Conversations with 32 of the Most Celebrated Sports Personalities of the Last Half Century
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 The esteemed ex-footballer cum television announcer offers a rather too sweepingly titled recycling of his radio interviews. When not putting in his usual yeoman's effort as a TV play-by-play man, Summerall can be found hosting a popular weekly radio interview show, ``Pat Summerall's Sports in America,'' during which he interviews ``live-on-tape'' the leading sports figures of the day. Purporting to offer in-depth conversations as tonic for listeners weary of ``those quick, machine-gun five minute segments,'' presumably prevalent elsewhere, Summerall's interviews are indeed lengthy and wide-ranging, yet as presented here, they are also frequently shallow. Collected (with the help of his producer Moskovitz and author Kubey) are transcripts of 43 chats with many of the leading sports figures of the last half-century. That's fine as far as it goes, but missing are such luminaries as Magic Johnson, John Unitas, and baseball free-agency pioneer Curt Flood. Only one woman, Monica Seles, is included. Some of the interviews do yield a good deal of insight, particularly those with figure skater Scott Hamilton and with Arthur Ashe. However, most of these encounters offer little that is new or surprising. The personalities of some of these figures (Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, and Mickey Mantle, in particular) make the interviews seem lively and informative--no mean feat when one considers Summerall's pedestrian interview style. When the subject isn't gifted with sparkling wit, doesn't have much to say, or just has an ax to grind (clearly the case with Pete Rose and Don King), the results can make for tiresome reading. Ordinarily, the mellow-voiced and competent Summerall is one of the most ingratiating figures in broadcasting. Unfortunately, these strengths simply do not translate to the printed page--at least not in this collection. (b&w photos) ($50,000 ad/promo; radio and television satellite tours)

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-270186-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1996