There are many good reasons why Saban’s Alabama teams have won four national championships in the past decade, and Savage...

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ALABAMA'S RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PERFECTION

A football lifer gives insight into how the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to be the most dominant force in college football.

Savage has had a long career in football, serving in nearly every capacity in the sport. A small college quarterback, he has served as an assistant coach and scout in both college and professional football. He was the general manager of the Cleveland Browns and is now a radio color analyst for the Crimson Tide Sports Network. In several of these capacities, he has worked with or for Nick Saban, the Alabama head coach who has won five national championships—four of those since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Thus Savage has had a front-seat view of Saban’s nearly unimaginable run of success with the Crimson Tide. Furthermore, in providing scouting reports to Saban and his staff on every opponent since he took over his radio gig, the author has contributed to Alabama’s run of dominance. In this book, written with sports journalist Glier (How the SEC Became Goliath: The Making of College Football's Most Dominant Conference, 2012, etc.), Savage provides his “textbook on Saban’s way of doing business at Alabama.” Because he has worked as both a coach and in personnel, the author is equally adept at switching among tactics, strategy on the field, and player evaluation. He effectively conveys the complexities of football for an audience of football junkies and casual fans alike. Fans of college football generally and Alabama in particular will especially value the book. However, Savage falls short in two areas: there is a lot of repetition not only of concepts, but of pet phrases and ideas, and the author too frequently reiterates Saban’s greatness as a coach and Alabama’s success as a program under him (both of which are self-evident at this point).

There are many good reasons why Saban’s Alabama teams have won four national championships in the past decade, and Savage effectively reveals how and why.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-13080-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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

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