Synopses & Reviews
andlt;iandgt;Pistolandlt;/iandgt; is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dreamand#8212;and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Peteand#8212;a basketball icon for baby boomersand#8212;all the Maraviches paid a price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family: its rise, its apparent ruin, and, finally, its redemption.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid with the floppy socks and shaggy hair. And all these years later, no one else ever has. The idea of Pistol Pete continues to resonate with young people today just as powerfully as it did with their fathers.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In averaging 44.2 points a game at Louisiana State University, he established records that will never be broken. But even more enduring than the numbers was the sense of ecstasy and artistry with which he played. With the ball in his hands, Maravich had a singular power to inspire awe, inflict embarrassment, or even tell a joke.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;But he wasn't merely a mesmerizing showman. He was basketball's answer to Elvis, a white Southerner who sold Middle America on a black man's game. Like Elvis, he paid a terrible price, becoming a prisoner of his own fame.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Set largely in the South, Kriegel's andlt;iandgt;Pistol,andlt;/iandgt; a tale of obsession and basketball, fathers and sons, merges several archetypal characters. Maravich was a child prodigy, a prodigal son, his father's ransom in a Faustian bargain, and a Great White Hope. But he was also a creature of contradictions: always the outsider but a virtuoso in a team sport, an exuberant showman who wouldn't look you in the eye, a vegetarian boozer, an athlete who lived like a rock star, a suicidal genius saved by Jesus Christ.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;A renowned biographerandlt;iandgt;and#8212;Peopleandlt;/iandgt; magazine called him and#8220;a masterand#8221;and#8212;Kriegel renders his subject with a style that is, by turns, heartbreaking, lyrical, and electric.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The narrative begins in 1929, the year a missionary gave Pete's father a basketball. Press Maravich had been a neglected child trapped in a hellish industrial town, but the game enabled him to blossom. It also caused him to confuse basketball with salvation. The intensity of Press's obsession initiates a journey across three generations of Maraviches. Pistol Pete, a ballplayer unlike any other, was a product of his father's vanity and vision. But that dream continues to exact a price on Pete's own sons. Now in their twentiesand#8212;and fatherless for most of their livesand#8212;they have waged their own struggles with the game and its ghosts.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;iandgt;Pistolandlt;/iandgt; is an unforgettable biography. By telling one family's history, Kriegel has traced the history of the game and a large slice of the American narrative.
"This is the best sports book I've read in years. The research, the writing, the pace -- it's All-Pro material."
-- Terry Pluto, The Akron Beacon Journal
"Mark Kriegel has written the sport's bio equivalent of Maravich on a fast break: dazzling and smart, and, even at 381 pages, over before you knew it." andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; -- andlt;iandgt;The Wall Street Journalandlt;/iandgt;
is not just a biography of a transcendent, doomed athlete; it is a mesmerizing tale of a striving, grasping American family as dramatic as myth, of a father and son as intertwined as Daedalus and Icarus. Kriegel has written the rarest of sports books: a fast-paced, through-the-night page-turner. This isn't a slam dunk, it's a tomahawk glass-shatterer. Pistol
is nothing but sensational."
-- Rick Telander, author of Heaven Is a Playground and senior sports columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
"A remarkable book that is the best researched biography yet of this revolutionary basketball player."
-- The Raleigh News and Observer
"Like the best journalists, Kriegel has the ability to get out of the way and let a good story tell itself." -- The Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Pistol is a beautifully written book that captures the soul and inner turmoil of this son and father."-- The Tennessean
Pistol is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dream -- and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Pete -- a basketball icon for baby boomers -- all the Maraviches paid a
From an award-winning New York Times sports columnist, the definitive biography of one of baseball's most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresand#8212;legendary manager and baseball genius, Billy Martin
and#160;and#160;The definitive biography of one of baseballandrsquo;s most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresand#160;
Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the clutch second baseman for the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s. He then spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues, and is considered by anyone who knows baseball to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet heandrsquo;s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt on umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five times, and for his rabble rousing and public brawls. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, and controversial, yet beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself. He knew how to turn around a losing team like no one elseandmdash;and how to entertain us every step of the way.
Now, with his definitive biography Billy Martin, Pennington finally erases the caricature of Martin. Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, and countless adversaries, Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his shantytown upbringing in a broken home; to his days playing for the Yankees when he almost always helped his team find a way to win; through sixteen years of managing, including his tenure in New York in the crosshairs of Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter egoandmdash;or some combination of all threeandmdash;for his short sixty-one years among us.and#160;and#160;
About the Author
BILL PENNINGTON is a reporter for The New York Times who writes about a variety of sports. A former syndicated columnist, Pennington was a beat writer who covered the New York Yankees from 1985 to 1990. A 14-time finalist and six-time winner of the Associated Press Sports Editors annual writing award, Pennington lives with his family in Warwick, N.Y. This is his fourth book.
Table of Contents
One: Special Opportunity
Two: Mr. Basketball
Three: Pro Ball
Four: The Cult of Press
Five: Country Gentlemen
Six: The Basketball Gene
Seven: The Devil in Ronnie Montini
Eight: "Pistol Pete"
Nine: Changing the Game
Ten: The Deep End
Eleven: King of the Cow Palace
Thirteen: One of Us
Fourteen: Marked Man
Fifteen: The Blackhawks
Sixteen: The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Pete
Seventeen: Take Me
Nineteen: All That Jazz
Twenty: The Loser
Twenty-One: Take Me, Part 2
Twenty-Two: Amazing Grace