What a Time It Was

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Overview


Many think that W. C. Heinz stands right alongside the legendary New York Times columnist Red Smith as the greatest sports writer of the 1940s and '50s. Paving the way for the New Journalism of Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Jimmy Breslin, Heinz was the first sports writer to make his living exclusively by writing for magazines. Whether describing mobbed-up boxers, crippled jockeys, lame horses, aspiring ballplayers, or driven football coaches, Heinz's finely etched, indelible portraits recall a sports era less ...
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Overview


Many think that W. C. Heinz stands right alongside the legendary New York Times columnist Red Smith as the greatest sports writer of the 1940s and '50s. Paving the way for the New Journalism of Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Jimmy Breslin, Heinz was the first sports writer to make his living exclusively by writing for magazines. Whether describing mobbed-up boxers, crippled jockeys, lame horses, aspiring ballplayers, or driven football coaches, Heinz's finely etched, indelible portraits recall a sports era less influenced by money, image, and self-indulgence. He collaborated with Vince Lombardi on the book Run to Daylight, cowrote the novel M*A*S*H with Dr. H. Richard Hornberger under the pseudonym Richard Hooker, and wrote what Hemingway considered to be the "only good novel about a fighter I've ever read," The Professional. In this collection of Heinz's finest writing, we meet the immortal Red Grange; the injury-riddled, "purest baseball player" of his era, Pistol Pete Reiser; the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson; and the Brownsville Bum, Bummy Davis, in a story that Jimmy Breslin calls the "best magazine sports story of all time." Here is a long-overdue homage to a vastly underappreciated writer.
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Editorial Reviews

Esquire
The writing here is so pure and vivid, the voice so clear, the style so original, that you can almost see the blood dripping from Rocky Graziano's face...
Salon.com
This isn't a book, it's an event....In decades to come, Heinz's work will be the primary window through which we will view the giants of his age.
Jeff McGregor
Tells his stories the way Heifitz fiddled or Hopper painted, or the way Willie Pep boxed—with a kind of lyrical understatement.
Sports Illustrated
Vanity Fair
No one will ever produce work of comparable range.
Entertainment Weekly
Selected as the "It Lit Comeback".
Elmore Leonard
Every W.C. Heinz sentence is as clear and cold as an ice cube.
Boston Herald
One of the most respected sportswriters of the 20th century, a peer of Damon Runyon, A. J. Liebling, and Red Smith.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306810435
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1 DA CAPO
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author


W. C. Heinz is the coauthor of Run to Daylight, the best-selling autobiography of Vince Lombardi, and MASH, the novel that later became a successful movie and TV series. Da Capo recently published an omnibus collection of his best sportswriting, What a Time It Was. W. C. Heinz lives in Vermont.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction xiii
"Brownsville Bum" and other Profiles
Brownsville Bum (True, 1951) 3
The Rocky Road of Pistol Pete (True, 1958) 17
The Ghost of the Gridiron (True, 1958) 33
Death of a Racehorse (New York Sun, 1949) 45
Vince Lombardi (Madison, 1995) 49
G.I. Lew (Argosy, 1952) 53
The Greatest, Pound for Pound (from Once They Heard the Cheers) 83
So Long, Jack (from Once They Heard the Cheers) 103
Stan Musial's Last Day (Life, 1963) 135
So Long, Rock (Sport, 1952) 145
The Shy One (from Once They Heard the Cheers) 153
Mash and other Fiction
The Red Riders of the Imjin (from MASH, 1968) 183
Nicholas Braff (from Emergency, 1974) 199
The Head and the Heart (Cosmopolitan, 1948) 215
One Throw (Collier's, 1950) 233
Man's Game (Collier's, 1949) 237
"Beer Drinker" and other Columns
Beer Drinker (New York Sun, 10/7/48) 253
A Different View of Football (New York Sun, 10/20/48) 257
That Was Hoot Mon's Year (New York Sun, 8/7/47) 261
Down Memory Lane with the Babe (New York Sun, 6/14/48) 265
Memories of a Great Jockey (New York Sun, 3/25/47) 269
Football's Muzzled Masses (New York Times, 9/10/89) 273
Six Days to Nowhere (New York Sun, 11/17/48) 277
Why Can't TV Encourage Class Instead of Crass? (TV Guide, 11/7/87) 281
It Was Like a Light Bulb Busted in Your Brain (TV Guide, 11/19/88) 285
Quick, Thomas, a Brick! (TV Guide, 8/21/76) 289
A Tale of Two Pitchers (New York Sun, 4/6/49) 295
Excerpt from Transition (from Once They Heard the Cheers) 299
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    "A Tale of Two Pitchers" is missing from the book

    The Table of Contents for this book published on the B&N website does not match the actual book. The story. "A Tale of Two Pitchers", the only reason I bought the book, is listed in the online ToC but it's not in the book. Very disappointing!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2006

    Master of 12-15 pages -- litttle shaky otherwise

    The 1st of half of this book is some of the most compelling, concise and precise writing I have ever encountered. His 12 to 15 page profiles of athletes, most of whom I could not have cared less about, left me utterly astounded at how much I took in and enjoyed his clean story telling and dry wit. However, the next section was marginal, and his columns section was near terrible. Under 5 pages the man simply cannot finish a complete thought or lead you to a place that compels you to finish it for him. Yet, the profiles section is so stunningly beautiful in its grace and style that it pays twice over for the cost - just stop at page 179!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2002

    The Finest Sports Writer I've Ever Read

    One of the frustrations about reading sports pages today, is that there are very few good writers, and no great ones. Heinz is great. He brings the eye of a thief and the voice of a poet to the bawdy, brawling, slapdash world of sports. The best writing teacher I ever had said, 'Find a piece of writing that is perfect, and memorize it.' It took me a long time to find it, but that piece is included here. It's called 'Death of a Racehorse.' If you love sports, or if you love writing, get this book and read it. (Heinz is one of the few writers to have more than one piece in the 'Best Sports Writing of the 20th Century' edited by David Halberstam.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2001

    What A Writer!

    This is most possibly the greatest collection of writing ever. Bill Heinz is a pioneer who started the era of New Journalism (away with all the touchy-touchy writing). As a large fan of Hemingway, I must say that Bill Heinz puts Hemingway on the bottom of my bookshelf. His first novel, The Professional, is a masterpiece of sports fiction and was highly acclaimed by Mr. Hemingway himself. Even though Heinz never received the acclaim of Red Smith or A.J. Liebling, Heinz deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest journalist's alive, if not ever. The collections of stories in this book, especially that of Pete Reiser, a Brooklyn baseball player that was robbed of a hall of fame career in center field because of injuries (and the outfield wall), are some of the most magnificent writing you will see in your lifetime. Containing the same prose style that Hemingway was made famous for, Heinz was praised by some of the greatest writers in any business. This book includes excerpts from his book MASH, as well as other fiction stories. Maybe it's the fiction style he brings to non-fiction writing but whatever it is that makes Bill Heinze so great, I wish I could write like he does. Just like the people he covers, Heinz posses' a talent spectators could only dream for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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