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Elite tennis star Nadal serves up a smashing account of his life on and off the court.

Tenacious. Driven. Obsessed. This is how the sports world has come to know Nadal, the Mallorcan phenom who at age 24 became the youngest man ever to complete a career Grand Slam in the Open Era. What’s revealed here, however, is a much more complex figure prone to all sorts of anxieties, and a man who simply would not be the athlete he is today if not for the constant love and support of his extended family. Mallorca, the tiny island off the coast of Spain where he was born, is home base for the Nadal clan, and the cocoon to which the globetrotting sportsman must always return to reinvigorate body and soul. And yet, the greatest antagonist in Nadal’s young life, we learn, has not been Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic or any of the other fearsome opponents he’s had to face down on the other side of the net. Rather, it has been a blunt, combative man named Toni, his beloved uncle and ever-present coach. Nadal explores the intricate interplay between the two, as well as his epic battles with the game's best, in a compelling narrative that volleys back and forth between first and third person, consistently building momentum and adding depth as well as insight. The titanic showdown between Nadal and Federer at Wimbledon in 2008, for instance, is played out shot-for-shot over several engrossing chapters. Throughout, the alternating point of view and over-the-shoulder accounts provide readers with a stunning invitation into the mind of one of the greatest tennis players ever. A winning endeavor packed with intelligence and excitement.  


Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2451-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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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

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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