Selective reminiscences from a Pulitzer-winning sports columnist that, though several bricks shy of an autobiographical load, offer a host of pleasures for fans of big-time athletics and celebrities—and of fine writing. A child of the Depression, the seventysomething Murray was raised in Hartford, where a raffish crew of black-sheep uncles attended to his extracurricular education. Fast forwarding by a couple of decades, the author recalls a 1950's stint as Time's Hollywood correspondent, covering the oddly grouped likes of Humphrey Bogart, Billy Graham, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon (on the eve of his ``Checkers'' speech), and John Wayne. Eventually recruited as a founding editor of Sports Illustrated, Murray spent many years as a roving reporter for this weekly before moving on to The Los Angeles Times, where his syndicated column has gained him a national readership. While generally reserved about his private affairs, the author includes enough asides to suggest that life has not been all that easy for the Murray clan. Among other trials, he lost his wife to cancer (months short of their 39th anniversary) and a son to drugs; since the early 1970's, moreover, the author has labored under the gun of detached retinas that threaten to take his eyesight. But for the most part, Murray's anecdotal narrative features short takes on the notable personalities whose paths he's crossed during his long and interesting career—from Muhammad Ali and Wilt Chamberlain through Jack Kent Cooke, Al Davis, Ben Hogan, Magic Johnson, Don King, and Pete Rose. For seasoning, the author throws in acerbic critiques of the cities he's visited; dismayed reflections on what TV has done to, as well as for, sport; and commentary on how, so far as race is concerned, sport reflects the society of which it's a part. An engaging potpourri from a perceptive observer.

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-588151-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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