RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksAny teacher or coach who’s dealt with a problem child — which is to say all of them — will tell you that once you meet the parents, you understand why the kid’s the way he is. That’s the dark thread running through Tiger Woods, the exhaustively researched saga of the meteoric rise and Shakespearean fall from grace of the greatest golfer of our time ... But as unsparing as they are in chronicling their flawed hero’s shortcomings and peccadillos, Benedict and Keteyian spend the final pages of Tiger Woods looking for signs of redemption — or, at the very least, a path to more trophies — in recent glimpses of a new (or newly chastened) Tiger who smiles more often and no longer cows would-be rivals and sportswriters with the death stare he learned as a teenager.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of BooksThe early chapters of Knowing the Score veer toward the natural sciences (how is a major-league hitter able to react to a 100-mph fastball in the blink of an eye?) and psychology (what causes an aging golfer or over-thinking second basemen to choke, or develop a paralyzing case of the yips?). Happily, Papineau moves on to ever-richer ground, from which forms of gamesmanship are tolerable in a civil society, to the shades of difference between bending the rules and immoral behavior; and on to the thespians masquerading as soccer players, who act out near-death experiences for the benefit of gullible referees ... n more than a few cases, sport serves merely as an avenue to heady discussions on race, ethics, or spacetime worms. (No, we’re not talking about an alien invasion.) But in the hands of a logician like Papineau, it’s all part of the (mostly) high-minded fun. There’s something here for anyone who’s ever stared down a six-foot putt to win a two-dollar Nassau, or wondered about the men who do it every Sunday on the pro tour, with millions riding on every stroke.
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review of Books...if the end-product is occasionally as dry as old newspaper clippings? No worries. Durocher’s life — feuding with opponents, teammates, writers, and commissioners; baiting umpires; punching mouthy fans; running with gamblers and gangsters, and the Hollywood stars who played them in the movies; burning his way through four marriages, including one to actress Larraine Day — is colorful enough for any three novels ... As Time magazine pointed out at the time, by lowering the boom without tangible cause, [Happy] Chandler had accomplished the seemingly impossible: turning Durocher into a sympathetic character. To his credit, Dickson doesn’t.