A hard-to-put-down tale of tenacity, bravery, and friendship in the face of staggering odds.

HIDDEN MOUNTAINS

SURVIVAL AND RECKONING AFTER A CLIMB GONE WRONG

A gripping account of a disastrous climbing trip gone wrong and the harrowing rescue attempt that followed.

In June 2018, two couples decided to go on the most ambitious climbing adventure of their lives, traveling to “the far western end of the Alaska Range” to tackle the Hidden Mountains, which Wejchert describes as “thin needles of rock capping a wild landscape.” All of the adventurers were experienced technical climbers and alpinists, spending years summiting intense peaks, engaging in some of the most challenging climbs in the world. What made this trip different was that for the first time, they would head into unknown territory and attempt to claim a first ascent in the Hidden Mountains, “a phalanx of peaks so remote they had no names or history.” The Hidden Mountains take days, even weeks, to reach via charter planes and laborious hiking, through snowstorms and clouds of mosquitoes. The climbers’ difficulties began early on: Bushwhacking through unforgiving alder trees while grizzly bears looked on, they realized the peak they had originally planned on attempting—the one they spent months meticulously researching and planning for—was too far away. Because they were weighed down with hundreds of pounds of gear, every mile took them three trips to carry the packs in manageable loads. They would have to climb a closer, unknown peak—a choice that would come to haunt them. Narrated with an intensity that grabs readers from the start, the ascent began with courageously difficult climbing and a sense of adventure. The true bravery, however, came in the aftermath of the tragic accident that forever changed their lives. The determination, strength, and courage of the four climbers and the rescue team are impressive, and the narrative is moving in its portrayal of “bits of humanity enveloped in wilderness and quiet.”

A hard-to-put-down tale of tenacity, bravery, and friendship in the face of staggering odds.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-308552-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

UNGUARDED

The Chicago Bulls stalwart tells all—and then some.

Hall of Famer Pippen opens with a long complaint: Yes, he’s a legend, but he got short shrift in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, The Last Dance. Given that Jordan emerges as someone not quite friend enough to qualify as a frenemy, even though teammates for many years, the maltreatment is understandable. This book, Pippen allows, is his retort to a man who “was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.” Coming from a hardscrabble little town in Arkansas and playing for a small college, Pippen enjoyed an unlikely rise to NBA stardom. He played alongside and against some of the greats, of whom he writes appreciatively (even Jordan). Readers will gain insight into the lives of characters such as Dennis Rodman, who “possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ,” and into the behind-the-scenes work that led to the Bulls dynasty, which ended only because, Pippen charges, the team’s management was so inept. Looking back on his early years, Pippen advocates paying college athletes. “Don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou student-athlete nonsense,” he writes. “These young men—and women—are athletes first, not students, and make up the labor that generates fortunes for their schools. They are, for lack of a better term, slaves.” The author also writes evenhandedly of the world outside basketball: “No matter how many championships I have won, and millions I have earned, I never forget the color of my skin and that some people in this world hate me just because of that.” Overall, the memoir is closely observed and uncommonly modest, given Pippen’s many successes, and it moves as swiftly as a playoff game.

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-19-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A convincing case for the societal benefits of sports fandom.

FANS HAVE MORE FRIENDS

A Fox Sports executive and the founder of a consulting firm explore the social value of fandom in this nonfiction book.

Chicago Cubs season ticket holder Nick Camfield’s fandom “runs at least three generations deep,” and every trip to Wrigley Field “transports” him back to his childhood experience of watching games with his father. In conducting interviews with the Cubs enthusiast and others for this well-researched work, Valenta and Sikorjak came across dozens of individuals like Camfield whose emotional well-being and favorite memories revolved around sports—from Little League coaches and fantasy football leaguers to local fan club members and season ticket holders. In addition to anecdotal oral histories, the authors (self-described data geeks) convincingly deploy a host of statistical data to back their argument that not only do sports fans “have more friends,” they also “exhibit stronger measures of wellbeing, happiness, confidence, and optimism than non-fans.” Not only does fandom bring families closer together, the volume argues, but it is also an essential tool—for instance, it is used by immigrants to find a welcome home in new cities or countries. And as much as rivalry is central to the world of sports, fandom, the book contends, can actually “soften the hardened boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ ” Valenta, the senior vice president of strategy and analytics for Fox Sports, and Sikorjak, the founder of an analytics consulting firm and a former executive with Madison Square Garden, combine their career insights into American sports with a firm grasp of data-driven analysis that is accompanied by a network of scholarly endnotes. At times their prose can revel in the sappy nostalgia of sports history, which may alienate more objective sociologists while gripping the average fan. Still, their writing effectively blends keen storytelling with erudite statistical analysis that will appeal to both scholars of human behavior and lifelong sports enthusiasts. The book’s readability is enhanced by an ample use of full-color charts, graphics, diagrams, and other visual aids that support its overall message that the value of sports goes far beyond its mere entertainment value, as its “social power” has the potential to “heal an ailing world.”

A convincing case for the societal benefits of sports fandom.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9858428-1-4

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Silicon Valley Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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