The Conquering Heroes

Peter Gent, Author
Peter Gent, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-55611-384-0
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-8439-3743-5
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This new novel by the author of North Dallas Forty is a gritty tale of what money and national attention have done to corrupt college sports since the 1960s. Former basketball star Pat Lee is now assistant coach of Southwestern State University's basketball team; his duties include recruiting high school prospects with promises of money, arranging for ringers to take their SATs and making his old teammate, head coach Barry Sands, look good. When the star center of the SSU team brutally rapes a student, Sands and his staff quickly move to cover it up, with the help of the local police. Increasingly disgusted with himself and with college athletics, Lee tries to figure out how he ended up on the dingy end of the moral code. The author, who played both college basketball and pro football, uses Lee's life as a model for the change in college sports from extracurricular activity to lucrative media circus. Gent's storytelling abilities and his insider's knowledge of sports serve him well in a novel that moves with the speed and precision of a well-executed full-court press. (Mar.)
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