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Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing from Harper's Magazine (The American Retrospective Series) Paperback


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Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing from Harper's Magazine (The American Retrospective Series) + The Best American Sports Writing of the Century + The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks)
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Product Details

  • Series: The American Retrospective Series
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Franklin Square Press; 1 edition (April 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879957582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879957589
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Library Journal Review

This collection of great writings by Mark Twain, George Plimpton, and A. Bartlett Giamatti, to name but three, is the ideal addition to any library's general collection on Americana, sports, social studies, and, not least of all, baseball. If one knew nothing about this country, its history, and mores, one would be almost qualified for citizenship once these wonderful texts have been read, savored, and reread. From the emergence of the Davis Cup and musings (in 1938) about the future hold of television on sports and our lives to the assault on racism in sport and society, not to mention the grip of a sports team on small-town life, this collection is superior in every aspect. On baseball, we move from the bleachers of Wrigley to the role of a sports hero in overcoming bereavement to Branch Rickey and Bernie Carbo.VERDICT This is sheer reading pleasure of a rare quality. Highly recommended for all sports fans.--Gilles Renaud, Cornwall, Ont.

Selectism, March 31st

In one sweep of the Harper's archive, Rules of the Game Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing From Harpers Magazine collects some of the most venerable voices of American writing in a single volume. Yes, they all talk sports. But, they do so in a way that touches the varied threads of American life, building larger societal issues - race, for example - as they tackle the games that amuse us all. The earliest of the essays (from 1903) finds James B. Connolly chatting about German ships. The bookend essay (chronologically speaking), by Lewis H. Lapham from 2008, address drug use in Major League Baseball.

The joy of Rules of the Game Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing From Harpers Magazine comes in part through the pacing of the essays. They are not divided by theme, there is no strong push to plod along year by year. Instead editors Matthew Stevenson and Michael Martin allow the pieces to flow naturally, providing snapshots of American history through the lens of sports. A personal favorite comes from Pete Axthelm, whose "The City Game" brings the basketball courts of New York City alive. The racial changes to the game are tackled, working to not to seperate but to hammer down the socio-economic concerns that root basketball in the urban American landscape.

Axthelm's essay is just one of many rich snap shots within Rules of the Game Rules of the Game: The Best Sports Writing From Harpers Magazine, a book which has enough depth to engage any reader regardless of sporting bend.

"One helluva team of writers has produced a book you'll be dipping into for years."--Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four



"Reading Rules of the Game is like getting a lesson in sports history from some of our finest writers while sipping an aperitif at the Algonquin Round Table. There is such a seamless bond between writer and sport, and Rules of the Game flows as smoothly as an Ali jab."--Ron Darling, Emmy Award-winning broadcaster

"Great sports writing is as much an American tradition as the games that are played on our fields and courts. This all-encompassing collection from some of the finest writers in the history of our nation (Mark Twain on hunting turkeys) brings to life great sporting moments both personal and transformative in scope. These writings from Harper's are a treasure to savor for all of us who love sports and the words that they inspire."---Hannah Storm, ESPN SportsCenter anchor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Matthew Stevenson was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island, attending Buckley Country Day School and Friends Academy. His university degrees are from Bucknell and Columbia universities, and he spent a year abroad with the Institute of European Studies in London and Vienna. He moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1991 and worked in banking until 2004. He is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine, and the host of The Travel Hour, a radio program. He is a panelist on World Radio Switzerland's Not So Foreign Affairs, a weekly broadcast. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and Europe. His books include: Letters of Transit, Mentioned in Dispatches, An April Across America, and, most recently, Remembering the Twentieth Century Limited. His forthcoming book is: Whistle Stopping America.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bronx book nerd VINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are a sports fan with literary inclinations, this book will satisfy your yearnings to read about sports and to be edified by good writing. The essays cover everything from baseball, to boxing, to tennis and the Olympics. Coming from Harper's, the expectation were high and all but one of the essays did not disappoint. Authors included are Pete Axthelm, George Plimpton, Tom Wolfe and Wilfrid Sheed, names from the world of writing with whom I was familiar. I was happily introduced to other writers whose works, based on my dipping into their writing in this volume, I am now eager to more thoroughly dive into - Rich Cohen, John Chamberlain and Guy Lawson, for example. The essays are all rich in their portrayals of times and people, like the treatments of Muhammad Ali and his charismatic personality, or the descriptions and insights about places like Flin Flon, Manitoba, where hockey is not just a way of life, but life itself, or the ineptitude of the Chicago Cubs and the attachment of their fans to that ineptitude, or Jim Bouton's struggle to save a minor league ballpark from the misguided and politically driven efforts to build a new stadium in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This book leaves the reader with that inimitable feeling one gets when completing a good book - that you have entered worlds previously inaccessible and unimaginable and have become intimately entangled in them; that you have become privy to insights and observations that absolutely and correctly categorize and capture a phenomenon; that you are somehow a littler richer, a little more knowledgable and perhaps even a little wiser than before you turned the first page. Read it and enjoy.
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By InAustin on June 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I am not a fan of some of the sport written in this book, the write up is excellent.
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Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Harper's for a number of years. This collection brings together a couple dozen sports stories from the past 100 years or so, written by some of the best writers out there. I bought it as a "filler" book because it can be read in snippets at a time, but found it hard to put down. A wonderful collection.
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