college football game and the 1941 U.S. Open golf championship created indelible memories and strengthened his bond with his largely absent father. However, Jenkins assumes readers will be familiar with many other severely dated references—e.g., actress Joan Fontaine (her film debut was in 1935), The Guns of Navarone (released in 1961) and Toots Shor's restaurant in Manhattan (shuttered in 1971). Throughout the book, the author is scornful of contemporary culture, expounding on "the folly of political correctness" and calling those who have objected to his opinions as among the "long lines of people in our midst who live in Victimhood." When he tells how college students stare uncomprehendingly when he shares his influences and books he enjoys rereading, he actually says, "Kids today." It's also surprising that a veteran sportswriter believes that Tiger Woods—the most prodigious, heralded and important professional golfer of the late 20th century, who brought multiracial and -cultural inclusion to professional golf, the exclusive province of WASPs for more than a century—doesn't measure up to Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus. Such a narrow-minded view from a celebrated contributor to Golf Digest makes one wonder for what he is also nostalgic.

A good book for the reactionary on your gift list.

Pub Date: March 4th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-385-53225-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2014


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