Ford The Best American Sports Writing

ISBN 13: 9780395930564

The Best American Sports Writing

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9780395930564: The Best American Sports Writing
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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford pulls together the finest sports writing of the past year, featuring contributions by such celebrated writers as David Remnick and David Halberstam.

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A couple of years ago, Richard Ford himself was included in this annual anthology with a personal--and funny--meditation on hunting with his wife. It's no surprise, then, that Ford, one of America's finest novelists, (The Sportswriter), would turn to David Mamet, one of America's finest screenwriters and playwrights, (Glengarry Glen Ross), to anchor his superlative collection of the year's best with a very personal and funny meditation on a deer-hunting trip in Vermont to mark his 50th birthday. "As a hunter, of course, I am a fraud," Mamet admits without much prodding; as an observer of the macho milieu, however, he hits the bullseye: "To hunt deer in thick woods in a snowstorm is one of the most beautiful, happiest, things that I know. I was enjoying it so much," he confesses, "that I missed the deer," which were passing in front of him, a mere 20 yards away.

If Mamet missed his deer, Ford misses nothing, bagging trophy pieces on Ali (by David Remnick), Michael Jordan's finale (by David Halberstam), a Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo (by John McPhee), the end of Cal Ripkin's streak (by Thomas Boswell), bowling (by Steve Friedman), pool (by J.D. Dolan) and women's pick-up hoops (by Melissa King).

Tradition-- and seven decades of good craftsmanship--brings Shirley Povich's final Washington Post column into Ford's sights, as well.

"There's just something in the American sensibility that values joining the often primal yet contrived acts of sport to the intensities and suave logics of well-made prose," writes Ford in his kick-off to the volume. "It seems to free us... Plus reading sports may be the only reading for pleasure most Americans ever do." The Best American Sportswriting 1999 certainly adds to that. --Jeff Silverman

Review:

"Through various incarnations, several "Best of" sportswriting collections have effectively mirrored the major sporting events of much of the American century. The present series' latest volume presents some of last year's expected characters (the heroic face-off between McGuire and Sosa), but what makes this anthology so interesting is the coverage given to nonspectator and minor sports by this year's guest editor, novelist Ford. In addition to the expected baseball and football pieces, there are a number of stories on hunting and fishing and an editorial leaning toward remaking spectating when it comes to sports. The contributors include John McPhee, Adam Gopnik, David Mamet, and Jonathan Miles. In the early days of sportswriting collections, many, if not all, of the selections were drawn from daily newspapers. The changing face of journalism is evident in this collection as only three of the 17 stories came from the daily press. There is one constant, however. Shirley Povich, a Washington Post sports writer and editor who began in the 1920s, had on of his stories selected from the work of the last year of his life. With a memorable introductory essay by Ford, this anthology is recommended for sports collection in school and public libraries" -- William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA Library Journal

"Articles from The New Yorker, GQ, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and other noted publications, chronicling every major (and some minor) sport, fill the pages of this very worthwhile collection. Roger Angell reports on baseball; Frank Deford investigates women's tennis; Karen Karbo spends a day with an all-female crew in pursuit of the America's Cup. The range is wide, and the writing is, as the cover says, the best." Amazon.com

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