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The Kingdom of Shivas Irons Paperback – October 13, 1998


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The Kingdom of Shivas Irons + Golf in the Kingdom + Extraordinary Golf: the Art of the Possible (Perigee)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The long-awaited sequel to Golf in the Kingdom takes Murphy back to Scotland in search of another encounter with the mystically enchanting Shivas Irons, a man--if that's indeed what he is--who's part golf professional, part shaman, completely wise, and thoroughly fascinating. Filled with myth, mysticism, metaphysics, advanced string theory (courtesy of fellow searcher and friend, physicist Buck Hannigan), and at times other-worldly golf sequences from Scotland, to Russia, to a climactic round at Pebble Beach, Kingdom resolves its quest in the most unlikely and hard-to-find place of all. "Keep coming," Irons implores his seeker. "Imagine. Practice. Start again. I'm not so far away." Indeed, more than fairways that glow in the dark and drives that can fly 450 yards, it's Irons's ultimate whereabouts that infuses Kingdom with its magic and its mystery. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Twenty-five years ago, Michael Murphy described a mystical round of golf he played in 1956 at Burningbush?a fictitious golf course in Scotland?with an enigmatic Scottish golf-pro named Shivas Irons in Golf in the Kingdom (LJ 7/72), a tale that includes hidden interpretations of the game and penetrating insights regarding life in general. In this sequel, Murphy journeys back to Scotland in 1987 to find Irons and the answers he thinks the Scotsman may have regarding golf and the "life to come." In Scotland, he meets Buck Hannigan, a mathematician engaged in the study of hyperspace who is also looking for Irons, and Hannigan's girlfriend, a beautiful Russian expatriate and necromancer who convinces Murphy to call on the mystic forces of old Russia to help him with his search. New Age themes abound along with an absorbing mix of parapsychology and spiritualism. Although some may feel Murphy's latest effort is somewhat like a cross between Brigadoon and Caddy Shack, considering the avid interest in golf and the paranormal, public libraries can expect demand.
-?Peter Ward, Lindenhurst Memorial Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (October 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767900197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767900195
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Michael Murphy's 1972 novel "Golf In The Kingdom" deservedly became a cult classic in spite of some fairly dodgy attempts at portraying Scots dialect and culture. This was because he got it right with the golf while the mystical, metaphysical elements of the story added an extra angle of interest despite being a wee bit hokey in places.
This time out, with the sequel "The Kingdom of Shivas Irons", the golf seems to take a back seat to the metaphysical, New Age stuff, while his portrayal of the Scots comes across as patronising and ridiculous. Indeed, by halfway through the novel one begins to wonder whether Murphy has ever even been to Scotland and experienced anything of the people and culture besides spending time on the country's spectacular golf links.
Buy "Golf In The Kingdom" and enjoy. But beware of the sequel, "The Kingdom of Shivas Irons", which is unfortunately second-rate and adds nothing worthwhile to Murphy's original vision.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Michael Murphy has reinvented Golf in the Kingdom and Shivas Irons in 1997, 25 years later, with another compelling novel, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, that has provided greater understsnding of the mysteries of golf. While Golf in the Kingdom offered an alternativbe for enjoying and performing the game, The Kingdom of Shivas Irons tells us, within a story line that searches for Shivas Irons across Scottish and Russian geopgrapy, how we can practice what we have learned. About practice, Murphy in his enviable style, describes practice regimens reflecting upon his experiences with Shivas Irons at Seamus McDuff's exploratory performance laboratory somewhere in Scotland. He stated, " No matter how hard it tries, by spotlighting equipment technology and swings, the golf industry will not kill the inner game." Murphy continues, that golf as a sub-culture preoccupied with quick fixes and immediate gratification, golfers are suscceptable to constant equipmnet and swing changes as the path for improved play. Murphy suggested to explore the inner game, to develop the unconscious, imaginatve mind, is essential for performace of swing execustion. During practice sessions, Murphy recommended; The shot I'd just hit demands time for enjoyment......that simple resotorative attention develops with practice......or when we practice any skill, we store something away for times when our thought and feelings wander.......let go of ordinary feeling and thought and you are at once more self sufficient. It is must read for Kingdom lovers, golf teachers and all golfers who seek joy in thier rounds and consistent improvement.Read more ›
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This follow-up to 1972's "Golf In the Kingdom" is, to say the least, a mixed bag.
On the positive side, Murphy's use of language to describe and evoke physical landscapes and the natural environment is, as in its predecessor, breathtaking. The novel's structure and pace are also sound.
On the negative side, some of the characters in "The Kingdom of Shivas Irons" ring false from the outset, to the point of being laughable. For example, the Scots physicist Buck Hannigan, one of the major characters: I would be surprised if there was a single person in Scotland named "Buck". Sure, this kind of Americanism is a minor detail, but it calls into question how much Murphy really knows about the land where golf was born and the nation of people who established it. Because of this, the storyteller's credibility is somewhat devalued.
Murphy's novel explores golf not as a mere game but as a sort of grand metaphysical experiment, dipping into a hodge-podge of New Age beliefs towards which the sceptical reader may sometimes wince. This aspect of the book reminded me that while open-mindedness is generally a virtue, there's also a saying that "An open mind may let in falsehoods as well as truths". "The Kingdom of Shivas Irons" contains some interesting ideas but a lot of utter nonsense and psychobabble as well.
Worthwhile reading, but only when taken with a pinch of salt beforehand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M.B. on December 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
While it's always difficult to follow-up a blockbuster novel, movie etc Michael Murphy has done so with remarkable style and panache. Although written almost 30 years after 'Golf in the Kingdom' first debuted, 'The Kingdom of Shivas Irons' is definitely worth the read. Murphy goes back to Scotland to try to track down the elusive and enlightened Shivas with mixed results. Several adventures along the way make the reader think about the true meanings of golf and life as metaphysical happenings deeper than what's on the surface. If you liked G.I.T.K, you will not be disappointed with this sequal. This book, like the first one is similar to an onion--- peeling off several layers of meaning only reveals to you several more. Digging into this book and it's liquid smooth plot make you feel like you're out on the course 170 yards from the hole with a five-iron in hand ready to go for broke over a pond. It draws you in slowly and very subtley, but the effect is still the same--- you come away shaking your head in amazement!
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