The Best American Sports Writing of the Century
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The Best American Sports Writing of the Century (Best American Sports Writing)

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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  177 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review: "The front page chronicles man's defeats. The sports page chronicles man's triumphs." So the adage goes, never more true than when surveying 100 years of American history through its coverage of sports. From Bobby Knight to Bobby Fischer, from Secretariat to Sugar Ray, from Butkus to the Babe, the 20th century abounds with classic figures in...more
Paperback, 776 pages
Published June 16th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published May 27th 1999)
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Paul Schulzetenberg
I know what you’re thinking: “Best American what? Good sports writing is an oxymoron.” Mostly, that’s true. Sports journalism is, by and large, awful, as anybody who has tried to watch Sportscenter for more than 30 minutes or leafed through The Sporting News can attest.

But The Best American Sports Writing of the Century is a ponderous tome. More than 1200 pages long, and most of it is good. Of course, much of it doesn’t feel like traditional sports writing, which is kind of the point. This is th...more
Eric
Jan 21, 2012 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like sports and read playboy for the articles
Shelves: other
Time casts a foggy hue on all people and events. Though primary sources may lack the perspective that only the passage of time can imbue, too much perspective can throw a shadow across the true meaning of events for the people that experienced them. If you want to understand what an event meant when it happened, you can't rely on what a distant, cloistered history tells you.

This collection is fantastic. Mostly focused on biography, it features many marvelous writers, sports writers, but writers...more
Oliver Hodson
A brilliant book, and whatever they left out, this was a well composed and complete edition. It had nice touches, like the ali section and the smart arrangement of the pirces throughout. Testifying to the sad fact that elite mental and emotional health aren't always bedfellows with elite sport, but also to the great drama and possibility of sport, it was a great collectikn, and a great read.
Jason Smith
A great collection of short works by some of the best writers of the century, whether cut from the journalist's or novelist's cloth. Many of these pieces were jumping off points for long-form explorations of their subjects, Mailer's The Fight, Stump's excellent biography Cobb, Krakauer's Into the Wild, etc.

One glaring omission from this omnibus collection, made all the more obvious by the name of the author in question plastered across the cover, is the work of David Halberstam. Perhaps it was e...more
Charles
Worth it alone for the story on DiMaggio, and Hunter S. Thompson's "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent And Deparaved."

Edit: Still reading this bohemoth. Would also add the piece on Ty Cobb in the "worth it alone for..." category.

If you can appreciate the sort of dry prose of print media writing from the 40s through the 70s...you'll really enjoy this collection. Writing/reporting of this sort scarcely exists today.
Maya
This is a pretty broad look at good sports writing, which is what it promises. It goes without saying, "best" is subjective. Some stories are not as gripping as others, and this will depend on the reader. By contrast, I am now also reading a compilation of best baseball writing- this is obviously a more focused exploration, and because of my affinity for baseball is more often hitting the mark.
Ben
Whether or not you are a sports fan, this anthology contains some of the finest examples of Twentieth Century journalism. Although many are seemingly about sports, when you peel the layers away, the consistent theme is the triumphs and defeats of the human spirit. The piece on Bobby Fischer is a marvelous example of the kind of journalism that seems to have been driven out by Fox News.
Candy
Phenomenal. It was like getting to sit in on a writing clinic by the best of the best. Some you would have expected (Roger Angell on baseball); some not so much (Tom Wolfe on NASCAR?! -- and it was brilliant!).

For a kid who decided when she was 9 years old that she wanted to be a sportswriter, this was a treat and quite possibly the best Christmas present ever. :-)
Dan
Some amazing pieces on great athletes and sporting moments over the last 100 years. Some Enlightening (Ali, DiMaggio) Some Heartwarming (Secratariat) and even some Zany (Thompson on the Derby). Being a young man, I missed most of these great people/moments in history - but the tales live on and are captured through excellent writing. Highly recommend!
Michael
Glorious, lives up to the title! Smashed my highest expectations with definitive pieces that put so much Internet journalism to shame. On my short list of books for a desert island or a new civilization. What can I say? The raw heart of victory and defeat, fate and chance, strength, sweat, brilliance, blood, and folly beats steady in these pages.
Kevin
this is a must for every book shelf. The title is exact: these are the best sports stories and columns of the century. Award winning stuff here. A great book to pick up whenever you have fifteen minutes to spare and want to indulge terrific writing
Charlie
The best single-volume collection of American sportswriting, with a mix of old and new, long and short, serious and playful pieces.
Joe C
Some real gems in here - especially the Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio stories (which are also available online).
James
May 08, 2007 James is currently reading it
This is a pretty fun book so far. I've only read a couple of the essays so far, but the Joe DiMaggio one is great.
CUNYGSJRESEARCH
Jul 01, 2010 CUNYGSJRESEARCH marked it as to-read
Please check the display cases/shelves in the collection
Mark
Read Basketball section. Great sports writing.
Chris
an entire anthology of what i want to become.
Erin Geismar
... and I don't even enjoy sports.
Matthew Kreisher
Apr 14, 2010 Matthew Kreisher is currently reading it
Amazing sports articles
Jim G
Great Book !!!
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42850
David Halberstam (April 10, 1934–April 23, 2007) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War and his later sports journalism.

Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, writing for...more
More about David Halberstam...
The Best and the Brightest Summer of '49 The Breaks of the Game The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship

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