Non-golfers will find this amusing, but golfers will roar with either laughter or rage.

READ REVIEW

HOW TO WIN AT GOLF

WITHOUT ACTUALLY PLAYING WELL

Winokur, probably best known for The Portable Curmudgeon (not reviewed) and its sequels, turns an appropriately jaundiced eye on the Royal and Ancient Game.

The subtitle gives it away: anyone expecting another instructional golf book that will help them to improve their fairway play or to make scrambling pars from impossible lies should go elsewhere. What Winokur has in mind is something more practical and certainly more insidious—namely, a guide to psyching out your opponents on the golf course, to playing better mind-games to make up for shortcomings in your short game, as it were. `No, you simply can't play well consistently,` he proclaims at the outset. `But you can win consistently . . . by outthinking [your opponents].` That is actually a polite way of saying that if you can drive your opponents to distraction bordering on madness, then even you, with an average of well over 100 strokes per round, can win at golf. By his own admission, Winokur has modeled his book on the hilarious deadpan humor of British author Stephen Potter, whose classic text,Gamesmanship, included a detailed set of instructions in `golfmanship.` With the fading of the old amateur ideal, Winokur believed a new version of the book was needed. Consequently, he sets out to teach such subtle skills as when and how to break a club in anger, when to flatter an opponent, when to needle, and so on. Some of his advice is actually practical, even for someone who—heaven forfend—is a serious golfer. But much of it is couched in this vein: `Treat yourself with respect. Even if you're a total bozo.` The result is often funny, although not consistently uproarious.

Non-golfers will find this amusing, but golfers will roar with either laughter or rage.

Pub Date: May 4, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-40729-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Effectively sobering. Suffice it to say that Pop Warner parents will want to armor their kids from head to toe upon reading...

CONCUSSION

A maddening, well-constructed tale of medical discovery and corporate coverup, set in morgues, laboratories, courtrooms, and football fields.

Nigeria-born Bennet Omalu is perhaps an unlikely hero, a medical doctor board-certified in four areas of pathology, “anatomic, clinical, forensic, and neuropathology,” and a well-rounded specialist in death. When his boss, celebrity examiner Cyril Wecht (“in the autopsy business, Wecht was a rock star”), got into trouble for various specimens of publicity-hound overreach, Omalu was there to offer patient, stoical support. The student did not surpass the teacher in flashiness, but Omalu was a rock star all his own in studying the brain to determine a cause of death. Laskas’ (Creative Writing/Univ. of Pittsburgh; Hidden America, 2012, etc.) main topic is the horrific injuries wrought to the brains and bodies of football players on the field. Omalu’s study of the unfortunate brain of Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Webster, who died in 2002 at 50 of a supposed heart attack, brought new attention to the trauma of concussion. Laskas trades in sportwriter-ese, all staccato delivery full of tough guyisms and sports clichés: “He had played for fifteen seasons, a warrior’s warrior; he played in more games—two hundred twenty—than any other player in Steelers history. Undersized, tough, a big, burly white guy—a Pittsburgh kind of guy—the heart of the best team in history.” A little of that goes a long way, but Laskas, a Pittsburgher who first wrote of Omalu and his studies in a story in GQ, does sturdy work in keeping up with a grim story that the NFL most definitely did not want to see aired—not in Omalu’s professional publications in medical journals, nor, reportedly, on the big screen in the Will Smith vehicle based on this book.

Effectively sobering. Suffice it to say that Pop Warner parents will want to armor their kids from head to toe upon reading it.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8757-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich...

PERSIMMON WIND

A MARTIAL ARTIST'S JOURNEY IN JAPAN

A reflective and entertaining journey through Japan, as the author seeks to reconnect with his martial arts sensei.

Lowry is a student of koryu (not to be confused with kendo), a style of Japanese classical swordsmanship. Koryu is a medieval art, like Noh and the tea ceremony, a style of combat born on the battlefield–but more importantly, it’s a way to address the world (though an esoteric one: Lowry may well be the only American practicing the art in the United States). Indeed, present-day practitioners refrain from exercising its fatal possibilities. Lowry’s sensei left the U.S. to return to Japan, urging Lowry to follow. Though his life headed in a different direction, he never forgot his training–when the time was ripe, he journeyed to Japan to join his sensei. The narrative revolves around this pivotal decision, and it provides a warm center from which the author expounds on such topics as the glories of a Japanese bath; the evolution of the Samurai caste; the peculiarities of Japanese landscape architecture; the elements of proper sandal-tying; the custom of the premarital shenanigans called yobai; and the teachings of mikkyo Buddhism. He also includes the vital story of the sword–what it reveals about Japanese life and technology, social structure and aesthetic values, etiquette, apprenticeship and the process of education. Lowry’s seriousness lends an earnest cast to the proceedings, but he’s not without a sense of humor–commenting upon his accomplished slurping of noodles, a friend’s wife notes, “He really sucks!”

A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2005

ISBN: 1-890536-10-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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