Gaul’s reporting is unassailable, but watch as his conclusions stir up a furor in the sports press. You don’t even have to...

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BILLION-DOLLAR BALL

A JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIG-MONEY CULTURE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Gaul (Giant Steps, 1993) follows the money straight into the end zone, locker room, and alumni skybox.

“The notional idea that college football is still a game, as opposed to an elaborately rich entertainment, is rapidly receding from the American landscape of sports,” writes the author toward the end of an often aggrieved, often simply bemused account that finds him traveling the country to interview coaches, players, fundraisers, and assorted walk-on characters. Some of them have the quaint idea that college should be about academics and education; some maintain that football programs should bring money into the system rather than pumping it out; some even wonder why it is that in all but a few states the highest-paid public employee is the major college’s football coach. Gaul is fearless in his pursuit, which finds him in Texas stadium parking lots on the verge (perhaps) of getting pounded by overly zealous fans or in Alabama being sized up by an unimpressed assistant athletic director who’s certain that Gaul is “going to call us all a bunch of yahoos in your book for being passionate about a game.” “Yahoos” doesn’t really enter the picture, not when so much money is at stake, and the author’s dogged pursuit of the money story is made all the more interesting by the fact that public schools can hide behind NCAA rules of secrecy in financial reporting, requiring Gaul to use the Freedom of Information Act. How much money? Billions. So many billions, in fact, that many football programs behave as entities independent of their cash-strapped home institutions, where even the most title-laden professor is paid logarithmically less than an assistant coach in a winning football program.

Gaul’s reporting is unassailable, but watch as his conclusions stir up a furor in the sports press. You don’t even have to hate football to find this book valuable—and certainly worth reading.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-670-01673-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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