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The Conquering Heroes

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Shades of The Big Chill and Hoosiers permeate this novel of basketball, politics, love and war, the major new work by the bestselling author of North Dallas Forty, spanning over thirty years from 1960 to the present, featuring high school buddies, their girls and their varied careers, ending in the super-heated, high-stakes world of a southwestern university's championship basketball team. The novel centers on Pat Lee, the star player on his Michigan State champion high school team, now the recruiting coach of an...
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Overview

Shades of The Big Chill and Hoosiers permeate this novel of basketball, politics, love and war, the major new work by the bestselling author of North Dallas Forty, spanning over thirty years from 1960 to the present, featuring high school buddies, their girls and their varied careers, ending in the super-heated, high-stakes world of a southwestern university's championship basketball team. The novel centers on Pat Lee, the star player on his Michigan State champion high school team, now the recruiting coach of an NCAA powerhouse. Lee, a decent man with ideals, is badly shaken when the school's star player rapes one of the students - and the university's athletic department's response is to cover it up. This sets in motion an explosive series of events in which Lee takes stock of his life and winds up confronting the corrupt system he has, against his will, been a part of for twenty years, ending in open warfare against the powers-that-be who go far far higher than one might imagine. This is not a sports book. It alternates between the present and the Sixties, during which Pat Lee and his high school teammates come of age against the backdrop of the optimistic Kennedy years through the Vietnam era and beyond. Behind today's headlines, this is a no-holds-barred story of the cut-throat world of big-time college athletics - where the players' education and well-being take a decided back seat to the television revenues they generate. As former All-American Bill Walton says: "The Conquering Heroes does for college basketball what the author's own ground breaking North Dallas Forty did for professional football." The Conquering Heroes is a genuinely compelling human drama of a man fighting his way back to self-respect against the odds; fighting to recapture, if not lost innocence, at least some of the pure love of the game of roundball, not to mention the game of life.

When a star basketball player at a large univeristy rapes a young coed, the athletic department almost succeeds in covering it up--until one man decides to fight the powers that be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This new novel by the author of North Dallas Forty is a gritty tale of what money and national attention have done to corrupt college sports since the 1960s. Former basketball star Pat Lee is now assistant coach of Southwestern State University's basketball team; his duties include recruiting high school prospects with promises of money, arranging for ringers to take their SATs and making his old teammate, head coach Barry Sands, look good. When the star center of the SSU team brutally rapes a student, Sands and his staff quickly move to cover it up, with the help of the local police. Increasingly disgusted with himself and with college athletics, Lee tries to figure out how he ended up on the dingy end of the moral code. The author, who played both college basketball and pro football, uses Lee's life as a model for the change in college sports from extracurricular activity to lucrative media circus. Gent's storytelling abilities and his insider's knowledge of sports serve him well in a novel that moves with the speed and precision of a well-executed full-court press. (Mar.)
Wes Lukowsky
Pat Lee is a fiftyish college basketball coach for Southwestern University in Texas. He played on a high-school championship team, parlayed that into a college scholarship, and even played a little pro ball. Now he's an assistant to his old high-school teammate Barry Sand. Sand gets the accolades; Lee gets the players. The game and the money that's tainted it sicken him, but he does his job. On a whirlwind recruiting trip, Lee cuts a monetary deal with a high-school coach to deliver his star, then piously tells the mother of another player to always travel the high road. Whatever it takes, Pat Lee delivers the meat. Back on campus, the team's star rapes a coed. Head coach Sand evolves a plan that will leave his star uncharged if he turns down offers to jump to the NBA. It's blackmail, and Lee is the bagman. Author Gent, best known for "North Dallas Forty" (1984), revisits familiar themes of innocence and money-based corruption but does it in a slightly different setting. Entertaining and thought provoking if not especially fresh.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780843937435
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.10 (d)

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