Twenty-nine 20th-century athletes, nearly all American, are profiled in essays on their lives and careers. In his usual clear, occasionally dramatic style, Sullivan describes his subjects' early lives, how they broke into sports, the high and low points of their careers, and what they have done--or intend to do--in retirement. Despite a generally admiring tone, he mentions Jim Thorpe's alcoholism, Jim Brown's arrests, Ted Williams' ego and other traditionally glossed-over character flaws, He also analyzes each star's enduring accomplishments: how Red Grange put pro football on the map; how Jackie Robinson, Billie Jean King, and Roger Bannister broke through various barriers; how Bill Russell and Wayne Gretzky changed the way their sports are played. Scattered references aside, Sullivan takes 1985 as his cut-off date. The essays end with brief bibliographical notes and include black-and-white photos. This falls serviceably between the many more current--but also more limited--biographies by Aaseng et al., and the larger sports encyclopedias.