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Flashing Before My Eyes: 50 Years of Headlines, Deadlines & Punchlines Hardcover – January 9, 2001

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Dick Schaap, it seems, knows everyone. He would easily win at Six Degrees of Separation. Heck, he would win at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. As a matter of fact, he probably golfs with Kevin Bacon. I wouldn't be surprised, since Schaap has golfed with Bill Clinton and played doubles tennis against Johnny Carson, and he regularly dines with Billy Crystal. Oh, and Muhammad Ali is one of his oldest friends. But Schaap is also a guy who remembers his teammates on the Freeport Barons (winners of the New York State Kiwanis League Championship '49 and '50) in fond and humorous detail. It is his true love for and fascination with people that make Flashing Before My Eyes such a delight to read.

Born in Brooklyn, Schaap was a smart kid with an outsized love for the Dodgers. By the age of 15 he was a sports reporter for the Nassau Daily Review-Star, where he worked under 20-year-old Jimmy Breslin, who became a lifelong friend. From there Schaap moved on to Cornell University and then to Newsweek, where he learned to write "short and tight. The end of the world? Give me eight hundred words. The end of the World Series. Maybe five hundred." With more than 50 years in journalism, over 30 books to his name, and five Emmys, there's no debating that Schaap is a storyteller extraordinaire. Page after page of Flashing Before My Eyes rolls by as you snort and chortle at Schaap's stories (and sometimes Schaap himself; he doesn't spare the pen), but then he slides in a moment that makes you tear up. Mitch Albom, who wrote the introduction, says of Schaap, "His cross-referencing would put Microsoft Access to shame. You can say to Dick, 'Pass the ketchup,' and he will reply, 'Did I ever tell you about Bobby 'Catch-Up' Johnson, the one-legged soccer player I met in Belgium?'" Schaap on sports, Schaap on comedy, Schaap on politics--these we've enjoyed for years. Now relish Schaap on Schaap. --Dana Van Nest

From Publishers Weekly

In a country obsessed with voyeurism, Schaap's book will find a receptive audience. Schaap (Turned On) fleshes out a chronology of his journalism career with endless yarns starring the last half-century's leading lights in sports, politics and the arts. From smoking a joint with Joe Namath to removing a strange animal from the leg of Bobby Kennedy's wife, Ethel, and taking in a World Series game with Lenny Bruce, Schaap's ubiquity ensures a surfeit of stories and, for that matter, ego. Schaap's strong presence introduces a strange underlying conflict: this purported autobiography is rife with stories about other people, told by a confessed egomaniac who insists that his characters come alive because he lays low. The result is a laissez-faire account whose anecdotes exceed their telling, and whose narrator never strays far from the foreground. Schaap can seem haughty, as when he describes his goal of writing a book each year: "I have come up short... only thirty-three books in the last thirty-nine years of the twentieth century." And though readers will tire of hearing that he was the youngest senior editor in the history of Newsweek, he undercuts his braggadocio by pointing it out himself: "Have I broken the record for name-dropping yet?" he jokes early on. Possibly. But the array of luminaries on Schaap's roster keeps him from sounding like a broken record. (Jan.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (January 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380975122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380975129
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,248,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Wung VINE VOICE on May 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I was kind of put off by the two negative reviews from this site, then I decided to read the book anyways just because I have been a fan of Dick Schaap's for a long time.
I must say that the personal stories of his failed marriages was kind of off putting, but he seems to be poking fun at himself more than anything else. The book itself is incredible. This guy knew everybody. He was able to befriend just about everyone out there, whether they are in politics, sports, or anything else that matters. The stories are great, and the view points hilarious. Anyone can find fault in what anyone says. I find that the two reviewers who gave this book a negative review seems to be looking for something to pick on. The faults that they ascribe to the author may be valid, but they are also nitpicking. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has some time and want to read about a fascinating life spent conversing with some of the more interesting people in our society. So what if Schaap gloats a little or lamentsa his many marriages, he's entitled.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clint Hunter on February 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a "sort of" autobiography of Dick Schaap, one of the country's most prolific chronicler of sports and the people of sports. It outlines his rise from the streets of the Flatbush section of Brooklyn to his present position as ABC correspondent and host of his own show on ESPN. Schaap tells his life's story, for the most part, as it has been entwined around his meetings, conversations, and friendships with the most famous names in sports. Never have so many names been dropped with such aplomb and in such an entertaining manner.
The book is a joy from beginning to end. The chapter called "Collector's Items," a series of recollections of very short humorous and/or ironic encounters with the famous, leads the reader into a fascinating journey through Schaap's life and reveals his remarkable story telling style. Any attempt to mention all the greats and near greats of sports that Schaap refers to in the book would border on the ridiculous. It's enough, I think, to state that he includes always interesting and mostly humorous stories and insights about almost every important (and self-important) sports personality of the past fifty or so years.
I absolutely enjoyed this book. If you ever had dreams of getting to know the sports "heroes" of your youth or adulthood, chances are Schaap has actually lived out that fantasy. With his great talent with words, he can carry you along to vicariously do the same.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Salowitz on February 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1992, I interviewed Dick Schaap for a story I wrote in Sports Collectors Digest. We talked about his life as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and TV and I was amazed at the vast number of people he has come in contact with and befriended. In his autobiography, he amazes me even more. This book is well-written, extremely frank, and funny. He's opinionated and honest, two qualities that have helped him rise to the top of his profession. And what a storyteller! For sheer name-dropping, this book is over the top. I wish even more that I could be Schaap's valet for a year to see who he sees and attend the events he attends! Now, about that table at Rao's . . .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Broussard on March 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Want to eavesdrop on some of the most fascinating figures of sports, politics, journalism, and theatre? Well bunky, you probably can't. But go ahead and read Schaap's final book (sadly, he passed away recently), and you can experience the next best thing to being there.
A gifted writer, and by all accounts an even better human being, Schaap will be missed. Sorely missed. Thank you sir for making the world a bit nicer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel McKewon on December 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Schapp indulged in a journalist's dream for much of his life: He worked primarily in the 1950-1980 era, when celebrities of all types still mixed and mingled. He wrote words on Namath, Ali, Pynchon and Lenny Bruce. He fell into one fabulous situation after another, was enormously successful everywhere he journied, probably had more good dinners than anyone we'll ever know, talked more, laughed more, smoked more and dranked more. He consumed news and life in amazing proportions. It leaves you a little jealous.
And yet, his memoir is a mess. Calling upon himself to make sense of his long career, Schapp struggles to do much more than serve up anecdote after anecdote. Some of them follow logical order; some do not. The title is appropriate; the book is a flash. You glimpse into auras of many impressive names. A shame that these glimpses rarely go much deeper.
The format of ESPN's The Sports Reporters television program transformed Schapp into a quipmaker. He's objective enough and not particularly redundant or cliched -- often the largest weakness of most sportswriters. But too many scenes are wrapped in too pretty of bows. In that sense, the book is repetitive: Schapp pens a scene, wraps it up, pens a scene, wraps it up, as if to say, "Item!! Item!!" It makes you consider the speed of the man's life, the flash, if you will, which blinds one from reflection. That Schapp died so suddenly is in step with the bulk of his life, but it's sad that he never got the time to appreciate what he'd experienced, and maybe write a wiser memoir.
Schapp left us with stories, but no real message.
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