Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn his introduction, Boswell ranks Bruce Buschel's article ``Lips Get Smacked'' his favorite piece of sports writing this year. As with many of the selections, Buschel's intelligent, masterful, devastating profile of the Philadelphia Phillies' Lenny Dykstra at a Las Vegas baccarat table is simply brilliant writing that happens to be about an athlete. Fourth in a series, the 25 ``best'' selections range widely, covering fishing as well as horse racing; Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and late great tennis star Arthur Ashe. Although many of the pieces come from Sports Illustrated and the New Yorker, others, like Davis Miller's profile of Muhammad Ali, which appeared in Tropic magazine, are from smaller publications. (Ali says of his Parkinson's syndrome, ``God gives people trials. It's His way of keepin' me humble.'') Other intriguing entries include Mark Kram Jr.'s ``The World Is Her Cloister'' about Villanova basketball all-American Shelly Pennefather, who entered a convent of Poor Clares, and ``Get a Load of Me!,'' John Ed Bradley's piece about the seemingly forgotten James Buster Douglas, ``the only person on this planet ever to beat Mike Tyson as a professional.'' Boswell's nimble and nostalgic introduction recalls when ``Nobody thought sports writing was a steppingstone toward a TV career,'' but whatever the writers' ultimate purpose, readers will enjoy what they have accomplished in this collection. (Nov.)
George NeedhamRemember those halcyon days of sports, way back in 1993? There was a complete baseball season; Tonya and Nancy were known only by figure-skating aficionados; Michael Jordan was on the court, and O. J. Simpson was nowhere near one. Perhaps 1993's sports world lacked the tabloid punch of this year's version, but as Tom Boswell's new entry in this four-year-old series shows, good sports writing doesn't require bad soap opera. The 25 entries collected here, all of which appeared in print during 1993, cover everything from surfing in Alaska to a college basketball all-American who renounced the world to become a cloistered nun. Along the way, we get a wistful look at the current life of Muhammad Ali, a devastating profile of baseball player and gambler Len Dykstra, George Plimpton's look at fishing along the FDR Highway in Manhattan, and an appreciation of Chuck Bednarik, the last 60-minute man in the NFL. None of the entries, though, is quite as interesting as Boswell's introduction, which discusses the changes in sports writing over the past quarter century. This is an excellent anthology, and it should find a home in all popular collections.
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