Arthur Ashe: A Life

Arthur Ashe: A Life

by Raymond Arsenault


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A “thoroughly captivating biography” (The San Francisco Chronicle) of American icon Arthur Ashe—the Jackie Robinson of men’s tennis—a pioneering athlete who, after breaking the color barrier, went on to become an influential civil rights activist and public intellectual.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1943, by the age of eleven, Arthur Ashe was one of the state’s most talented black tennis players. He became the first African American to play for the US Davis Cup team in 1963, and two years later he won the NCAA singles championship. In 1968, he rose to a number one national ranking. Turning professional in 1969, he soon became one of the world’s most successful tennis stars, winning the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975. After retiring in 1980, he served four years as the US Davis Cup captain and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.

In this “deep, detailed, thoughtful chronicle” (The New York Times Book Review), Raymond Arsenault chronicles Ashe’s rise to stardom on the court. But much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, writer, businessman, and celebrity. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ashe gained renown as an advocate for sportsmanship, education, racial equality, and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa. But from 1979 on, he was forced to deal with a serious heart condition that led to multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, one of which left him HIV-positive. After devoting the last ten months of his life to AIDS activism, Ashe died in February 1993 at the age of forty-nine, leaving an inspiring legacy of dignity, integrity, and active citizenship.

Based on prodigious research, including more than one hundred interviews, Arthur Ashe puts Ashe in the context of both his time and the long struggle of African-American athletes seeking equal opportunity and respect, and “will serve as the standard work on Ashe for some time” (Library Journal, starred review).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439189054
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Pages: 784
Sales rank: 269,825
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. One of the nation’s leading civil rights historians, he is the author of several acclaimed and prize-winning books, including Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice and The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert That Awakened America.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Prologue 1

1 Under the Dominion 5

2 Playing in the Shadows 19

3 Dr. J and the Lynchburg Boys 34

4 The Only Raisin in a Rice Pudding 51

5 The Gateway 66

6 The Golden Land 83

7 Traveling Man 111

8 From Dixie to Down Under 139

9 Advantage Ashe 160

10 Openings 194

11 Mr. Cool 228

12 Racket Man 257

13 Doubling Down 278

14 Risky Business 295

15 South Africa 320

16 Pros and Cons 347

17 Wimbledon 1975 371

18 King Arthur 387

19 Affairs of the Heart 411

20 Coming Back 433

21 Off the Court 446

22 Captain Ashe 467

23 Blood Lines 493

24 Hard Road to Glory 515

25 Days of Grace 542

26 Final Set 574

Epilogue: Shadow's End 606

Acknowledgments 631

Arthur Ashe's Tennis Statistics 641

Note on Archival Sources and Interviews 647

Notes 653

Photo Credits 725

Index 727

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