cover image All In: An Autobiography

All In: An Autobiography

Billie Jean King. Knopf, $30 (496p) ISBN 978-1-101-94733-3

The tennis legend faces off against on-court rivalries and off-court battles for equality in her audacious memoir. King (Pressure Is a Privilege) looks back on her years as a tennis superstar and winner of multiple Grand Slam titles in the 1960s and 1970s; her exploits leading the movement to professionalize women’s tennis with the Virginia Slims tour and win equality with men in tournament prize money; her celebrated 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match, in which she beat chauvinist figure Bobby Rigg; and her traumatic outing after a former female lover filed a palimony lawsuit, which cost King endorsement contracts. Vivid throughout is King’s passion for the game—“I loved the drama of it... the universe of possibilities that opened up as I drew my racket back, then that split-second pause where everything hangs in the balance as you’re preparing to hit a return”—and her obsessive will to win. She also fervidly speaks on contemporary issues from trans rights—calling out the Women’s Tennis Association for its insensitive treatment of such players as Renée Richards—to gun control (“gun violence has become a human rights crisis”). The result is a lively and inspiring portrait of pressure-cooker play and political upheaval in tennis, from one of its most fascinating figures. Agent: David Black, David Black Literary. (Aug.)