Masters of the Games: Essays and Stories on Sport

Joseph Epstein. Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4422-3653-0
Chicago-born sportswriter Epstein makes himself the focal point of nearly every essay in this cavalier collection of previously published pieces by the former editor of the American Scholar. A review of David Halberstam’s 1999 Michael Jordan bio, Playing for Keeps, for example, transforms into Epstein’s own memories of growing up a young athlete and sports fan in Chicago. Multiple pieces seem to exist for no other reason than for Epstein to drop Gene Siskel’s name while marveling at the fantastic on-the-floor seats the renowned film critic snagged for him. Mercifully, Epstein includes three solid pieces of fiction set in Chicago in the middle of this collection, the best of which is simply titled “The Goldin Boys,” a coming-of-age story told through the melancholy eyes of a physician whose best boyhood friends were popular twin athletes. Epstein’s eulogy for the long-gone magazine Sport, from which he turned down a $500 writing assignment in 1970, is also worth a read—in part because the author, in a rare moment of humility, admits regret for passing up the gig. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 01/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4422-3654-7
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-58979-943-1
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