The Breaks of the Game

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Overview

More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.

The New York Times bestseller, now with a...

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Overview

More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.

The New York Times bestseller, now with a new introduction! The Breaks of the Game focuses on one grim season (1979-80) in the life of the Bill Walton-led Portland Trail Blazers, a team that only three years before had been NBA champions.

The tactile authenticity of Halberstam's knowledge of the basketball world is unrivaled. Yet he is writing here about far more than just basketball. This is a story about a place in our society where power, money, and talent collide and sometimes corrupt, a place where both national obsessions and naked greed are exposed. It's about the influence of big media, the fans and the hype they subsist on, the clash of ethics, the terrible physical demands of modern sports (from drugs to body size), the unreal salaries, the conflicts of race and class, and the consequences of sport converted into mass entertainment and athletes transformed into superstars—all presented in a way that puts the reader in the room and on the court, and The Breaks of the Game in a league of its own.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401309725
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/17/2009
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 112,056
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Halberstam was one of America's most distinguished journalists and historians. After graduating from Harvard in 1955, he covered the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, then was sent overseas by the New York Times to report on the war in Vietnam. The author of fifteen bestsellers, including The Best and the Brightest, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting at the age of thirty. He was killed in a car accident on April 23, 2007, while on his way to an interview for what was to be his next book.

Sherman Alexie is the author of many bestselling books including Blasphemy, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, all of which were National Book Award winners. Much of his writing is informed by his time living on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and he is a founding member of Longhouse Media, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring Native American youth. The author lives in Seattle with his family.

Biography

A journalist, historian, and biographer, David Halberstam brought his idiosyncratic and stylistic approach to heavy subjects: the Vietnam War (in 1972's The Best and the Brightest); the shaping of American politics (in 1979's The Powers That Be); the American economy's relationship with the automobile industry (in 1986's The Reckoning); and the civil rights movement (in 1998's Freedom Riders).

His books were loaded with anecdotes, metaphors, suspense, and a narrative tone most writers reserve for fiction. The resulting books -- many of them huge bestsellers -- gave Halberstam heavyweight status (he won the Pulitzer for international reporting in 1964) and established him as an important commentator on American politics and power.

Halberstam was also known for his sports books. In The Breaks of the Game, which a critic for The New York Times called "one of the best books I've ever read about American sports," he took on professional basketball.

In The Amateurs, he examined the world of sculling; in Summer of '49 and October 1964, he focused on two pivotal baseball events: the Boston Red Sox's exasperating near victory over the New York Yankees for the 1949 pennant, and the 1964 season, when the Yankees lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1999's Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, Halberstam documented the making of a legend.

Always happy to extend his reach well beyond the subject at hand, Halberstam packed his books with social commentary as well as sports detail.

His writing routine was as strenuous and disciplined as that of any of the athletes he wrote about. To sustain his steady output of extensively researched, almost-always-massive books, he allows no unscheduled interruptions: "Most of us who have survived here [New York] after a number of years have ironclad work rules. Nothing interrupts us. Nothing," he once wrote in The New York Times. "We surface only at certain hours of the day."

Good To Know

David Halberstam's first job was as a reporter for a small-town Mississippi newspaper.
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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 10, 1934
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      April 23, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Harvard, 1955

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Hi

    This book rocks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    I purchased this book after reading Halberstam's "Education of a Coach," which I found entertaining and informative, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think I liked this book as much as I did because Halberstam was embedded with the team and was able to give an honest account of what he saw without bias. Essentially, Halberstam tells the Portland Trailblazers story, during the course of a year, from the perspective of the players, coaches, and owners. Though I was not familiar with many of the players as I would be today, Halberstam was able to introduce the reader to the characters well. The book spends substantial portions on Bill Walton's story as well as Jack Ramsay's, both of which were fascinating. In addition, I liked the shorter stories Halberstam writes about some of the other players such as Kermit Washington and Maurice Lucas.

    Though I have not read an extensive amount of sports books, I would place this book alongside "Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger as my favorites due to the fact both writers were with the teams and told the story as they saw it. Today, with reporters unable to gain the access these two writers had, I find these two books to be refreshing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 6, 2014

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    Posted November 8, 2009

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    Posted February 4, 2010

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