A sport book recommendation: The Dad Report: Fathers, Sons, and Baseball Families by Kevin Cook

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cxe8hS.
Charming and endearing and a perfect way to kill time between innings, The Dad Report is a service to the bond few understand and those who do have an even more difficult time explaining.
Book description from Google Books:
Baseball honors legacies–from cheering the home team to breaking in an old glove handed down from father to son. In The Dad Report, award-winning sportswriter Kevin Cook weaves a tapestry of uplifting stories in which fathers and sons–from the sport’s superstars to Cook and his own ball-playing father–share the game.Almost two hundred father-son pairs have played in the big leagues. Cook takes us inside the clubhouses, homes, and lives of many of the greats. Aaron Boone follows grandfather Bob, father Ray, and brother Bret to the majors–three generations of All-Stars. Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. strive to outdo their famous dads. Michael Jordan walks away from basketball to play minor-league baseball–to fulfill his father’s dream.In visiting these legendary families, Cook discovers that ball-playing families are a lot like our own. Dan Haren regrets the long road trips that keep him from his kids. Ike Davis and his father, a former Yankee, debate whether Ike should pitch or play first base. Buddy Bell leads a generation of big-leaguers determined to open their workplace–the clubhouse–to their kids.Framing The Dad Report is the story of Kevin Cook’s own father, Art Cook, a minor-league pitcher, a loveable rogue with a wicked screwball. In Art’s later years, Kevin phoned him almost every night to talk baseball. They called those nightly conversations “the Dad Report.” In time, Kevin came to see that these conversations were about much more than the game. That’s what this book is about: the way fathers and sons talk baseball as a way of talking about everything–courage, fear, fun, family, morality, mortality, and how it’s not whether you win or lose that counts, it’s how you share the game.
The book is rated 3.68/5 at goodreads.com, from 28 ratings. See 8 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cxebtP.
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A sport book recommendation: The Fighting Frenchman: Minnesota’s Boxing Legend Scott LeDoux by Paul Levy

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2eDruY9.
Having twice seen LeDoux fight at the Met Sports Center in Bloomington, I knew he had heart. I just didn’t know all the rest of it.
Book description from Google Books:
Scott LeDoux’s face read like a roadmap of boxing’s last golden era–eye thumbed by Larry Holmes, brow gashed by Mike Tyson, ears stung by none other than Muhammad Ali. “George Foreman hit me so hard,” LeDoux said, “my ancestors in France felt it.” The only man to step into the ring with eleven heavyweight champions, LeDoux also fought through two of boxing’s greatest scandals, recurring illness, and childhood trauma that haunted him for decades. This is his story, the life and times of a Minnesota Rocky making the most of the hard knocks that bruise the American Dream, told in full for the first time by award-winning journalist Paul Levy. He was never a world champion, but Scott LeDoux was always the people’s champ. Doing his best to turn a small-town miner’s son into boxing’s next great white hope, Don King said of Scott LeDoux: “He eats rusty nails for breakfast, punches holes in concrete with either hand, bobs and weaves like a giant Rocky Marciano.” He was a big, good-natured kid, with a ready wit and the will to take all comers along on a ride he himself found hard to believe. From the mining community of Crosby, Minnesota, to the dingy, mildew-scented dressing rooms in minor-league towns like Sioux Falls and Billings, to the stage of Madison Square Garden, Levy gives us a real sense of what it was like to spar with fighters such as Tyson and Ali. The buried secrets of childhood abuse and the harrowing sadness of death and disease in his family make LeDoux’s triumphs and defeats all the more poignant and, in Levy’s irresistible narrative, unforgettable.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 4 ratings.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tPup70.

A sport book recommendation: The Fighting Frenchman: Minnesota’s Boxing Legend Scott LeDoux by Paul Levy

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2eDruY9.
Having twice seen LeDoux fight at the Met Sports Center in Bloomington, I knew he had heart. I just didn’t know all the rest of it.
Book description from Google Books:
Scott LeDoux’s face read like a roadmap of boxing’s last golden era–eye thumbed by Larry Holmes, brow gashed by Mike Tyson, ears stung by none other than Muhammad Ali. “George Foreman hit me so hard,” LeDoux said, “my ancestors in France felt it.” The only man to step into the ring with eleven heavyweight champions, LeDoux also fought through two of boxing’s greatest scandals, recurring illness, and childhood trauma that haunted him for decades. This is his story, the life and times of a Minnesota Rocky making the most of the hard knocks that bruise the American Dream, told in full for the first time by award-winning journalist Paul Levy. He was never a world champion, but Scott LeDoux was always the people’s champ. Doing his best to turn a small-town miner’s son into boxing’s next great white hope, Don King said of Scott LeDoux: “He eats rusty nails for breakfast, punches holes in concrete with either hand, bobs and weaves like a giant Rocky Marciano.” He was a big, good-natured kid, with a ready wit and the will to take all comers along on a ride he himself found hard to believe. From the mining community of Crosby, Minnesota, to the dingy, mildew-scented dressing rooms in minor-league towns like Sioux Falls and Billings, to the stage of Madison Square Garden, Levy gives us a real sense of what it was like to spar with fighters such as Tyson and Ali. The buried secrets of childhood abuse and the harrowing sadness of death and disease in his family make LeDoux’s triumphs and defeats all the more poignant and, in Levy’s irresistible narrative, unforgettable.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 4 ratings.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tPup70.

A sport book recommendation: The Uses of Literacy (Media, Communication, and Culture in America) by Richard Hoggart

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2auEmR6.
Whatever the multiplicity of its sources, the deep authenticity of Hoggart’s writing is unmistakable. As with the greatest books in this series, The Uses of Literacy focuses on a case study – the particular plight of the poor and underprivileged…
Book description from Google Books:
This pioneering work examines changes in the life and values of the English working class in response to mass media. First published in 1957, it mapped out a new methodology in cultural studies based around interdisciplinarity and a concern with how texts-in this case, mass publications-are stitched into the patterns of lived experience. Mixing personal memoir with social history and cultural critique, The Uses of Literacy anticipates recent interest in modes of cultural analysis that refuse to hide the author behind the mask of objective social scientific technique. In its method and in its rich accumulation of the detail of working-class life, this volume remains useful and absorbing. Hoggart’s analysis achieves much of its power through a careful delineation of the complexities of working-class attitudes and its sensitivity to the physical and environmental facts of working-class life. The people he portrays are neither the sentimentalized victims of a culture of deference nor neo-fascist hooligans. Hoggart sees beyond habits to what habits stand for and sees through statements to what the statements really mean. He thus detects the differing pressures of emotion behind idiomatic phrases and ritualistic observances. Through close observation and an emotional empathy deriving, in part, from his own working-class background, Hoggart defines a fairly homogeneous and representative group of working-class people. Against this background may be seen how the various appeals of mass publications and other artifacts of popular culture connect with traditional and commonly accepted attitudes, how they are altering those attitudes, and how they are meeting resistance. Hoggart argues that the appeals made by mass publicists-more insistent, effective, and pervasive than in the past-are moving toward the creation of an undifferentiated mass culture and that the remnants of an authentic urban culture are being destroyed. In his introduction to this new edition, Andrew Goodwin, professor of broadcast communications arts at San Francisco State University, defines Hoggart’s place among contending schools of English cultural criticism and points out the prescience of his analysis for developments in England over the past thirty years. He notes as well the fruitful links to be made between Hoggart’s method and findings and aspects of popular culture in the United States.
The book is rated 3.92/5 at goodreads.com, from 203 ratings. See 18 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2atB6lz.
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A sport book recommendation: The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2essGxr.
When you’re done with “The Home Place,” it won’t be done with you. Its wonders will linger like everything luminous.
Book description from Google Books:
“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. All of these hues are me; I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” From these fertile soils of love, land, identity, family, and race emergesThe Home Place, a big-hearted, unforgettable memoir by ornithologist and professor of ecology J. Drew Lanham. Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina–a place “easy to pass by on the way somewhere else”–has been home to generations of Lanhams. InThe Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity.” By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking,The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South–and in America today.
The book is rated 4.30/5 at goodreads.com, from 76 ratings. See 18 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dA8vjh.
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A sport book recommendation: String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis: A Library of America Special Publication by David Foster Wallace

A critic review (source Blog Critics) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dYME2z.
Whew. Definitely not the “sort of stuff” that would cross the mind of the average weekend player. In an excellent foreword, writer John Jeremiah Sullivan notes that tennis “draws the obsessive and brooding. It is perhaps the most isolating of games…
Book description from Google Books:
An instant classic of American sportswriting–the tennis essays of David Foster Wallace, “the best mind of his generation” (A. O. Scott) and “the best tennis-writer of all time” (New York Times) Gathered for the first time in a deluxe collector’s edition, here are David Foster Wallace’s legendary writings on tennis, five tour-de-force pieces written with a competitor’s insight and a fan’s obsessive enthusiasm. Wallace brings his dazzling literary magic to the game he loved as he celebrates the other-worldly genius of Roger Federer; offers a wickedly witty disection of Tracy Austin’s memoir; considers the artistry of Michael Joyce, a supremely disciplined athlete on the threshold of fame; resists the crush of commerce at the U.S. Open; and recalls his own career as a “near-great” junior player. Whiting Award-winning writer John Jeremiah Sullivan provides an introduction.
The book is rated 4.29/5 at goodreads.com, from 822 ratings. See 131 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2adhQMh.
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A sport book recommendation: The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2atsf3l.
While the Olympics today are a picture of diversity and inclusiveness, Goldblatt presents a much more nuanced (and accurate) narrative of their past.
Book description from Google Books:
For millions of people around the world, the Summer and Winter Games are a joy and a treasure, but how did they develop into a global colossus? How have they been buffeted by–and, in turn, affected by–world events? Why do we care about them so much?From the reinvention of the Games in Athens in 1896 to Rio in 2016, best-selling sportswriter David Goldblatt brilliantly traces their history through national triumphs and tragedies, individual victories and failures. Here is the story of grand Olympic traditions such as winners’ medals, the torch relay, and the eternal flame. Here is the story of popular Olympic events such as gymnastics, the marathon, and alpine skiing (as well as discontinued ones like tug-of-war). And here in all their glory are Olympic icons from Jesse Owens to Nadia Comaneci, Abebe Bikila to Bob Beamon, the Dream Team to Usain Bolt.Hailed in the Wall Street Journal for writing about sports “with the expansive eye of a social and cultural critic,” Goldblatt goes beyond the medal counts to tell how women fought to be included in the Olympics on equal terms, how the wounded of World War II led to the Paralympics, and how the Olympics reflect changing attitudes to race and ethnicity. He explores the tensions between the Games’ amateur ideals and professionalization and commercialism in sports, the pitched battles between cities for the right to host the Games, and their often disappointing economic legacy. And in covering such seminal moments as Jesse Owens and Hitler at Berlin in 1936, the Black Power salute at Mexico City in 1968, the massacre of Israeli athletes at Munich in 1972, and the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid in 1980, Goldblatt shows how prominently the modern Olympics have highlighted profound domestic and international conflicts.Illuminated with dazzling vignettes from over a century of the Olympics, this stunningly researched and engagingly written history captures the excitement, drama, and kaleidoscopic experience of the Games.
The book is rated 3.38/5 at goodreads.com, from 171 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2auuUNF.
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A sport book recommendation: White on Green: A Portrait of Pakistan Cricket by Richard Heller

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2aJYE5Y.
At every turn, the authors’ warmth for Pakistan and its cricket shines through. They recount stories about many of the sport’s biggest figures (even General Pervez Musharraf is interviewed about his involvement), but the book is best when finding unlikely heroes.
Book description from Google Books:
Following Peter Oborne’s award-winning global success with Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan comes a new volume, written with Richard Heller, to celebrate the extraordinary story of Pakistan cricket. In White on Green, we discover a rich tapestry of stories about cricket in all its forms that will fascinate all who want to understand more about that country.      We hear from the players of Dera Ismail Khan, who appeared when their side lost by a world-record margin of an innings and 851 runs; and from the Khan sisters, who helped develop the women’s game in Pakistan, despite the threats from those who believed their actions to be immoral. But we also hear from the greats of Pakistan cricket, past and present, who provide a revealing picture of the special challenges they have faced, both at home and abroad.      Written with great warmth, affection and insight, White on Green is an evocative portrait of a country that is too often condemned and too little understood by outsiders. It shows how the spirit of cricket can help overcome the most difficult environments and bring people together.
The book is rated 4.50/5 at goodreads.com, from 4 ratings. See 1 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iJUmRF.
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A sport book recommendation: The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse by Tom Verducci

A critic review (source WSJ online) can be read at: http://on.wsj.com/2qKSw6k.
“The Cubs Way” is a lush accounting of one of the most thrilling championship runs in American sports history—by the numbers and by the personalities that made it happen.
Book description from Google Books:
The New York Times BestsellerWith inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions. It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.  How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs’ transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.  Beginning with Epstein’s first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond “Moneyball” thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called “The Cubs Way,” he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.  To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs’ bench.  A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.   The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.  Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team’s repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.   The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.
The book is rated 4.58/5 at goodreads.com, from 730 ratings. See 123 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2qKArVZ.
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Google Books preview available in full post.

A sport book recommendation: The Meaning of Cricket by Jon Hotten

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2aIm4vJ.
Hotten’s writing is accessible and often moving as he attempts to understand and explain a game that he feels has “something for everyone”. It deserves a wide readership.
Book description from Google Books:
An exploration of what it is about the peculiar game of cricket that so takes hold of the imagination from the writer of the popular blog, The Old Batsman. Cricket is unique among sports in its psychological aspect. It does strange things to you. It is a team game that is almost entirely dependent on individual performance: indeed, at any moment, almost ninety percent of one side is not taking part. In its combination of time, opportunity, a constant threat of disaster, and its ability to drive its participants to despair, cricket is unrivalled. To survive a single delivery propelled at almost one hundred miles an hour takes the body and brain to the edges of their capabilities, yet its abiding image is of the village green, and the glorious absurdities of the amateur player. In this book, Jon Hotten attempts to understand this fascinating, frustrating and complex game. By blending encounters with legends, from Vivian Richards to Brian Lara, Kevin Pietersen to Ricky Ponting, with a more personal story he reveals the funny, moving and melancholic impact the game can have on an individual life.
The book is rated 4.03/5 at goodreads.com, from 31 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2aImwKi.
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