American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith (The Library of America)

American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith (The Library of America)

by Red Smith
     
 

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Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith was the most widely read sportswriter of the last century and the first to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. From the 1940s to the 1980s, his nationally syndicated columns for the New York Herald Tribune and later for The New York Times traversed the world of sports with literary panache and wry humor.

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Overview

Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith was the most widely read sportswriter of the last century and the first to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary. From the 1940s to the 1980s, his nationally syndicated columns for the New York Herald Tribune and later for The New York Times traversed the world of sports with literary panache and wry humor. “I’ve always had the notion,” Smith once said, “that people go to spectator sports to have fun and then they grab the paper to read about it and have fun again.” Now, writer and editor (and inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball) Daniel Okrent presents the best of Smith’s inimitable columns—miniature masterpieces that remain the gold standard in sportswriting.

Here are Smith’s indelible profiles of sports luminaries, which show his gift for distilling a career’s essence in a single column. Unforgettable accounts of historic occasions—Bobby Thompson’s Shot Heard ’Round the World, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the first Ali-Frazier fight—are joined by more offbeat stories that display Smith’s unmistakable wit, intelligence, and breadth of feeling. Here, too, are more personal glimpses into Smith’s life and work, revealed in stories about his lifelong passion for fishing and in “My Press-Box Memoirs,” a 1975 reminiscence for Esquire collected here for the first time.

A Special Publication of The Library of America.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Jay Jennings
[Smith's] work has been collected between hardcovers previously, but never as comprehensively as in this Library of America edition…A browsing reader will find a diverting or distinctive phrase on every page, but one who devours it from beginning to end will also get a sweeping history of six decades of 20th-century sports…Smith recorded all of it in crystalline sentences that still delight today…Whether memorializing Babe Ruth or witnessing the rise of Cassius Clay, Smith rarely sounds dated or overwrought. Whatever the subject, the authority of his prose never flags.
The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley
Very few sports journalists have reached Smith's level…There are lovely pieces here about any number of people: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Shoemaker, Yogi Berra…the great horses Seabiscuit and Secretariat…Smith was no sentimentalist, but he knew honest, heartfelt emotions for what they are and wasn't ashamed to set them down on paper. There was no one like him while he was around, and there hasn't been anyone like him since.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598532173
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
05/16/2013
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
496,041
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 8.36(h) x 1.41(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Daniel Okent is the author of several books, including the baseball classic 9 Innings and, most recently, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, which served as a major source for the 2011 Ken Burns/Lynn Novick miniseries Prohibition. In November 2011, Last Call won the Albert J. Beveridge prize, awarded by the American Historical Association to the year’s best book of American history.

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