Not a complete history of the NHL, but this enjoyable book provides an overview that will educate longtime fans and relative...

The Great One delivers a personal history of the National Hockey League.

Many professional athletes live a charmed existence blithely unaware of the histories of the games they play, but there are those who admire and respect that which came before them. Hockey Hall of Famer Gretzky (99: My Life in Pictures, 1999, etc.), arguably the best player ever, is among those latter athletes, venerating the history of the game he played and loves. “One of the truly amazing things about coming into the NHL as a rookie,” he writes, “is that you are pretty much guaranteed to find yourself in the dressing room with, or lining up against, a guy you grew up idolizing. For me, that was Gordie Howe.” In the process of becoming a legend of the NHL, Gretzky wore number 99, which he chose in honor of the great Howe, who wore number 9 in forging his own legend and who in many ways seems to be the inspiration for this book, which provides a more-than-serviceable history of the (not coincidentally) 99-year history of the NHL and its players. Gretzky wrote the book with Day (co-author, with Marty McSorley: Hellbent: An Autobiography, 2016, etc.)—who has also co-authored books by hockey players Theo Fleury and Ron MacLean—and while the voice and admiration for the sport are inevitably Gretzky’s, the readable narrative is largely due to her. Gretzky’s sense of his sport’s history rings clearly throughout these pages, as if he is the tour guide of a museum in which he also has created some of the best art. Throughout, he modestly intertwines his own story of his love for hockey, which began early on in his life, with the larger narrative of the history of the NHL.

Not a complete history of the NHL, but this enjoyable book provides an overview that will educate longtime fans and relative newcomers alike.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-57547-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016


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



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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