The 20th-Century Treasury of Sports

Al Silverman, Editor, Brian Silverman, Editor Viking Books $30 (768p) ISBN 978-0-670-84662-7
Early in his career (he was CEO at the BOMC and is currently a senior editor at Viking), Al Silverman spent a dozen years at Sport magazine, where he nurtured a lot of very good writers. This anthology, which he co-edited with his son Brian, a journalist, demonstrates what an astute judge of literary skill Silverman is. Most of the names and some of the selections (such as Shirley Jackson's charming, oft-anthologized Little League saga ``braves 10, giants 0'') are familiar, but everything in this big volume is here on merit. As the introduction states, ``Sports as a barometer of life harbors all of life's symptoms.'' Hence, an early short story by John Huston, ``Fool,'' offers a grimly humorous view of honor and betrayal; an excerpt from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man shows racism at its most nakedly brutal; and many selections speak of the personal integrity possessed by the best athletes. Among the book's great strengths are its intelligent mix of fiction, nonfiction and even poetry, its inclusion of material from writers as unlikely as W. B. Yeats (``At Galway Races''), George Orwell (``The Sporting Spirit'') and Primo Levi (``Decathlon Man''). Still, the best writing in the book usually comes from the practiced hands of outstanding sports journalists like Red Smith, Robert Lipsyte and the unjustly neglected W. C. Heinz. This anthology lives up to its title: it is full of treasures. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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