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Miracle at Merion: The Inspiring Story of Ben Hogan's Amazing Comeback and Victory at the 1950 U.S. Open Hardcover – October 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When golfer Ben Hogan won the 1950 U.S. Open less than two years after nearly dying in a car crash, sportswriter Red Smith called the comeback “the most remarkable feat in the history of sports.” Sixty years later, though, the details of Hogan’s ordeal have dimmed, even for avid golf fans. Barrett’s well-researched recounting of the tournament and the events that led up to it brings the remarkable story back to vivid life. Nothing was easy for Hogan, who grew up poor in the shadow of his father’s suicide and struggled for years to perfect his golf swing. It all came together for him in the late 1940s, however, but his career seemed over after the accident. Determined to play again, despite permanent damage to his legs, Hogan put his game back together in time for the Open, tying for the lead on the final day, after a 36-hole endurance test, and winning the 18-hole playoff the next day. Barrett lacks the flair for narrative nonfiction that distinguishes Mark Frost’s similar accounts of great moments in golf history, but in this case, the facts speak for themselves. A must-read for anyone who cares about golf. --Bill Ott

Review

"With Miracle at Merion, David Barrett has brilliantly dissected the sequence of events that transformed Hogan from the game's hardest-working underdog into it's most mythic and enduring star, providing a beautiful narrative framework for better understanding the game's transcendent power. If I was buying just one golf book this year, this would be it. A bravura reconstruction that should be in every golf reader's library." ---- James Dodson, bestselling author of Ben Hogan: An American Life

"Barrett's very thorough research and straightforward prose are just right for the topic. Hogan fans will love Miracle at Merion." ---- Curt Sampson, bestselling author of Hogan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (October 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616080825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616080822
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Donelson on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 2008, the world watched agog as Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on the 91st hole while struggling with a fractured left knee. In the excitement of the moment, little was said about a similar feat of physical endurance and mental strength by Ben Hogan in his epic victory at the 1950 U.S. Open, otherwise known as The Miracle at Merion.

Golf writer David Barrett, who has covered 25 U.S. Opens, presents a thorough and rounded account of Ben Hogan's comeback from a near-fatal car wreck to win the most coveted trophy in the sport. The astonishing story of how Hogan survived a head-on crash with a speeding Greyhound bus, fought through months of life-threatening surgery and painful therapy, then returned to the PGA Tour a year later has been told many times, but Barrett gives the reader both a wide view of the events and people surrounding the story as well as an incisive account of how Hogan the individual was changed by it.

Of particular interest are Barrett's portraits of Hogan's compatriots. Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Cary Middlecoff are among the giants of the game with whom Hogan competed. Barrett shows the reader how their careers meshed with Hogan's and, even more importantly, he reveals them not just as golfers but as human beings--just like he does Ben Hogan.

The book also gives a great look at the PGA Tour of Hogan's day. About the only thing today's tour has in common with Hogan's is the use of a little white ball and a four-and-a-quarter-inch hole. Among the many differences, of course, is money. Tiger Woods earned $1,350,000 for his victory in 2008; Hogan's check in 1950 was for a whopping $4,000. The Miracle at Merion brings both Hogan's historic win and the professional game of the era vibrantly to life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Roberts on December 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A good read for golf fans and a story about overcoming adversity. Ben Hogan was one of golf's greatest players ever. He nearly died in a head-on collision where his Cadillac was hit by a Greyhound bus that was passing a truck on a foggy two-lane highway. Hogan instinctively saved his wife's life by diving across her body (the days before seat belts) and ended up saving his own as well. Suffering severe injuries, he came back 18 months later to win the U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia. It was a day when first prize was $4000 and 12th place paid $133.33. A different age, but values that should stand the test of time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By goldencycle on December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The background detail of the players who played in this period is second to none ! It is like you are almost there yourself enduring all the hardships these players went through for the love of the game. Quite a book, one of the best I have ever read concerning golf.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Snowsurfer on January 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I enjoyed the book, I really don't think the most non golfers or regular sports fans would.
The background info on many of the other players in the tournement was intersting for me, though.
3 stars is all. I even lost interest with the epiloque.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I rarely do reviews. I tend to pick books with 4+ stars so my one vote isn't going to swing it either way. But this one is so irritating to read I'm writing my 1st book review. I'd give it 1 star due to the story wandering more than these pros did driving around the country. But I'm giving it 2 stars because there are good stories in here about Ben but it's like being strung along reading about people you are not interested in waiting to see more about Ben. If the writer were using these other people and places to give you insight into Ben's story that would be cool. But that's not the case. The writer gets on a really good story about Ben Hogan and then stops. He switches to a different person and goes IN DEPTH w/ their life story.

At first I thought he was building a story about the 2 other men Ben would compete with that final round at Merion but no... This isn't a book about Ben Hogan's Inspiring story and comeback at Merion, not really. Most of the book (like 80%) is about every well known and many UNKNOWN golfers in the 40's AND Ben Hogan. He recounts entire seasons of golf for EACH golfer + Ben Hogan. Now I'm invested... I'm half way through the book and have decided to just flip pages to find the actual Miracle at Merion. I can't stand another story about an actor or a guys whose career stalled or got shot by his wife or had a back injury...

Advice - don't end up where I am. Half way through a book feeling invested enough to struggle through the terrible writing style just to find the few nuggets of info about Ben Hogan. Pick a different book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judy Corcoran on April 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book deserves a place of honor on all golf bookshelves for vividly presenting the miracle of Hogan's comeback, capturing the spirit of the times, and crediting all those who lived it and wrote about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a solid book and easy to read, but it does not compare to James Dodson's "American Triumvirate" which covers a lot of Ben Hogan and Merion history, and so much more.

Dave Longo
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Putter Maker Bo on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book may be pretty good if you are looking for minute details about golfers that you never heard of and never will. For good reason! You get a page and a half about some guy who shot a 71 in the second round sandwiched between 78, 80 and 77. Who cares where "Joe Blowinski" went to college? This book reads much more like a newspaper column than a book. The author borrows very heavily from, "Ben Hogan: An American Life". If you have read that biography (it was a very, very good book) you will find yourself reading word for word from it a fair percentage of the time. The rest of this rag was very boring as it should have been about 50 pages long as this author has no gift for imagination or readability. Get the biography and you will get all you need to know about Merion and the U.S. Open in 1950.
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