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1 Burnside Sports and Fitness- Basketball General

The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives

by

The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jack O'Brien is a high school basketball coach extreme in both his demands and his devotion. With monastic discipline, he has built a powerhouse program that wins state championships year after year while helping boys rise above the neighborhood forces pulling them down, and get to college. He does this as a white suburban guy working exclusively with black city boys who make the daily trek across Boston to attend Charlestown High School, where the last battles of the city's school desegregation wars were fought a generation ago.

The Assist is a gripping, surprising story about fathers, sons, and surrogates, all confronting the narrow margins of urban life. At its center are the interwoven lives of O'Brien and two of his stars, easygoing Ridley Johnson and fierce Jason "Hood" White.

The book follows Ridley and Hood on their hunt for a state title. But it also stays with them, to see how young men who seldom get second chances survive without their coach hovering over them — and how he survives without them.

A minister friend once said O'Brien does the Lord's work "filling the space in these boys' lives." But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Review:

"In this engaging book about Boston's Charlestown High School basketball team, Swidey, a staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine, explains that '[b]eing part of the Charlestown program was no guarantee that a kid would become a success.... But dropping out of the program dramatically increased the odds that he wouldn't.' Head coach Jack O'Brien benefited from the team aside from its gaudy won-loss record. Unmarried and with a shattered family history, O'Brien found that the 'rigid team structure... offer[ed] the trappings of home.' Like a concerned parent, O'Brien worked year-round to keep his kids away from the overwhelming daily wave of crime and bad influences and into the security of a college-educated future. Swidey masterfully shows over the course of two seasons the struggle O'Brien and his players face in maintaining success on and off the court. The coach observes the lives of his two star players, Ridley Johnson and Jason 'Hood' White, go in very different directions after they land out-of-state college scholarships. Swidey expertly examines the slippery slope of Charlestown's success, tying it into Boston's disastrous busing scandal and an underwhelming legal system that perpetuates crime, while he builds narrative momentum and details his subjects with the touch of a skilled novelist. This is a prodigiously reported, compulsively readable book that readers (sport fans or not) will savor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"As heroic as O'Brien is in transforming his young men into champions, Swidey shows him to be all too human in his failings. Like Hoop Dreams, this captivating account transcends its time and place." Booklist

Review:

"A noble debut with its heart in the right place." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a riveting portrait of a driven basketball coach at an iconic high school and of his players, each struggling to rise above the many forces pulling them down.

Synopsis:

Hoop Dreams meets Common Ground in this riveting portrait of a driven basketball coach at an iconic high school, and of his players, each struggling to rise above the many forces pulling them down

Synopsis:

Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program--poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America--managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country--a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground, It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.

Synopsis:

Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program—poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America—managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country—a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground. It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.

About the Author

Neil Swidey is a staff writer for The Boston Globe Magazine. His writing has won the National Headliner Award and has been anthologized in The Best American Science Writing and The Best American Crime Writing. He lives outside Boston with his wife and their three daughters.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781586484699
Subtitle:
Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives
Author:
Swidey, Neil
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Subject:
Motivational & Inspirational
Subject:
Basketball
Subject:
General
Subject:
Motivational
Subject:
Charlestown High School (Boston, Mass.) -
Subject:
O'Brien, Jack
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20080108
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
376
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in 23 oz

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Related Subjects

» Biography » General
» Biography » Sports
» Education » General
» Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
» History and Social Science » World History » General
» Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Basketball » General

The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 376 pages PublicAffairs - English 9781586484699 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this engaging book about Boston's Charlestown High School basketball team, Swidey, a staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine, explains that '[b]eing part of the Charlestown program was no guarantee that a kid would become a success.... But dropping out of the program dramatically increased the odds that he wouldn't.' Head coach Jack O'Brien benefited from the team aside from its gaudy won-loss record. Unmarried and with a shattered family history, O'Brien found that the 'rigid team structure... offer[ed] the trappings of home.' Like a concerned parent, O'Brien worked year-round to keep his kids away from the overwhelming daily wave of crime and bad influences and into the security of a college-educated future. Swidey masterfully shows over the course of two seasons the struggle O'Brien and his players face in maintaining success on and off the court. The coach observes the lives of his two star players, Ridley Johnson and Jason 'Hood' White, go in very different directions after they land out-of-state college scholarships. Swidey expertly examines the slippery slope of Charlestown's success, tying it into Boston's disastrous busing scandal and an underwhelming legal system that perpetuates crime, while he builds narrative momentum and details his subjects with the touch of a skilled novelist. This is a prodigiously reported, compulsively readable book that readers (sport fans or not) will savor." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "As heroic as O'Brien is in transforming his young men into champions, Swidey shows him to be all too human in his failings. Like Hoop Dreams, this captivating account transcends its time and place."
"Review" by , "A noble debut with its heart in the right place."
"Synopsis" by , Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a riveting portrait of a driven basketball coach at an iconic high school and of his players, each struggling to rise above the many forces pulling them down.
"Synopsis" by ,
Hoop Dreams meets Common Ground in this riveting portrait of a driven basketball coach at an iconic high school, and of his players, each struggling to rise above the many forces pulling them down
"Synopsis" by , Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program--poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America--managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country--a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground, It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.

"Synopsis" by ,
Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program—poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America—managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him.

Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country—a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground. It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.

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