Nicely written insider’s compendium on the men, their times and TV’s impact on sports.

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SOUND AND FURY

THE PARALLEL LIVES AND FATEFUL FRIENDSHIP OF MUHAMMAD ALI AND HOWARD COSELL

Award-winning sports journalist Kindred (Glove Stories, 2002, etc.) captures the spirit of an era in intersecting biographies of two truly irrepressible personalities.

The author, who knew both Ali and Cosell, might be accused of forcing them together here, as each has been the subject of numerous other books, including their own. What common bond, after all, could the offspring of Russian-Jewish immigrants to Brooklyn have with a Kentucky sign-painter’s son 24 years his junior? Kindred quickly answers this question, and dispels any doubts about his project, with a vast barrage of anecdotes, testimonials and riveting summaries of media events that freeze the essential moments as two ambitious careers collide and meld in a decades-long dance of sometimes brilliant and often shameless mutual exploitation. Immediately after their first encounter in the early 1960s, the bombastic doggerel of Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., a 20-year-old Olympic heavyweight champ turned pro, and the sesquipedalian arrogance of Cosell, an apostate attorney dreaming of a media spotlight as the prototypical sports journalist, became an irresistible attraction for a TV nation hungering for “telling it like it is.” With Cosell pushing Clay, soon to rename himself Ali, with intimidating questions about his unorthodox boxing style (“Are you, in fact, afraid of being hit?”), and Clay in turn threatening to snatch off his mock adversary’s obvious toupee on camera, the show boomed along into the big time. When Ali turned Muslim draft-resister, Cosell, almost alone, stayed in his corner. As fans of both remember, and Kindred well documents, the lows inevitably came. For example, a past-his-prime Ali suppressing a medical exam that showed neurologically impaired coordination, only to be pummeled by undefeated champ Larry Holmes. Or Cosell being accosted by frustrated broadcasting partner Al Michaels after downing the better part of a bottle of vodka during a baseball game.

Nicely written insider’s compendium on the men, their times and TV’s impact on sports.

Pub Date: March 8, 2006

ISBN: 0-7432-6211-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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BECOMING

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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