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The Last Sure Thing" is a Page Turner

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

  

"The Last Sure Thing" by Tom LeCompte (Skunkworks Publishing, $29.95, 471 pages) is all about the life and times of Bobby Riggs, the "Bad Boy of Tennis" long before Connors, Jimmy and McEnroe, John made any  waves, let alone ripples. Just in time for reading during the lulls at the U.S. Open or for dipping into before bedtime - this is a book about an All American huckster - with talent.

Author Tom LeCompte, writing his first book - - deftly, doggedly and determinedly goes about profiling  - warts and all - the man who once claimed his epitaph could be "He Put Women on the Map." That was a not so kind reference to his one on one versus Billie Jean King in the "Battle of the Sexes" challenge in 1973. It was the most watched match in history - 90 million globally on TV, 30,000 inside the Astrodome in Houston.

"The Last Sure Thing" is a page turner. Whether you are a fan of sports, or just tennis, or American culture - this is a tome for you to place on a special spot on your bookshelf.

Don Van Natta, an investigative correspondent for The New York Times, had a terrific idea for a book: "First Off the Tee" (Public Affairs, $26.00, 355 pages). Fourteen of the last seventeen presidents have been golfers - and Van Natta covers all the bases in his breezy account of presidential hackers, duffers and cheaters from Taft to Bush. For those into that sort of thing you can actually accompany the author on a round of golf he played with Bill Clinton.  There is much about the father and son Bushes - how their golfing links experience links them.

All kinds of tidbits about presidents/golf are revealed: John F. Kennedy played golf on the sly not wanting criticism or comparisons to Dwight Eisenhower who seemed obsessed by the sport. Woodrow Wilson's physician informed the president he that he needed exercise - so the president golfed away. FDR had a true love affair with the game and even lugged along his clubs when he was a student at Harvard. The polio he contracted, sadly, ended his playing days.

"First Off the Tee" is a memorable book, an entertaining and insightful look at why the game of golf is so appealing to presidents and how their playing  reveals so much about their characters.

"The New Yorker Book of Golf Cartoons" (Bloomberg Press, $21.95
128 pages) is a hole in one for fans of the sport and fans of "New Yorker" cartoons. All elements of the game - the joys and frustrations, the golfers and the golf widows, the pros, duffers, onlookers - all get ribald, entertaining and  reverential treatment.  


 

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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.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
on Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US
on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

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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