Essential for all students of sports history and of photography and a fine gift for buffs as well.

WHO SHOT SPORTS

A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY, 1843 TO THE PRESENT

Superb anthology of sports photographs, coupled with an illuminating text exploring the making of images both iconic and unknown.

Of the iconic imagery, most readers of a certain age can conjure in their minds a facsimile of, say, Olympic athletes raising clenched fists on the podium, Muhammad Ali smacking Joe Frazier, or American women’s soccer player Brandi Chastain raising her jersey to celebrate her team’s World Cup victory. “The missing link…is the photographer,” writes photo curator Buckland (History of Photography/Cooper Union; Who Shot Rock & Roll, 2009, etc.), who remedies that by including biographical and critical sketches of the photographers behind the lens at those climactic moments. Some of her choices are comparatively unknown, however, such as a wonderful image of two young players, shrouded in dust, sliding into home plate in the 2006 College World Series. If carved into marble, it might have been a study for the Laocoön Group, but as it is, Damian Strohmeyer’s photograph is a perfect capture of bodies in motion, shot “high enough to show the gradations of color, textures, and markings on the field, but close enough for the viewer to feel part of the action.” That photograph is followed by one just as impressive, this one taken by “the only official Austrian photographer at the 1936 Berlin Olympics,” Lothar Rübelt, who preceded that accomplishment with a stunning image of Jewish runners crossing a finish line in a 1921 contest. There’s also a great shot of a young Cassius Clay emerging from the ocean like Poseidon, caught by Flip Schulke, a Sports Illustrated photographer who never caught on that Clay/Ali couldn’t swim. This is a collection of superlatives, with both subjects and artists in the finest of forms; it’s difficult to single out highlights, therefore, but one surely is David Burnett’s diving photographs, some taken with an old Speed Graphic camera “like the press photographers of yore used.”

Essential for all students of sports history and of photography and a fine gift for buffs as well.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-385-35223-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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