WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN by Harvey Araton

WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN

Clyde, the Captain, Dollar Bill, and the Glory Days of the Old Knicks

KIRKUS REVIEW

A warm, accessible celebration of the dynamic early-1970s New York Knicks basketball teams.

Populated by such colorful personalities as the flashy but cerebral point guard Walt Frazier, silky-smooth combo guard Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, hard-nosed forward/center Willis Reed and quirky bench anchor Phil Jackson, this version of the Knicks is near-legendary, even though they were far from a dynasty, only managing a pair of championships (1970 and 1973). This is arguably one of the few NBA teams that deserves a book-length examination, and veteran New York Times columnist Araton (Crashing the Borders: How Basketball Won the World and Lost Its Soul at Home, 2008, etc.) is the perfect writer for the job. A true fan with terrific access, he interviewed virtually every member of the squad, and he provides a where-are-they-now treatment, which lends context, color and weight to the proceedings. His rendering of the tale of Reed's heroic play in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA finals in the face of injury is well worth reading, even though it's one of the most-repeated stories in sports history. Knick superfans Spike Lee and Woody Allen are among those who offer their views on the era, and they come off as expected: passionate, knowledgeable and charmingly biased. Some readers may argue that the book could use a bit more objectivity, but by paying homage to this classic team-first Knicks unit, Araton is paying homage the sport itself.

An in-depth exploration of a team that is well worthy of such reverential treatment. A must for basketball fans and a super-must for New York sports nuts.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-195623-2
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2011




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