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MARION JONES and Other Sensational Reads

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Marion Jones is a name in the news. The fastest woman on earth has had to field charges and counter-charges as regards her involvement with drugs and there is also the issue of the BALCO steroid investigation. A lightning rod, it seems, on and off the athletic field, Marion Jones cannot shun the spotlight. Now we have what is called her "Illustrated Autobiography."

Marion Jones: Life in the Fast Lane - by Marion Jones, Kate Sekules, Dante Ambrosio (Editor) (Time Warner,  $24.95, 224 pages) goes to the high ground in words and captivating photographs.

There are insights into this very exciting athlete's life -how she has struggled all her life with the issue of her father's abandonment, her thoughts on how and why there has been such an explosion in women's athletics during the past ten years or so, all kinds of  track issues, serious athletic commitment.  The first woman to collect five track and field medals in one Olympics, 

For fans of Marion, for fans of track and field, for all those interested in complex self portraits -  Marion Jones: Life in the Fast Lane - is for you.

"Bringing Yoga to Life" by Donna Farhi (Harper San Francisco, $21.95, 250 pages) is a true guide book for using yoga to shape your life. A respected teacher with a couple of decades of experience, Farhi in clear prose explains the role of yoga in everyday life.

"Wry Stories on the Road Hole" by Sidney L Matthew (Sleeping Bear Press, $22.00, 141 pages) is a winning but high priced look at the 17th hole at St. Andrews.
With the NCAA hoops hoopla now well behind all of us for the moment, there's an interesting book out there that almost functions as an exclamation point.  "Heroes" by David Shields (University of Nebraska Press, $16.95, 335 pages) is an absorbing novel about college basketball. And from the same publisher - there is "They Cleared the Lane by Ron Thomas ($14.95, 276 pages, paper) - focused on the first NBA black players like Bill Russell, Maurice Stokes, etc. There is a very useful chronology and a nice chapter on the trail blazing legacy of Jackie Robinson.

"Caddy For Life - The Bruce Edwards Story"  by John Feinstein
(Little Brown, $25.95, 300 pages  400 pages) is a very moving, bittersweet and unusual book about Tom Watson's lifelong (30 or so years) caddy.

"Pipe Dreams" by Kelly Slater with Jason Borte   ($24.95, 338 pages) Reagan Books/HarperCollins is a book for dreamers and especially those interested in the wide world of pro surfing. Six time world champion Kelly Slater (from Florida no less) takes us front stage and back stage in the wet and wild World Tour of Surfing. The result is an enchanting tale of a kid who came from Cocoa Beach to become king of the hill on thundering walls of water all over the surfing map.  

"Bud Sweat and Tears" by Alan Shipnuck (Simon and Schuster, $24.00, 288 pages) is an irreverent look or as its sub-tile proclaims: "a walk on the wild side of the PGA Tour."

"Thoroughbred Racing's Greatest Day" by Perry Lefko (Taylor, $34.95, 375 pages) is a book that was originally published in 1996. Now in this update the sportswriter for the Toronto Star covers all the bases in this brisk and interesting race. Up close and personal look at superstar trainers jockeys, owners and other personalities form just one layer of this book that will appeal to fans of thoroughbreds.    "All the Sundays Yet to Come" is one of the more intriguing book titles in quite a while. It is appropriate for Kathryn Bertine's (Little Brown, $23.95, 304 pages) memoir about the razzle and dazzle of professional ice skating.  Her account of her trek through the back roads of Argentina and Chile in a broken down bus with the cast of "Hollywood on Ice" is alone worth the price of the book. For fans of ice skating, for those who love a compelling tale - "All the Sundays Yet to Come" is highly recommended.

David Thompson was one of the more interesting basketball players of his time - he was named to the NCAA's All Decade Team of the 1970s. He was the first pick of the NBA Draft and ABA Draft in 1975.  In 1978, he inked the biggest contract in NBA history. His athleticism, his ability to seemingly hang suspended in air, earned him the nick-name "Skywalker."  "David Thompson: Skywalker" by its subject along with Sean Stormes and Marshall Terrill (Sports Publishing, $22.95, 279 pages)  chronicles  Thompson's ups and also his downs - alcohol and cocaine abuse. 

"The Second Mark" by Joy Goodwin (Simon and Schuster, $25.00, 333 pages) is a look inside the most publicized scandal in Olympic history. This is an important book that provides many new insights into the need for reforms in the world of Olympic sports. On the night of February 11, 2002, the Russians edged out the Canadians for the pairs' gold in figure skating - -on the vote of a single judge. Later  that French judge confessed to voting under  pressure. This triggered much debate and controversy and led to the Canadians being rewarded with a duplicate gold medal. This is the first book for Joy Goodwin, who has covered figure skating for ABC Sports since 1999. It is a most successful, probing debut.

"NBA'S GREATEST" (DK Publishing, $30.00, 160 pages) is one of those coffee table books one actually wants to keep on the coffee table. Black and white, archival and full color photos adorn the book's pages which are short on text. But if NBA hoops is your thing - so is  "NBA'S GREATEST" which covers a lot of ground in sections on greatest players, duels, teams and coaches and moments.  

Now in paperback, "Sex, Lies and Headlocks," by Shaun Asand Mike Mooneham (Three Rivers Press, $12.95, 266 pages) is all about Vince McMahon and the rise of the sports of wrestling to its status as billion dollar entertainment. 


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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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