An entertaining look at an emblematic figure of college football’s early days.




Mitchell (Hornets Never Lie, 1989) delivers a football-focused biography of Douglas “Peahead” Walker, a vibrant coach from the nascent days of big-time college football.

Mitchell starts with Walker’s early 1900s upbringing in Alabama and subsequent high school athletic achievements, starring as a quarterback and a shortstop. From there, Walker plays for a number of collegiate football teams (eligibility rules were a little more lax back then) and plays in and manages semipro baseball leagues across the East Coast. With his playing skills on the decline, Walker took a job in the early 1920s coaching at Atlantic Christian College, building a small athletic program—across three sports—into a team that could punch far above its weight class. Walker continued on to Elon University, finding similar success, before moving in the late 1930s to Wake Forest University, where he became famous. Against bigger and better-funded rivals such as Duke or the University of North Carolina, Walker was able to build his team into a perennial contender that garnered national attention though never quite broke through for a conference championship. After a somewhat acrimonious split with Wake Forest, Walker had a brief stop coaching at Yale before moving, strangely enough, to Montreal to coach the Canadian Football League’s Alouettes. The book abounds with details gleaned from Mitchell’s extensive interviewing and research, with illuminating looks at each one of Walker’s many stops. Especially interesting are the effects of the Great Depression and World War II on Walker’s program-building efforts. The biography focuses on the many humorous Walker stories and anecdotes—most only half-true—giving the book a light, conversational tone. Football fans will love the many factoids about the early days of the game, while less interested readers may grow tired of the game-by-game recapping of nearly every season that Walker coached.

An entertaining look at an emblematic figure of college football’s early days.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61846-019-6

Page Count: 476

Publisher: Library Partners Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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