John Feinstein

Human struggles, on the playing field and in the grim games of war.

One of the most widely-read sportswriters in America, John Feinstein is also known to Natonal Public Radio listeners for his colorful, incisive commentary.  But it’s through his massively successful books that his voice is likely to become one of the most influential chroniclers of athletic history.  Two of his works rank as the biggest-selling nonfiction books on sports:   A Good Walk Spoiled, which illuminated a full year of golf’s PGA Tour; and A Season on the Brink, a similarly long look at Indiana University’s legendary basketball team under Bobby Knight —   His latest work is Moment of Glory: The Year Underdogs Ruled Golf.  Here, John Feinstein shares with us three of his favorite books.

Books by John Feinstein


All The President’s Men

By Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

“This book was one of the major reasons I went into journalism. I read it in college and still re-read it today when I need inspiration. It is the quintissential reporter’s book: two reporters grinding away on a story no one else believed was there and ending up having a monumental impact on the country’s history. It reads like a thriller yet is full of insight on how good reporters do their jobs. Getting to work at The Washington Post and for Bob Woodward not long after reading the book — and seeing the movie three times the day it came out — remains one of the great thrills of my life.”


The Breaks of The Game

By David Halberstam

“The two best sports books of all time in my mind are Ball Four and The Breaks of the Game. The difference is David Halberstam did not have the advantage of being a player the way Jim Bouton did. He was an outsider writing from the inside. Reading this book and later talking to Halberstam about it did two things for me: it taught me the importance of detail, detail, and more detail, and it also proved that one does not have to be a celebrity to have a great story to tell. Halberstam’s ability to write from inside the heads of his subjects has always awed me.”


The Eagle Has Landed

By Jack Higgins

“I enjoy everything Jack Higgins has written but this one stands out perhaps because it is based — at least to some degree — on a true story. This is one of those books you should not read late at night because you aren’t going to sleep until you finish it. Every page produces a new twist, and you care about the characters on BOTH sides. Imagine feeling sympathy for Nazis? Higgins does it though because he’s so good at humanizing his characters. He sees nothing in absolutes — no one is absolutely good or absolutely bad. And his knowledge and understanding of the places and time he describes is always brilliant….”