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Everything They Had: Sports Writing

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  33 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
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Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Hachette Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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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, ...more
Joe
Jul 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Chuck
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Pat Murphy
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great sportswriting. Different athletes portrayed in their endeavors.
Lindsay Hickman
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Few books I give a 100% standing ovation type of review but this is one of them. This book I just couldn’t put down. The way the author weaves each word, sentence, and paragraph together is like poetry. It is no secret I love sports, but I’m very, very picky in sport books-usually they are poorly written, over-hyped, or just plain boring. This book was absolutely brilliant. I truly could not find one thing wrong with this collection of stories.
Okay, for a quick review this book is technically
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Joe K
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of good essays/articles in here, but a lot of the repeated themselves, especially the baseball and football pieces. For a collection of what is supposed to be Halberstam’s best writing, it was surprising to see so many ideas and sentences show up almost word for word. Still, very enjoyable.
Seth
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've always enjoyed Halberstam's work. His reflective style could make a sports fan out of just about anyone.
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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Patdmac7
Dec 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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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Jeff
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
I love the writing of David Halberstam. I have read many of his books, from The Powers That Be to The Fifties, from The Children to his two baseball books following the seasons of 1949 and 1964. The man was one of our great writers. That is why I was so disappointed in this collection of,some of his sports writing. Now, in truth, it probably was better than a two star review, but, held against me expectation for writing from him, I was just not impressed.

Divided into different sports with a few
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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,
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Chris S.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sports
David Halberstam is a delightful writer. I was looking forward to this collection - I was a fan of his columns on ESPN.com back in the "Page 2" days (RIP), and a couple more of his works are on my "to-read" list. And a couple of the columns - specifically the Playboy story about Reggie Smith playing baseball in Japan and the column about Ali's apology to Joe Frazier - are fantastic. But his work suffers when consumed en masse; a collection like this is not well-suited to his talents, because the ...more
John Orman
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Dan Hickey
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 ...more
Rick
Feb 27, 2009 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. ...more
Patrick Ellis
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Robert Sparrenberger
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Andrea
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Darren
Nov 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
David
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lonnie
Jan 02, 2009 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
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Nick
May 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sports
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.
Kirk Weikart
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
David Halberstam is already missed. The Basket-Case State is a must read for all Hoosiers, and all those who want to understand Hoosiers.
Bruce
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Nice, light reading from David Halberstam. Short sports pieces from 1955 thru 2005. Easy reading
Tom
Jan 03, 2009 marked it as to-read
A 2008 Christmas gift from Emily.
Chris
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
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...
Tim
Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The master.
Matt Moran
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, halberstam
Enjoyable as always, although most of these essays do not measure up with 'Summer of 49' 'The Breaks of the Game' or 'The Amateurs.'
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David Halberstam was an American journalist and historian, known for his work on the Vietnam War, politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and later, sports journalism. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1964.

Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the
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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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