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Everything They Had: Sports Writing
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Everything They Had: Sports Writing

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  29 reviews
"Sometimes sports mirrors society, sometimes it allows us to understand the larger society a little better. But mostly, it is a world of entertainment of talented and driven young men and women who do certain things with both skill and passion."
--David Halberstam David Halberstam was a distinguished journalist and historian of American politics. He was also a sports writer
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Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Hachette Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 320)
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Chuck
There are some great stories in this collection, but also a few bad selections that probably would not have been re-published if Halberstam were still alive. He was also more of an insidery New York magazine guy than I realized, which was disappointing. I suppose this is a good book for anyone who wants to know what it was like to eat steak sandwiches and watch the Jets with Gay Talese.
Joe
I am a huge fan of Halberstam, especially his sports writing, but this book really disappointed me. After reading his larger opus, I saw all the repetition in his writing -- the jokes, the anecdotes, etc. -- primarily in his baseball writing, some of which were almost repeated word for word. I wanted to be blown away, and I was just mildly impressed.
William Johnson
I love David Halberstam but while I love his focused works in book form, I tend to find his shorter works, which happen to be a bit more personal, a bit dissapointing. I like the writING of David Halberstam but, as I discovered by reading Everything They Had, I might not necessarily like the writER.

I've only heard good things about him, don't get me wrong, but Halberstam, as many other reviews on this site have pointed out, has a sort of snobby nature to him which comes with the territory he was
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Cheryl Gatling
A funny thing happened while I was reading this book. I was reading a book of poems at the same time. Several times I set down the poetry, and picked up the Halberstam, and the transition seemed seamless. Halberstam's sentences were rhythmic, complex, vivid. It felt like I was still reading poetry. Almost. So, #1 thing I liked about the book: Halberstam writes beautifully. #2: He has a rare and refreshing broad view of sports. He loves sports (baseball, basketball, football, boxing, fencing, hoc ...more
Scott Johnson
If you are a fan of David Halberstam’s writing, you’ll enjoy this book. Though he has written a lot, mostly on politics, this was my first exposure to this author. I appreciated his thoughtfulness and clear writing style.

I gave the book three stars for some of the better pieces in it, including “The Education of Reggie Smith” and “The Basket-State Case.” However, I found the collection as a whole was too heavily saturated with Halberstam’s personal reflections on sports, his boyhood memories (a
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Tommy Estlund
I love this author. I had the opportunity to meet/have dinner with him back in college and ever since then I have read everything by him that I can. His sports books are particularly good when you consider that I don't even like sports all that much, but I'm fascinated by his writing style and his ability to make the nuance and artfulness of sports come to life. I'm looking forward to this one.

Having now finished this book, it is clear to me why I return--time and time again--to a topic that, a
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Patdmac7
Sports are important because they matter to people.

... arrogance of power...

Memory is often less about truth than about what we want it to be. 126

Athletic maturity: sheer ability and willingness to accept responsibility.

Torre/Steinbrenner: difference between tough and strong

...ferocious, aggressive intelligence ...

Oscar Robertson: His game was never fancy. In fact, some people compained that it was almost machinelike, as free from mistakes as it was of excess. It was as if Oscar and had reduced
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John Orman
Halberstam was a prize-winning journalist and historian for many years, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his Vietnam reporting. He was killed in 2007 in a car accident while on his way to interview Y.A. Tittle for his book about football in the early NFL.

So one other thing at which Halberstam excels is sports writing, as displayed in this book.

A meeting with baseball great Ted Williams in "My Dinner With Theodore". Stories about hard-hitting football intermingle with reflections on fly fishing. An i
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Robert Sparrenberger
Another solid book from David Halberstam. This edition contains writings from various publications over the years on three main subjects: pro baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

The only complaint I have is the author's love for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. I didn't know that was allowed.
Nick
OK, but the collection format leads to the feeling that you've read every article before. His longer sports books that deal with a particular season are more compelling.
Dan
This collection left me wanting. Too many of the pieces felt redundant (his dilemma as a Red Sox/Yankees fan & the advent of pro football were each dissected at least 3 times), too many were personal (sometimes I just want to read about DiMaggio without having to hear about Halberstam's first trip to Yankee Stadium), and there were too many about fishing (I don't think most people pick up a collection of sportswriting hoping to read 5 fishing articles totaling some 55 pages). My lack of enth ...more
Rick
Jul 15, 2010 Rick added it
An assemblage of Halberstam's articles from over the decades that appeared in Vanity Fair, Atlantic, and many others. A great introduction to his writing for those who may not be acquainted. I particularly loved (and somehow missed it when it appeared in the 80's) his article on Indiana high school basketball. It touched briefly on the "Hoosiers" Milan H.S. story that everyone's familiar with. But this article told the moving story of Oscar Robertson and my old school, Crispus Attucks in Indy. I ...more
Patrick Ellis
A great collection of short stories, feature articles and essays from Halberstam that demonstrate terrific storytelling and journalism can go hand in hand. This isn't the sometimes shallow, sophomoric writing you experience with today's sports bloggers - this is when guys like Plimpton, Royko, DeFord and Jimmy the Greek ruled along with Halberstam. 5 out of 5 stars.
Darren
for me this book was a disappointment. repetitive, overly boston/new york centric, and halberstam's tone often seems patronizing (e.g. struggling not to sound like an elitist as he sprinkles details from a dinner party with washington power brokers). altogether not a very enjoyable read.
Harish Venkatesan
I've (shamefully, I now understand) never read Halberstam before, so this collection of sports stories over the course of his career is a great introduction to the writer. As any good collection should do, this gives me the impetus to dig in to Halberstam's work over the years.
Lonnie
Jan 04, 2009 Lonnie added it
This was a non-renewable library book, so I picked several articles that appealed to me. I recommend "Why Men Love Baseball," "Sunday, Boring Sunday," and "Ali Wins Another Fight." I will definitely find a time to read the entire book.
Ian Hardouin
My first time reading Halberstam. A collection of magazine / online articles and essays. I found some to be very self-indulgent, but others to be interesting and incisive. Can see why we has a large literary following.
David
If you like sports writing -- from football to fishing to fencing -- you have to read this book. It's a collection of Halberstam's writing from sources like ESPN.com to Slate magazine. What a writer. We'll miss him.
Andrea
LOVING this book! The loss of Halberstam was a crushing blow, not only to sports writing, but to the literary world as a whole. To have the abililty to read sports pieces he wrote through the years is an amazing gift.
Chris
Some of these stories are very dated but many are excellent examples of his writings. I especially liked the sculling articles and it might even push me to try the sport...
Kelly
Fantastic sports writing - I knew I would love the baseball and football stories, but I found the stories about fly fishing, boxing and sculling incredibly interesting
Kirk Weikart
David Halberstam is already missed. The Basket-Case State is a must read for all Hoosiers, and all those who want to understand Hoosiers.
Matt Moran
Enjoyable as always, although most of these essays do not measure up with 'Summer of 49' 'The Breaks of the Game' or 'The Amateurs.'
Robert
Nov 09, 2014 Robert marked it as do-not-plan-to-read
This appears to be an anthology of columns that Halberstam published over the years. It wasn't compelling enough for me to read.
Bruce
Nice, light reading from David Halberstam. Short sports pieces from 1955 thru 2005. Easy reading
Tom
Jan 03, 2009 Tom marked it as to-read
A 2008 Christmas gift from Emily.
Bill Wagner
About half-way through.
Tim
The master.
Susan
Feb 01, 2011 Susan added it
Very good.
Marshall
Marshall marked it as to-read
Apr 25, 2015
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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
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More about David Halberstam...
The Best and the Brightest The Breaks of the Game Summer of '49 The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship

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“[On writing:] "There's a great quote by Julius Irving that went, 'Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them.'"

(One On 1, interview with Budd Mishkin; NY1, March 25, 2007.)”
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