This portrait of the Boston Celtics' controversial coach and (since 1966) general manager at first holds few surprises: he is just as competitive, pugnacious, cocky, opinionated, and knowledgeable as his sideline and media appearances would have us expect. But he is also more sharptongued--some would say foul-mouthed--than we could possibly know through the media. And fans outside Boston will also be surprised to learn that Auerbach has lived most of the past 27 years alone in Boston, seeing his wife and children in Washington only when his basketball duties allowed. ""In Red's case,"" writes Fitzgerald, ""the choice came down to his family or his career."" Very late in the book, therefore, long after we have been convinced of the brilliance and dedication of Auerbach the coach, we realize that this is an often-lonely man who so depended on the Celtics as his family that he hated to cut or trade players, who more than any other major basketball figure has made the sport his life. And, despite the team's extraordinary successes since Auerbach's arrival, the business side of the operation has seldom been fun: ""Believe me when I say we were winning world championships some years when we didn't have a goddamned dime in the bank."" For those who aren't Boston fans, there is certainly too much rahrah Celtics in the book, but Auerbach emerges as an impressive character, basketball blisters and all.