OUT OF BOUNDS

HOW THE AMERICAN SPORTS ESTABLISHMENT IS BEING DRIVEN BY GREED AND HYPOCRISY--AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT.

An informed and evenhanded critique of the ``creeping professionalism'' that imperils American sport; by an activist observer with impeccable credentials. Congressman McMillen (Dem., Md.) draws on his own experiences as an all-American basketball player, Rhodes Scholar, Olympian (at the 1972 Games), and 11-year journeyman in the NBA to make a persuasive case against the status quo in domestic athletics. An equal-opportunity faultfinder, he rails against zealous parents who push their kids into Little Leagues as well as against universities more concerned with gate receipts than with academic excellence. Also targeted are importunate recruiters who lure high-school talent with dreams of college glory and pro careers, and the NCAA, which, McMillen says, all too often casts a blind eye on open scandals and tolerates ``shamateurism'' in the interests of megabuck TV deals. The author also examines the national preoccupation with a handful of spectator sports (which levies a toll on physical-fitness programs that could benefit millions of less competitive youngsters); the general neglect of women's sports; and the less-than-generous funding of America's Olympic athletes. Many of McMillen's proposals for curbing the commercially exploitative excesses of a demonstrably corrupt sports establishment are incorporated in a bill he introduced in Congress last July. Here, he suggests grass-roots reforms—from encouraging families to exercise together through integrating student-athletes into the educational as well as social milieus of their universities and creating pathways other than college for young athletes to turn pro. An insider's stinging yet engaging indictment of the entertainment/sport complex, leavened by a sense of perspective— and optimism. (Twelve b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: May 8, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-70776-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1992

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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