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IT'S NOT OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER: The Stories Behind the Most Magnificent, Heart-Stopping Sports Miracles of Our Time

Al Silverman, Author
Al Silverman, Author . Overlook $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-58567-317-9
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-1-58567-505-0
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4683-0431-2
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Silverman, a former publishing executive and editor of Sport magazine in the 1960s and '70s, offers re-creations of 13 dramatic sports events from the 20th century, from New York Giant Fred Merkle's failure to touch second base at the end of a 1908 game (which ultimately cost his team the pennant) to the 1999 U.S. team's penalty kick victory over China in the 1999 Women's World Cup. While Silverman has chosen to profile a handful of well-documented events, such as New York Giant Bobby Thompson's 1951 home run at the Polo Grounds, the first Ali-Frazier prizefight in 1971 and the 1980 U.S. hockey team's Olympic victory over the Russians, the real value of the book lies in his depiction of such obscure or neglected events as the 1923 boxing match between Argentine Luis Firpo and American Jack Dempsey, and the 1968 Harvard-Yale football game, which ended in an unusual tie. The best piece follows an unknown Native American Marine from Kansas who shocked himself and the world by winning the 10,000-meter road race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Silverman often writes breathlessly, as if caught up in the excitement of the moment; while this makes for engaging reading, it also tends to give away the endings too soon. He often tracks down and interviews event participants to provide perspective from both the victor and the vanquished, giving the book its greatest authority. More a book for fans than fanatics, it makes a credible contribution to the annals of sports history. (Oct.)

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