Athletes in any sport stand to learn from Larsen’s methods, and Futterman turns in a fluent yarn reminiscent of Plimpton and...

RUNNING TO THE EDGE

A BAND OF MISFITS AND THE GURU WHO UNLOCKED THE SECRETS OF SPEED

The deputy sports editor for the New York Times chronicles a key figure in the development of modern track.

Why run? In a lively narrative, Futterman (Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought To Create a Revolution, 2015) writes that it’s in part to fight death, for relative to an ordinary person, “the well-trained body has far more glycerol, which breaks down fatty tissue, and far less allantoin, which can bring on a condition known as oxidative stress that causes cell damage.” Running, by those lights, is a form of resistance against decay and demise. These are the sorts of ideas that intrigued Bob Larsen, a scientifically and philosophically minded coach. In the early 1970s, he rounded up a bunch of hippie jocks, known to sports history as the Jamul Toads, and set out to condition the young runners in ways that coaches had not considered before—running off track, running in extremes of heat and altitude, and the like, carefully gauging the effects of these conditions on performance. Larsen would go on to coach generations of runners, all the while employing the ethic of “running to the edge of exhaustion, the very foundation of every lesson Bob has delivered to every runner he had guided in the past forty years as he quietly writes the bible of distance running in the U.S.” Futterman chronicles plenty of thrills and spills, as well as the inevitable disappointments, on the road to winning Olympic squads and marathon champions, a development accompanied by lots of good science—running while slightly dehydrated, for instance, leads the body to produce more blood plasma, and “the increased plasma works to bring red blood cells to muscles that are under stress.” Ultimately, Larsen clearly understands what motivates runners in the endless rise and fall of competition: “He believes in rising.”

Athletes in any sport stand to learn from Larsen’s methods, and Futterman turns in a fluent yarn reminiscent of Plimpton and McPhee.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54374-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

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

NIGHT

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

Did you like this book?

more