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Four Days to Glory: Wrestling with the Soul of the American Heartland Hardcover – January 23, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0090823184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0090823185
  • ASIN: 0060823186
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sportswriter Kreidler, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee, immerses himself in "the largest event of its kind in the United States," the Iowa State High School Wrestling Tournament, and the result is a deeply insightful look into how young athletes and their families prepare for and participate in a yearly, four-day event where "Fathers and sons, coaches and wrestlers locked in screaming matches are as commonplace as injury timeouts." But this is no exposé: Kreidler paints a highly sympathetic portrait of the struggles of two smalltown seniors to become the 15th and 16th four-time state champions in Iowa's history. One is motivated by the doubts raised about his abilities by Iowa wrestling fans, while the other struggles with a family history of depression. In Kreidler's final stunning account of how both teens deal with the "recurring emotional whiplash" of the tournament itself, he more than proves his contention: "The really great ones, deep down, just don't give a damn" about doubts and struggles external to the sport itself. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–In most of the country, wrestling is a dying sport. However, in Iowa, thousands still turn out for the State Championships and the sport captures attention, particularly when a chance at greatness presents itself. In 2005, two young men had the opportunity to become only the 15th and 16th wrestlers to be four-time champions in the long history of the state tournament. Jay Borschel and Dan LeClere had known one another since childhood, and as seniors in high school faced similar pressures and roadblocks to establishing their legacies. Kreidler introduces readers to their world, if not their hearts and minds. Wrestling, a sport of deprivation that thrives on an ethos of pain, is a difficult form of athletic prowess to understand, and at times LeClere and Borschel are the embodiment of the difficulty of understanding the passion and commitment that it demands. They are enigmas. But the world of Iowa wrestling and the communities that embrace it are painted both in their glory and in the head-shaking dismay that the sport can induce. Teen wrestlers will appreciate a book that speaks to them and respectfully about them, and sports fans may find a new area to appreciate.–Mary Ann Harlan, Eureka High School, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book was just as good the third time.
Tony Mancilla
Kreidler does a very good job of chronicling the senior seasons of hopeful 4-time Iowa high school state champion wrestlers Jay Borschel and Dan Le Clere.
CPT Trainer/Behaviorist
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is a wrestling fan or just love good sports stories.
Wrestling fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By T. Couzens on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mark Kreidler is a true wordsmith, as he clearly demonstrates in "Four Days to Glory." A remarkable tale, he vividly brings to life the trials and tribulations of two high school wrestlers in wrestling-mad Iowa and their quest to win their fourth state championships. Wrestling in Iowa is much like football in Texas, and "Four Days to Glory" should reach the same heights as "Friday Night Lights."
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jack F. Perry on January 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I purchased Four Days to Glory the moment it hit the book stores. I was one of the thousands of people in "the barn" when both wrestlers made it to their final matches. For them it was the culmination of their high school careers in wrestling. For me, it would be the first time I'd ever been to a match. I left Des Moines that afternoon a lifelong fan of not only Jay Borschel, one of the two wrestlers for which the book chronicals, but a fan of the sport. Mark Kreidler is true to that in his account of what happened, i.e. even a non-fan becomes a fan of these two extraordinary young men as they battle against tremendous odds to do something very special.

The movie, when it comes out, is sure to takes its place right along side "Rudy".
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Quinley VINE VOICE on February 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Wrestlers toil in relative obscurity, except perhaps for certain Midwestern states like Iowa, where wrestlers are gods. This entertaining book takes the reader through the life of high school amateur wrestlers during their fateful senior year season, where they attempt to become state champions. In Iowa, that is a huge deal.

If you or in any way a fan of amateur wrestling, this book will be a sweet dessert. It provides insights as to the physical, mental and emotional (as well as dietary) sacrifices that these athletes must make. We will never definitively settle the argument about which sport is toughest or produces the best athletes, but from reading Four Days to Glory, you could make a compelling case that wrestling deserves the top spot.

Worth the price of the book alone is the chapter profiling legendary wrestler and then coach Dan Gable. It is, at the same time, a rather pitiful characterization as you meet a one-time world champion who is now reduced to hobbling around on crutches, the result of 16 or 17 surgeries he has had on his deteriorating body. One cannot escape the impression that Dan Gable mortgaged his health in order to become a fantastic wrestler and wrestling coach.

You can view this as Hoosiers for wrestling fans, but you owe it yourself to view it as a compelling story of athletic sacrifice and success.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Barker on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a High School wrestling Coach in New York State for the past 19 years and nothing comes closer to telling the tale of our sport than this book. I couldn't put it down. It is a great read about the trials and tribulations in the wrestling careers of two young men in the state of Iowa. Iowa is the mecca of our great sport and Mark Kreidler does a masterful job of bringing the sport of wrestling to life and showing that dedication and hardwork can lead to great things. Kreidler 's account shows valuable insight into the sport and how it can prepare you for life. His chapter on America's Ledgendary Olympian Dan Gable and his many contributions to the sport was filled with great information and details. I brought my copy to our year end Sectional wrestling championships and coaches all wrote down information and purchased this great book. The next weekend at our State Qualifiers I was lauded by those who bought the book and had read it quickly just like I had done.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian Moline on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As someone who grew up in Iowa, I am familiar with many aspects of Mark Kreidler's book. However, because I did not wrestle growing up, I found the personal accounts of Borschel and LeClere's quest for a fourth state championship to be fascinating. I cover wrestling at the college level, and continually amazed by the physical and mental sacrifices these athletes make on a daily basis. This book offers insight into those sacrifices and the thought process that goes into them by both the athletes and coaches. Kreidler does a wonderful job of taking the reader into the practice room and on to the mat during competition. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Rusher on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book that anyone who enjoys sports would like to read. Mark Kreidler artfully tells the compelling story of 2 high school seniors as the strive to reach goals that only a few before them have achieved. In doing so, he takes the reader into the world not only of Iowa wrestling but into the world of life in the middle of America. I am not a wrestling fan but found the book fascinating.

While this is a must read for a wrestling fan, any sports fan or a person that enjoys reading about another way life will thoroughly enjoy this very well written book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Rafat on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This non-fiction book takes us into the lives of several high school wrestlers and their quest to become state champions. It helps that the wrestling takes place in Iowa, the epicenter of American wrestling, which makes the journey with the boys tense and thrilling. The author also profiles some notable names in the amateur/Olympic wrestling world, including Tom Brands and Dan Gable. Dan Gable is profiled extensively, which will delight any wrestling fan. The book is much harsher on former Iowa Coach Jim Zalesky, who replaced Dan Gable, essentially calling him an insufficient recruiter for the University of Iowa. (The criticism may be unwarranted: another Zalesky brother coaches at UC Davis, which produced the incredible Derek Moore.)

As an ex-high-school wrestler myself, I wasn't surprised by the insights into the wrestlers' training regimens and daily lives. Unfortunately, the sport's multiple maneuvers and tactics make it difficult to convey its complexity secondhand, but the author does his best to make readers feel as if they're on the mat. Although the author did an admirable job providing some insight into the lives of the high school wrestlers, ex-wrestlers will not gain any new information besides the conversations with Coach Gable and the pressures of being a Midwestern wrestling coach. The conversations with and the author's profile of Dan Gable are the highlights of the book, and non-wrestlers will gain a good view into a little-followed, but inspiring sport.
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