cover image The Best American Sports Writing 1997

The Best American Sports Writing 1997

George Plimpton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-395-79762-4

Plimpton, a frequent contributor to Sports Illustrated, here collects entries from national, regional and specialty publications on such esoterica as arm wrestling, fencing and fishing for little fish like herring, as well as on more popular sports. The most memorable articles are ""Man and Bull"" on toreador Francisco Rivera Ordonez by Tony Hendra; ""Heaven Help Marge Schott"" by Rick Reilly, a telling portrait of the sad, infuriating part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds; ""Ali in Havana"" by Gay Talese on the meeting of mutual admirers Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro; and ""Dog Days"" by Steve Rushin, the only humorous essay. Also represented are two lesser-known authors who offer interesting sidelights--Linda Robertson on the injuries that can result from platform diving and Jack McCallum on aces in golf. There's also a fine account of a harrowing day on Mt. Everest, ""Into Thin Air,"" by Jon Krakauer. With only a few pedestrian offerings, the book should appeal to most sports fans. (Nov.)