An intimate, at times inspiring account.



The unknown story of a high school girls’ basketball team in “a monumental place in our nation’s history.”

Sportswriter Isaacson (Journalism/Northwestern Univ.; Transition Game: An Inside Look at Life With the Chicago Bulls, 1994), who has worked for ESPN and the Chicago Tribune, mixes her personal experience on Illinois’ 1979 state championship team with a chronicle of the implementation of Title IX, which “prohibited sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving…federal financial aid.” The author attended Niles West High School, which had no tradition of female interscholastic sports when she entered. The female teacher who agreed to coach the nascent girls’ basketball team knew almost nothing about the game, so she listened carefully week after week as the male coach of the boys’ team tutored her. Isaacson and most of her teammates came to idolize their coach, and they respected the boys’ coach, too, for his patient role. This coming-of-age memoir, informed by a larger social history, alternates among biographical profiles of the coaches, the author’s basketball-playing classmates (“after the passage of Title IX, tennis and badminton were clearly not enough”), parents and siblings of the students, and school administrators. As the narrative progresses and the girls turn into a winning team, Isaacson provides detailed accounts of the frequent victories and occasional losses, sections that may not interest nonfans. An irony of the narrative is that the much-loved female coach departed the high school for personal reasons after inspiring the girls for three seasons, and her replacement was a male teacher/coach. Under his guidance, the girls’ team won the state championship during Isaacson’s senior year despite numerous rocky moments caused by the coach’s awkwardness in dealing with teenage girls. By her senior year, Isaacson no longer played a key role on the team, but she learned how to adjust and take significant joy in the success of the team.

An intimate, at times inspiring account.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57284-266-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Agate Midway

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 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 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...


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?