An agreeable and enlightening overview of spectator sports in the Soviet Union from the 1917 revolution through Communism's collapse. Drawing on personal experience gained during frequent visits to the erstwhile USSR since the 1960's and on contemporary press accounts, Edelman (Russian History/UC at San Diego) focuses on the in-country emergence of soccer, men's basketball, and ice hockey as crowd-pleasing diversions. By contrast, he points out, the more image-conscious Kremlin turned its post-WW II efforts to developing world-class athletes who could win medals in Olympic events and bring glory to Communism. Among other outcomes, the author argues, this diversion of talent cost the national soccer team dearly when it began to compete at the international level. As measured by attendance or attention (via TV), Edelman concludes, showcase sports had little appeal for the Soviet working classes. But although the government disdained any entertainment that diluted the masses' interest in politics, it tolerated the organization of local clubs and leagues in the name of physical culture—and eventually its worst fears were confirmed as corruption, thuggish behavior by fans, and a black market in tickets for major contests became familiar aspects of popular spectator sports. In the meantime, Moscow's so-called ``ice militia'' began beating Canada at its own game, and the USSR earned a disputed triumph over the US in basketball at the 1972 Olympics. With the advent of perestroika and the subsequent breakup of the Russian empire, there's been a brawn drain, with professional Soviet athletes now playing for capitalist franchises in Europe, North America, and elsewhere. An informed and informative appraisal of what the Western sports community once viewed as the Big Red Machine. (Twenty halftones—some seen)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-19-507948-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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