Pistol: A Biography of Pete Maravich
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Pistol: A Biography of Pete Maravich

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,403 ratings  ·  118 reviews
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 price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family:...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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M. Milner
There’s a line in Mark Kriegel’s book “Pistol” that does a good job of summarizing Pete Maravich’s life, and the book, quite nicely - “I don’t want to play 10 years in the NBA and die of a heart attack at 40.”

Instead, he died of a heart defect at 40, after playing in the NBA for almost 10 years.

“Pistol” is not so much a biography as it is a study on passion and obsession and how the two can be confused. At it’s core it’s about how much a father, in this case Press Maravich, can drive his son int...more
Apr 09, 2014 Troy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Basketball junkies.
The premier Pete Maravich biography. I'm saddened that I'm too young to have ever watched him play live, as he also tragically passed away before I was even born. But "Pistol" Pete was the original Houdini of the Hardwood, playing dazzling basketball in the south, on teams where he was often the only white player on the roster, defying the saying that "white men can't be flashy on the basketball court". Mark Kriegel regales the readers with tales of triumphs, heartbreaks and, ultimately, heartac...more
Older basketball fans will know that Pistol Pete was the Elvis of basketball, a white guy who could play "black" before the black guys did. He was an amazing ball handler and prolific scorer. If there had been a three point line in the late sixties when the Pistol was in college his average would have been 58 a game for his career! As it stands, his scoring record will never be broken. His is a sad story. Kriegel tells it pretty well. Pete dropped dead at age 40 playing in a pick up came with Dr...more
Mad Dog
This is a darn good book for sports fans that are interested in reading about 'father-son' relationships. As I see it, Pete's father Press was more interesting than Pete. This presented a heck of a challenge to the biographer (how to write a biography about someone whose father is much more interesting than the subject of the biography?). The author handles it well, by devoting sizable portions (including the beginning) to Press. It's been a while since I read it, but I chiefly remember that I f...more
Brett Owens
In the book “Pistol”, the author’s purpose was direct. Throughout the whole story it was pretty much serious. It talked about Pete Maravich’s life. I think that the author also wrote this story to inform the people reading the book. The author talked about how Pete got where he got and how he broke many records. It also talked about Pete’s dad and how he was a great basketball player and how basketball ran in the family genes.
I think the theme of the book is that you have to work hard for succ...more
I did'nt really know what to think when I first got the book from my brother. But as i started reading it it became a story of one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. They call him the link from old basektball into the new, flashier, entertaining basketball. He revolutionized the game of basketball and averaged 44.2 points. If ther was a 3 point line bakc hten he probalby would have averaged high 50's. He was a terrific ball handler, a great passer, and a even better scorer...more
Jesse Tooper

Being a basketball aficionado, I read many biographies.....none of which have been written as well as "Pistol.".
Pete Maravich was an enigma, a man born (and raised) to hoop. I'm not sure that there has ever been a man that has had to live under the pressure and scrutiny that Pete did......and that includes Bron. Probably didn't help matters that he pretty much went bat shit crazy his last 10 years or so. While reading this book, I couldn't help, but think back to the Marinovich stories of the...more
This is a life story of a great basketball player who changed the face of basketball - from slow, layup, bounce pass pace to flashy, extraordinary, and impossible. Pistol Pete was a troubled person that always searched for life. He was pressured by his father to be the first "million dollar" basketball player and he changed the rules of the game (literally, the refs didn't know if he was playing within the rules because his moves were so unique and spectacular). This story tells the dark side of...more
Kriegel wisely chooses the complex relationship between Pete and his father, Press Maravich, as the central theme of his biography. Raised in a hard-scrabble company town, Press represents a dark side to blue collar parents fighting for better lives for their children. Press didn’t just work to give Pete a better life, he lived vicariously through Pete. When Pete couldn’t score high enough on the SATs to get into an ACC school, Press left his position as head coach at the then-national powerhous...more
very interesting, straightforwardly written, account of the remarkable short life of Pistol Pete. It's a shame he's no longer around to give his own perspective, but there's quite a bit of public record with which to work, and many of his contemporaries and relatives participated. Blurb by Pat Conroy on the back of the book puts it well -- he wasn't the greatest player ever, but he was the most electrifying player people of my generation (for whom Bob Cousy was a fairly poor announcer rather tha...more
Michael Campbell
I read the book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich. The book was about a famous college basketball star and NBA star. I believe that the author, Mark Kriegal, purpose to writing this book was to tell the rich and interesting back story of the Maravich Family beginning in 1929. Also he wrote the book to talk about the ups and downs of arguably the best college basketball player to ever play the game. You can obviously tell that Mark Kriegal is a big basketball fan.

The theme of the book was to neve...more
Chris Ruprecht
Ms. Emmett
Academic English 10
4 April 2013

The book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel highlights the short lived, legendary career of basketball superstar Pete Maravich. Pete, whose father was a basketball coach, spent the majority of his childhood practicing basketball. He disregarded his social and academic life and spent hours at the gym. As he developed, he became a extraordinary ball handler, and was soon put on display by his father. When Pete got to high school...more
Zach Ross
Pistol Pete has grown up his whole life being a basketball prodigy. All his father, Press, ever thought about was Pete's future as a basketball superstar. Some of this rubbed off on Pete too, because whenever he was asked about it, he would say he is going to be the first million dollar player. This goal was not unreasonable because Pete has always been good. He practiced, and practice, and practiced over, and over, and over again until he got it right. The author's purpose in writing the book w...more
First of all, this book isn't all about Pete Maravich. The first four chapters are about his dad Press excelling at this new sport called "basketball" and then later as a charasmatic coach. The last chapter is about Pete's sons playing basketball aftre his death in their father's shadow. All very interesting (especially the latter), but not about Pete.

Second, sure Pete had amazing numbers. His college record of most profilific scorer still holds, which averages out to 40-something per game (this...more
Leo Jacobowitz
Biographies about sports heroes are rarely great literature. This isn’t an exception. I would recommend this book only for basketball fanatics. Even if you just fancy basketball as an entertaining spectator sport, you must seek out footage of “the Pistol.” Pete Maravich was the most innovative player of his age – a player possessed with nearly every gift one could imagine – except for that intangible attribute of leadership. His lack of leadership coupled with a gloomy volatility prevented him f...more
Paul  Decker
The most interesting thing I got from this fine biography is the story about Press Maravich. I was a kid obsessed with basketball when Pete was a college and pro player, so I was very familiar with him. But I knew little about Press, and his rise and fall is a compelling story. I found the "great white hope" theme in the book to be overdone compared with what I remember from the time. Maybe it was because I lived in the north, but I don't remember ever getting the sense of folks pinning their ho...more
I remember watching a Christian movie about Pistol Pete and wanting to emulate all his ball-handling moves. As a point guard I took great pride in being able to do amazing things with a basketball. I also knew from my dad how much fun it was to watch Pete Maravich play the game I loved. So this biography was almost a couldn't-hardly-put-this-book-down sort of book for me. Kriegel does an outstanding job balancing details with overview. I didn't feel like anything was really skipped over, except...more
As a basketball coach to my own son, I found this book to be outstanding. Any father who coaches his own child knows there's always a fine line between being the coach that can't show favoritism while being their father. It's not always an easy line to walk.

Although basketball was Pete's passion, it's clear his father steered him to the sport that he once played. I exposed my son to every sport imaginable first because I wanted him to choose for himself. In the end, he wanted to do what he saw h...more
Truly enjoyed this autobiography. Pistol Pete was way ahead of his time in the game of basketball. He brought showtime into the NBA!!! Unfortunately, however, the league, coaches, and even his own teamates were resistent to accept not only his game but also him as a person. He seemed to be always caught in the middle wherever he went in life. Also more tragic was he could never really enjoy the game because of his upbringing and coaching by his father. One almost feels sorry for Pete. Fortunatel...more
Kirk Bower
Pistol Pete was one of my childhood sports idols. When I was in elementary school, I use to tear out the elastic in my socks so they would be baggy like Pistol's. This didn't make my mom too happy, but she always called me "Pistol Pete from Market Street." I could not put this biography down. It deals with the pressures of being an expert by both himself and his father and the effects it can have (good and bad). I only put the book down when I was finished with it and then I still could not get...more
This is an extremely detailed account of his life, sometimes a bit too much detail. He was a hero of mine growing up and it was an enlightening look into his life of ups and downs. The most fascinating part to me was how he overcame his adversities in his personal life and professional career, eventually becoming a Christ follower. He passionately devotes the same energy and commitment exhibited in practice and on the court to the practice of following Christ. I was fortunate enough to see him p...more
3.5 stars. An intriguing read about one of the all-time great NCAA basketball players that saw continuous bad luck and disappointment once he joined the NBA. The author also kept me interested by including some interesting historical information regarding the formation of the NBA and how the desegregation of the league affected players, fans, coaches, etc. Certain portions of the book became dry when they discussed Pete's father Press' background and how he became involved with his son's life (m...more
Charles M.
One of the better sports bios about a very complex basketball star. "Pistol Pete" Maravich learned his tremendous basketball skills and talents at a very young age, with encouragement form his rather intense father, Press Maravich. "Pistol Pete" grew up knowing little else other than dribbling, passing and shooting a basketball---which led him all the way into the Basketball HOF. Behind the scenes, "Pistol Pete" struggled with addictions, problems at home, and depression, before dying at a very...more
I was a big fan of Pete Maravich on the basketball court during his career. I had no idea of his life story. This was a very good biography. Extremely interesting and compelling to read. The book had a lot of information and stories from different sources. Also had stories of his family's lives, mostly having a basketball bend. Pete was an extremely talented basketball player from an early age and played on big stages. But as I have learned from this book, his life was full of trials and pain....more
NT McQueen
A fantastic book for, not only basketball fans, but for the saga of the Maravich family as well. An intriguing story about a father's passion and a son's burden. At once magical, tragic, and uplifting as any story you will find. A truly great book.
Judah Oechsle
Pistol is about the life of Pistol Pete Maravich, who changed the game of basketball so much. His life story is really amazing, and I loved hearing about it, since I was never alive to see or hear about it in real time. But, the book is very lengthy and filled with a lot of information that really didn't seem to matter to the overall story. Much of the book was actually about his father, Press Maravich, which was a little weird. If you have a lot of time on your hands, and are a huge fan of Pist...more
Jul 09, 2007 JT rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any LSU bball or Maravich fan
Shelves: biography
Everyone who has ever played basketball should read this book and be in awe of the talent that Pete Maravich had. He was decades ahead of his time. If he hadn't had such bad knees at a time when knee surgery was basically done with steak knives there's an excellent chance he'd be known as the greatest basketball player who ever lived. He was that good.

It's also a great story of a man who lived and died to please his father, who was an awful taskmaster. Pete never had peace, and that makes it a s...more
All I knew about Pete was that he was a basketball wizard. Book includes lots of stats and sports reporter comments. I glossed over them, but I suspect basketball and Pete aficionados would not. I learned much more about the man off the court, his relationship with his dad and the many struggles he had being accepted on a team. He was a hot shot, handling the ball in ways no one else could or dared to do at the time. Life after basketball surprised me. Interesting read though slow going through...more
Mar 26, 2014 Charity rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Charity by: NPR
Shelves: nonfiction, 2014
Basketball greatness meets Shakespearean tragedy.
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