Sportswriter Callahan (His Father’s Son: Earl and Tiger Woods), known for intimate portraits and insider perspectives, breezily floats from story to story across the life of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer, describing dashing Palmer’s enduring appeal from the moment he burst onto the new television screens of the 1950s. Callahan spent significant time interviewing Palmer before the golfing great’s September 2016 death, and readers will enjoy the author’s pointed questions and the Palmer’s amiable answers. Callahan then blends his own experiences, primary sources, copious interviews, and a thorough appendix to create a joyful, definitive biography. The contributions of Gary Player, part of the “Big Three” along with Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, are particularly insightful. The stories extend well beyond golf, including Palmer’s love of flying; his complex relationships with his father, aging star Ben Hogan; and friendships with the likes of Bob Hope, President Dwight Eisenhower, and Fred Rogers. Callahan shows obvious affection for Palmer, but he is not afraid to add his own takes on contentious topics such as Augusta National’s race policy, the oft-chilly Palmer-Nicklaus rivalry, and Palmer’s seminal partnership with agent Mark McCormack. Callahan successfully argues that Palmer’s seemingly charmed life included great difficulty even as he revolutionized golf. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 04/01/2017 Genre: Nonfiction
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