Mad Dog's Reviews > Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich

Pistol by Mark Kriegel
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's review
Jan 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, bio
Read from January 22 to February 12, 2010

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 found Press Maravich to be fascinating (for all of his enormous strengths and enormous flaws) and Pete to be OK too. The author did seem too limited in the amount of information that he collected about Pete. For example, it would have been interesting to get more background on why Pete was such a 'nut' during his young adult life. It would have been interesting to get more quotes from Pete about himself.

I've always been a "Wherever you go, that's where you are" kind of guy. But, as presented in this book, Press never really came to life until he found basketball. I was quite interested in the tale of Press's rise to prominence in basketball and in life (and it all started with his introduction to basketball). He became quite a leader. I also remember feeling real sad for Pete's mom, whose life was presented as tragic and you can't help but think it was largely because she took a backseat to basketball. I also felt a certain sense of tragedy in the way Press catered to Pete (and became a much worse basketball coach because of this) and also because Pete never really enjoyed team success that was commensurate with his individual success. And I hated that Pete suffered from so many injuries as a professional. So there was a tinge of sadness in the book.

Bigger spoilers follow regarding the ending .... But Pete did find faith and happiness towards the end of his life, so there was an uptick (in the book's tone) toward the end. It would have been nice to get more information about Pete's conversion to Christianity (as the book (as I recall) basically presented little information about his conversion).

To be fair to the author, he wrote this book about Pete long after Pete's death. So he was very limited in that regard. But I would have enjoyed it if the author would have asked some straightforward questions of Pete's sons like "What is your foundest memory of your father?" and "What did your Father try hardest to teach you?". The author chose to place more emphasis on the achievements of Pete's sons.
And it was interesting reading about the son's lives and achievements.

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