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Red: A Biography of Red Smith

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Overview


In Red, the personality, career, and world of one of America's best writers and most honored sports journalists are brought warmly to life. From Red Smith’s first story for the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1927 to his last column for the New York Times five days before his death in 1982, his inimitable style graced the country’s sports pages for over half a century. Even in his earliest column, his writing showed evidence of the wit, clarity, and eloquence that would become his hallmarks. In 1976 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism.
 
The people who appear throughout Red comprise a distinguished twentieth-century hall of fame: Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe Louis, Ernest Hemingway, Grantland Rice, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. A biography of one of this country’s finest writers, Red is also American history of a rich and lasting sort.
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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review

Red is a terrific book, and a fine tribute to one of the best writers of our time.”—Peter Delacorte, San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review

— Peter Delecorte

People Magazine

“Red Smith’s mind was an utterly original and fascinating machine, and that’s what this warm and lively book conveys beautifully.”—People Magazine
USA Today

“If you never read another biography, by all means read Ira Berkow’s Red, a brilliant look at the life of Red Smith.”—Larry King, USA Today

— Larry King

New York Times Sunday Book Review

"A skillful biography of the legendary sports columnist and unrelenting competitor whose columns were his life, by a New York Times sports columnist."—New York Times Sunday Book Review's "Notable Books of the Year"
Sports Network.com

“There are many interesting anecdotes in this 294-page tome, but one that strikes to the heart of the author was Red’s apparent disdain for the Pulitzer Prize and the politics incumbent with winning one—that is, until Red himself was bestowed the honor in 1976. . . . Pick up Red and pick up a bit of American history, and be reminded once again that even in sports, great writing can be found.”—Marcus Maturo, SportsNetwork.com
San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review - Peter Delecorte

Red is a terrific book, and a fine tribute to one of the best writers of our time.”—Peter Delacorte, San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review
USA Today - Larry King

“If you never read another biography, by all means read Ira Berkow’s Red, a brilliant look at the life of Red Smith.”—Larry King, USA Today
People Magazine
"Red Smith's mind was an utterly original and fascinating machine, and that's what this warm and lively book conveys beautifully."
USA Today
"If you never read another biography, by all means read Ira Berkow's Red, a brilliant look at the life of Red Smith."

— Larry King, USA Today

San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review
"Red is a terrific book, and a fine tribute to one of the best writers of our time."-

— Peter Delacorte, San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Book Review

New York Times Sunday Book Review
"A skillful biography of the legendary sports columnist and unrelenting competitor whose columns were his life, by a New York Times sports columnist."

-New York Times Sunday Book Review's "Notable Books of the Year"

Sports Network.com
"There are many interesting anecdotes in this 294-page tome, but one that strikes to the heart of the author was Red's apparent disdain for the Pulitzer Prize and the politics incumbent with winning one-that is, until Red himself was bestowed the honor in 1976. . . . Pick up Red and pick up a bit of American history, and be reminded once again that even in sports, great writing can be found."-Marcus Maturo, SportsNetwork.com

— Sports Network.com

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New York Times columnist Berkow has written a warm and revealing portrait of one of the finest American sportswriters of the 20th century. Smith knew every major sports personality from Babe Ruth to Muhammad Ali, and the book is full of entertaining and informative anecdotes (with many excerpts from Smith's own columns). Although this biography is basically a positive one, Berkow is to be admired for also seeing the unfavorable side of Smith's personality, specifically regarding racial issues: Berkow pinpoints Smith's failure to grasp the significance of Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in baseball and exposes his protection in print of friends he knew to be racists. Berkow also details Smith's rivalries (and petty jealousies) with his fellow New York scribes, especially Arthur Daley, the first sportswriter to win a Pulitzer Prize, which Smith was later awarded in 1976. Berkow recaps Smith's final years at the New York Times, his second marriage, his ongoing battles with Howard Cosell and Bowie Kuhn, and his death in 1982. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to New York Times Magazine; BOMC and QPB alternates. (June 4)
Library Journal
Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. His career spanned 55 years, from the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1927 to the New York Herald Tribune in 1945 to the New York Times in 1971 until his death in 1982. The 18 hours a day he devoted to his column may have adversely affected his family life, but Smith reached his daily goal ``to entertain . . . and capture the grace and drama and beauty and humor'' in sports. Berkow quotes extensively from those columns as well as from letters and interviews with Smith's family and friends, creating an honest and intimate portrait of Smith's life and times. With this book, Berkow lovingly pays tribute to Smith, his colleague and mentor. Quality Paperback Book Club alternate. Jo DeLapo, Queens Borough P.L., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803260405
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author


Ira Berkow recently retired after twenty-six years as a sports columnist and feature writer for the New York Times. Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting, he has written numerous books, including Court Vision: Unexpected Views on the Lure of Basketball, available in a Bison Books edition, and most recently a memoir, Full Swing: Hits, Runs and Errors in a Writer's Life.
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