by George Dohrmann ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 15, 2022
A well-reported study of how a hidebound sport was saved from itself.
An examination of how American men’s soccer has improved as a result of opening its doors to a broader field of players.
As Dohrmann, the senior managing editor for the Athletic, writes, youth soccer, which took hold in the 1970s, had a problem from the start: It was played by kids whose parents had no idea of what the game entailed, and it was largely a phenomenon of the White suburbs. The consequences were driven home when a supposedly competitive U.S. team suffered unexpected, ignominious defeat in an international competition in 2017, which led to the team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The soul-searching that followed centered on a big question: How could a team from tiny Trinidad and Tobago beat the U.S., with its population of 330 million? The answer, it turns out, had been revealed in a detailed report filed years before, in which the authors concluded that the game had to be more accessible to minority players. It took that defeat to drive the point home again, and finally the various soccer organizations around the country heeded the advice. Dohrmann’s explorations take him into cities and suburbs as well as onto the pitches of storied teams such as the University of North Carolina’s women’s team, whose ethos has become that of women’s and girls’ soccer nationwide, courtesy of longtime coach Anson Dorrance: “What he baked into the culture of women’s soccer in America was that it was more than all right to be a killer; it was a prerequisite for being great.” If you go to any girls’ or women’s game today, “you’ll see team after team playing the high-pressing 4-3-3 formation that Dorrance championed. And you’ll see young girls throwing elbows and flying into tackles.” The male side of the game has similarly improved with greater diversity, so much so that European and Latin American coaches are now scouting the U.S. for professional players.A well-reported study of how a hidebound sport was saved from itself.
Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022
Page Count: 208
Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022
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by Walter Isaacson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 12, 2023
Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.
To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 688
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023
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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.
Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.
Pub Date: July 12, 2022
Page Count: 192
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022
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