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Some stellar shots, a few slices and hooks, and a couple putts that hang on the lip.

An award-winning sports journalist charts the careers of and competition between Watson (the younger) and Nicklaus (the elder) as they dominated golf in the 1970s and beyond.

NBC Sports national columnist Posnanski (Paterno, 2012, etc.) scored numerous interviews with his principals over the years, but his text leans more toward the story of Watson; hovering nearby—always—is Nicklaus, whom the author declares golf’s greatest player. The author organizes the text into 18 “holes” (chapters), each of which is followed by a brief advice chapter—a sort of golfer’s guide to the game. These chapters have titles like “Play with Purpose.” Most feature Watson’s facile commentary and seem to have wandered onto Posnanski’s fairway like duffers in search of their lost balls. The principal interest here is in, well, the principals. We learn a lot about Watson: his difficult father (who never did like a shot his son hit); his obsessive, relentless practicing; his unsurpassed putting (a skill he lost later on); his right-wing politics; his bouts with alcohol when his career began to fade; his psychological makeup. We also learn about Nicklaus, though in less detail. The author reminds us of the Bear’s early-career weight problems, for example, and demonstrates the adaptations he made to his game as he aged. The golf-course battles between the two are among the highlights. Posnanski is at his best when narrating events, at his weakest when waxing philosophical. Occasionally, he clutches at cliché. “The fans were frenzied, the air felt electric,” he writes of the 1977 British Open battle between the two at Turnberry, a classic duel whose highlights readers can now revisit on YouTube. The author ends with Watson’s near-win of the Open in 2009.

Some stellar shots, a few slices and hooks, and a couple putts that hang on the lip.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-6643-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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