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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
"Jewish Jocks" is the perfect formula for all that is special in modern Jewish literature... history past and present... more sorrow than any one people deserve to be burdened with... denigration that many don't... won't... and shouldn't put up with... writing that from paragraph to paragraph can range from poetic... to humorous... to agonizingly emotional if you are a true member of the tribe... role models in areas you may not have thought to look for them in... and the beautiful sense of family and pride over the centuries... and yes... more and more Jewish idols and role models in sports!

The very short stories that range from Sid Luckman to Sandy Koufax... and from Mose Soloman (whose signing by John McGraw and the Giants led to the following headline in the Sporting News: "McGRAW PAYS 50K FOR ONLY JEWISH BALLPLAYER IN CAPTIVITY.") to boxing champion Barney Ross whose story written by Buzz Bissinger is probably the most powerful six page story you'll read in many a year!

The multiplicity of authors with subjects ranging from boxers from over 250 years ago to ping pong players to a basketball coach named Auerbach who never paid "retail" for the stars he acquired through trades, in what history has proven to be almost always one-sided in *THE-RED*... also include members of the tribe of Israel that are infamous as well. Including Arnold Rothstein who was part of the throwing of the 1919 World Series as well as Jack Molinas who helped throw basketball games from all sides of the court. What makes each short story provide a larger impact to the reader than the mere total of the pages... is that you can feel the personal heartfelt feelings in almost every writer's story.

In my opinion this book is not unlike a top athlete who can hit, field, run, throw and hit with power. This book can make you laugh... and make you want to cry. You are reminded of the Holocaust... and really what human being should ever forget that... with facts such as: "Three quarters of Dutch Jewry was murdered in the Holocaust, a higher proportion than anywhere else in western Europe"... it motivates you when the great Hank Greenberg said about all the anti-Semitic attacks: "IT DROVE ME TO DO BETTER, TO PROVE THAT A JEW COULD BE A BALLPLAYER." And the humor... "G-d made the Gentiles because someone had to buy retail."

There are so many great stories in this one book... and I'd be amiss to not make note of the one on the great prideful Al Rosen who fought back on and off the baseball field against the despicable anti-Semitism he faced and it "only intensified Rosen's Jewish identity."

There's a lot to be learned for both Jews and Gentiles in this book... from the fact "Between the two world wars, there were twenty-six Jewish boxing champions, including two of the greatest fighters of the era, Benny Leonard and Barney Ross"... to the tough as nails Jewish quarterback who changed the game by the name of Sid Luckman... "Sid (changing yet another stereotype) is remembered less for his brain than for his brawn. It was impossible to keep Sid Luckman out of a crucial contest. Like Moshe Dayan or Bugsy Siegel, he was the big Yid who tells the world, "YOU THINK YOU KNOW US, BUT YOU'RE WRONG."

P.S. And a little humor for the road: "Arnold Rothstein is the price we pay for Albert Einstein."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
"Jewish Jocks" is a compilation of short essays about Jews in the sports world. While the famous athletes - Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, Mark Spitz - are accounted for in the book, editors Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy add many less acknowledged Jewish sportspeople, including gambler Arnold Rothstein, fantasy-baseball founder Daniel Okrent, and Jack Molinas, a basketball "point-shaver" from the early 1950's.

Each of the 50 or so essays highlight a part of the subject's life. Most are based on their careers in sports or collateral industries, but a few concentrate on their lives outside sports. All the essays tie their subjects to their religion. The writing is uniformly good throughout; the only exception was Buzz Bissinger's essay on boxer Barney Ross. He writes in a stream-of-concienceness way, which may be how he normally writes. I don't know but I found it basically unreadable. Many of the authors have personal ties to the subject they're writing about; Jane Leavy writes about inviting Sandy Koufax to her daughter's bat mitzvah, for instance.

"Jewish Jocks" is basically a thought-provoking look at many Jewish sportspeople. I was prompted to look up many of the subjects to find out more about them. And, in a few cases, I looked on them in a different light than before I read the book.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
A quick and delightful read. Well written pieces by top notch and interesting writers, many with a new perspective. I.e. Bobby Fischer by Jonathan Safran Foer, Jane Leavy on Sandy Koufax coming to her daughter's bat mitzvah, Olympians Kerry Strug, Mark Spitz, and, by Deborah Lipstadt: one of the Munich wrestlers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
This is a rich and erudite review of Jews as citizens as well as athletes. Not all of the Jews are jocks and not all of them are white hats (Arnold Rothstein). This is a work of history and anthropology. The heroes here had to overcome bigotry and stereotypes, yet were allowed to walk with Kings. We are also reminded that Jews were not truly emancipated until well into the middle of the 20th century. It suggests that Sports is The Great Emancipator.
Take a look at Kinsler playing second base for the Texans: a five skill athlete. Then look over into the dugout at his boss. Then look at the Dallas NBA franchise. The individual struggles of Jewish Jocks have had societal impacts far beyond their intentions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2013
My brother has everything and is the hardest person in the world to shop for. I looked high and low before I discovered this book and sent it to him a birthday gift. He loves it and what's more, he actually is reading it.
Thanks to those who dreamt this one up and published it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
Enjoyed this book, Each author is a good writer. About numerous people I had not heard of. I highly recommend.
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on February 9, 2013
It's strange when the introduction is better than the book, especially when so many high-profile authors have contributed to this compilation. But, as I worked my way through "Jewish Jocks," my attention kept wandering from the subject at hand. Rarely was there enough depth to give me a real feel for the person who was being described, and I tired of the cliche about Jewish athletes being smart and savvy, rather than skilled and strong. This was used in more than half of the summaries, usually as the point of them, and occasionally as the counterpoint to show how tough someone was.

The book does a good service in bringing to light many obscure Jews who influenced their sports, and there are some sparkling moments. I liked learning about a Jewish bullfighter, Jews who were involved in point-shaving and game-fixing scandals, and a few others who had bittersweet lives of early highs and then decades of anonymity. But overall, the shtick was laid on way too thick.
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on June 18, 2013
Though the first story isn't the best, this book is chock full of charming and delightful tidbits that make it great for gift giving to any one of any age group. Young adults as well as the older generation who have a bit of curiosity will enjoy learning the role Jews play both in front and behind the scenes in many sports. It isn't even necessary to know the names of the sports figures, though I'm sure that adds to the enjoyment. I had bought the book intending it as a gift for one of my adult sons but I have been reading it and enjoying it myself.
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on February 11, 2013
Great read even if you are not Jewish,I think most members of any ethnic group feels pride when one of them excells at anything positive and this book brings to light many things I was unawhere of,a good solid read with a lot of info and brings to light just how difficult it is for any minority to excell when you have to overcome things that should not even have an impact.
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on September 7, 2013
This is a good book that lets out a view of Jews in the real world. I would recommend reading
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