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To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever: A Thoroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally Unbiased Account of the Duke-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry Hardcover – February 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006074023X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060740238
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,080,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

[Signature]Reviewed by Sara NelsonFor a reviewer who's not all that clear on the difference between basketball and basket weaving, this book is a revelation. Former Esquire editor Blythe's debut is an examination of the rivalry between the University of North Carolina and Duke University college teams; in it, he interviews and profiles players and coaches, and even gives play-by-plays of key games. And yet, it is not "just" a sports book. At heart it's a memoir. Like Pat Conroy's My Losing Season and even Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes, to which the author Anthony Wofford compares it, To Hate Like This is about family and passion and people and parents and aging and, oh, yeah, some sports, too.Blythe is a native North Carolinan whose UNC passion was bred in the bone; he and his siblings were raised to be genteel and polite about all things, except while watching basketball games, particularly against arch-rival Duke. After living in New York for many years, Blythe returns home as his father is dying and reflects on the passion that has shaped him and, he suggests, his region. Forget the Mason Dixon line, the real division in this border war is between Carolinians who support the Blue Devils and those who live for the Tarheels.Sports fans can expect to enjoy the accounts of particular pivotal games recounted here, but the real revelations for the relatively uninitiated are Blythe's portraits of his characters: the tough-guy coaches like Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith, one of whom nearly breaks down confessing that he's still in love with his ex-wife; the nurse tending Blythe's dying father; and, most of all, the father himself, the kind of personality you expect to meet in great southern novels from Harper Lee to Pat Conroy. To call To Hate Like This a sports book is to be only about one-third right. An elegy to place and time and generation, it is also a story of fathers and sons and an elegant testament to the way pastimes are far more than ways to pass the time. (Mar. 1)Sara Nelson is the editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

You don’t have to be a Tar Heel or Blue Devil to like [THLT], because it’s funny, perceptive, and smart. (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post)

An exceptionally entertaining parable in defense of good, healthy, all-American loathing.... an animosity the whole family can share. (New York Post)

The best book about politics I´ve read since All the King´s Men ... it’s about basketball [like] Moby Dick is about whaling. (Hartford Courant)

“A revelation.... an elegant testament to the way pastimes are far more than ways to pass the time.” (Publishers Weekly (signature review))

“The kind of sportswriting that comes along so rarely you can count the classics on one hand . . . read this book.” (Play (New York Times Magazine sports supplement))

“Blythe seduces with his story of Southern identity...passed down from fathers to their roaming sons...raucous, tender, and fierce.” (Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of "Random Family")

“The best book on basketball I have ever read ... destined to become a classic of sports literature.” (Pat Conroy)

“Not since Exley’s A Fan’s Notes has anyone produced such a graceful and elegiac evocation of place, family, and sport”. (Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead)

Goes far beyond the facile John Feinstein “inside a season” formula ... [Blythe] writes amusingly, self-deprecatingly and often beautifully. (New York Times Book Review)

Blythe writes like a wizard ... Even if college basketball isn’t your obsession, you’ll get caught up in this. (Elle)

Hilarious and remarkably wise ... you don’t want to say too much about [this book], for fear of spoiling the surprises. (Sports Illustrated)

Blythe makes you want to scream from the sidelines... while his hate is contagious, the obvious affection behind it remains. (New York Post)

Blythe brings great wit, style, and insight... a long-awaited American answer to Fever Pitch. (Baltimore Sun)

The best book about loving a team since “A Fan’s Notes” ... [a book] about a lot more than basketball. (Greensboro News & Record)

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Customer Reviews

Any intelligent fan of Carolina basketball will probably enjoy this book.
S. Nicholls
I'm a fellow fanatic of the North Carolina Tar Heels, and this book was amazing in how closely it hit the mark with me.
Brad P. Bender
"To Hate Like This" is a funny, very well written account of one of the greatest rivalries in sports.
Richard Lyman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Barry T. Campbell on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of the best American nonfiction writing is about sports, and some of the best American writers are sportswriters.

Even though he isn't, to the best of my knowledge, a sportswriter (strictly speaking) Will Blythe has written an absolutely brilliant book about one of the most storied and heated rivalries in college basketball: UNC vs. Duke.

He has all the qualifications one needs to opine authoritatively: he was born and raised in North Carolina, he went to school at UNC, and like most of us who did (I fit that profile myself), he's a rabid Carolina basketball fan.

And while this book will be of obvious and direct interest to anyone who has spent some time on Tobacco Road--it is as authentically North Carolinian as a plate of barbecue and a glass of sweet iced tea--*any* college basketball fan, or any sports fan, really, or even anyone who appreciates the fine art of the wry personal memoir, would find "To Hate Like This..." engaging and delightful reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Elderkin on March 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book intending to give it to my UNC grad father-in-law. Before I could get it in the mail I started reading it and could not put it down. I am neither a lover nor a hater of either Duke or North Carolina, but that hardly matters. The writing is clear, mostly free of sports cliches and in many parts funny and insightful, especially when the author writes about his mother and deceased father. Thankfully, the author spends little time with game summaries and much more time dealing with the personalities connected to the Duke-UNC rivalry, both past and present. My only criticism is that the Duke bashing is a little over the top at times, but the author is a UNC alum after all. This book reminded me in a lot of ways of "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer", a look at obsessive Univ. of Alabama football fans. Both books are well worth the time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JWS on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The first chapter of this book is worth the entire price. Laugh out loud funny. And then Will Blythe digs into the paradoxes and subtleties of what hating Duke, er, Dook (yes, I'm a Carolina alum), really means to him, even after he gets to know the personalities he loves to hate. Where does he wind up? Well, I won't give it away but believe me, he doesn't lose any of his passion for the Tar Heels. This is a must read for any Carolina fan. Similarly obsessed Dook fans will appreciate it as well. And curious outsiders who want an insider's view of what it's like to live inside the crazed, obseesive heart of the ACC won't regret a page of this book. Great writing from a fan in search of himself and an understanding of his loyalty to a team, a school, a region and a way of life that his recently deceased father taught him to love.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lyman on April 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I need to define my frame of reference for this review. My favorite authors are (in no particular order) Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, and David Halberstam. So, it is safe to say I like humor, great character development, good prose and effective blending of historical facts into story lines. "To Hate Like This" is a funny, very well written account of one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Sure, Boston fans hate the New York Yankees with a passion, but are they eight miles apart and sharing the same barber shop? The Duke/Carolina rivalry is like no other.

I also need to state my bias: I grew up in Chapel Hill, ran track in high school with the author and graduated from UNC. But, I was not always a Duke hater. As Will explains so well in the book, Carolina's main rival was David Thompson and NC State when we were coming up. Duke was more of an annoyance than a program to be hated. It was not until the arrival of Coach K that the hating truly started. I even pulled for Duke in out-of-conference games until the early 1990's. My casual dislike evolved into quasi-hatred about the time that Danny Ferry became known as the dirtiest player in the ACC. Then came Christian Laettner and his very un-Christian like stomping of an opposing player as he lay helpless on the floor. Not to mention Coach K's foul mouth and constant carping at the officials. But mostly it is their spoiled brat obnoxious fans whose behavior is encouraged by such luminaries as Dook Vitale. Okay, enough venting.

Will Blythe's book is not just another sports book that chronicles big games and big plays. Perhaps it was fate that he started the book as UNC was on the verge of one of its best seasons ever and another national championship.
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Format: Hardcover
A more comic and relaxing spin on the Carolina-Duke rivalry than Blue Blood. Many Tarheels will be to identify with Will's great and entertaining stories!!! The superstitions, the nailbiter finishes. All most importantly told from a Tarheel's perspective. I loved this book. It is a poignant and satisfying success story about the greatest basketball tradition in the nation - North Carolina.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on March 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Every decade or so a writer manages to weave sport and personal revelation into something truly magical, and Will Blythe has done just that. While reading his new book you cannot ignore the sense that it is destined to be a classic, that what you are reading will be read for many years, that this is something special. If you're looking for a by-the-numbers book on basketball, you won't find it here. If you're looking for a powerful literary achievement that is funny and moving as well as informative, that looks at college basketball with insight but offer so much more, buy this book. Those of us who know Mr. Blythe's work through his stories, articles and reviews relish the chance to see him stretch into a longer form. His brilliant, candid, and, above all, gracious sensibility makes you want to read on. Your only disappointment will be that the book has to end. You'll find yourself wanting to read more and even to spend some time sitting at a bar with him, watching his beloved Tar Heels whip the devil out of Duke.
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