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The Conquering Heroes

The Conquering Heroes

by Peter Gent

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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.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.55(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.12(d)

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