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The Games Do Count

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

  

Every once in a while a book comes along that makes me say: "Why didn't I think of that?"

Such is the case with "The Games Do Count" by Brian Kilmeade (HarperCollins/Regan Books, $24,95, 326 pages). Kilmeade, co-host of cable's "Fox & Friends" and one who has reported on sports for two decades, has assembled an all star lineup ranging from Tony Danza through Gray Davis to John Irving and Ron Shelton including Henry Kissinger and former presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush and about sixty more.

The result is an interesting, entertaining and sometimes enlightening read. We are there with Kissinger on an all-Jewish soccer team in Nazi Germany, there with TV personality Hannah Storm, involved with sports virtually her entire life, there with Tony Danza as sports helped him seize the role of Tony Banta in "Taxi."

"Archival" early day photos of those Kilmeade  calls "America's Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports" add a wonderful visual element to the book. For browsing, for gift giving, for keeping -  "The Games Do Count"  is a book that counts.
"THE FIFA 100"  authored by Pelé, one of the greatest soccer players of all time (Abrams,  216 pages) celebrates the centenary of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of international professional soccer. Some of the leading sports photographers serve up portraits that are revealing and just terrific to spend time studying. If you are or know some one who is a soccer/football fan - this is a holiday gift  that scores.

"Confidence"  by Rosabeth Moss Kanter(  Crown, $27.50, 402 pages) is a stimulating intellectual and well researched look at how confidence can improve life and why there are winners and why there are losers. Kanter, a professor at Harvard Business School,puts forward a well reasoned treatise.  Jammed with all kinds of interesting facts and factoids from business, sports, education, and government, "Confidence" relies on hundreds of interviews and a national survey of over 1,000 companies as it puts forth the in depth explanation of why some always succeed and others fail.
 
Another professorial/author offering and an interesting bit of intellectualizing about the nature of winning, losing, watching games people play and why this is done is "The Meaning of Sports" by Michael Mandelbaum (Public Affairs,  $26.00, 332 pages). The John Hopkins professor offers stimulating arguments and fascinating anecdotes about teams and icons and their historical significance and place in the culture at large among other things.

Another entry in this series and highly recommended for fans of the Wrigley field guys is "Cubs Where Have You Gone?" by Fred Mitchell (Sports Publishing, $24.95, 249 pages). The book follows the familiar formula - career capsules and musings and after life. In this case subjects include such as Andy Pafko, Ernie Banks, Larry Bowa, etc.

"ESPN25" by Charles Hirshberg (Hyperion, $25.00, 141 pages) is a book  as lively as the cultural phenomenon it celebrates - with a sports highlight (at least on every page) and visuals, visuals, visuals. If you watch it - buy the book.

Two expensive but attractively formatted New York Yankee book are "Players in Pinstripes" ($21.95, 127 pages) and "The Greatest Yankee Teams" ($21.95, 127 pages) - both by the packager Rare Air Ltd and edited by Mark Vancil and Mark Mandrake. There is really nothing new in either book, and they are pricey for such skimpy tomes.

Two baseball books with very specific approches are "Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia" by Joseph Reaves (University of Nebraksa Press, ($16.95, 208 pages, paper) and "El Beisbol: The Pleasures  and Passions of the Latin American Game" " by John Krich (Ivan R. Dee, $16.95, 272 pages).

HIGHLY NOTABLE: "The Big Horse" by Joe McGinniss (Simon and Schuster, $22.95, 261 pages) is without apologies to "Seabiscuit  a book that draws McGinnis back to the sport he loves after a quarter century. Essentially, the author's sparkling narrative focuses on the story of the racing season of 2003 and trainer P. G. Johnson, a legend in the world of horse racing. The book is a labor of love and love of a book, one to read cover to cover in one sitting.

 

 

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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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