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The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf Paperback – November 3, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
thrilling and magnificent finish to an Open championship.
-Bernard Darwin (1876-1961), The Times of London
Mark Frost has already proven himself a terrific writer, with such television series as the great Hill Street Blues and the innovative Twin Peaks to his credit,
and a few successful novels, including the excellent Sherlock Holmes homage, The List of Seven>, and a sequel, The Six Messiahs. But I don't know that
anything can have prepared even his fans for this book, which, though one must have some reservations about its form, is quite simply one of the best golf
books ever written.
To begin with, Mr. Frost has chosen his topic wisely. Harry Vardon (1870-1937) and Francis Ouimet (1893-1967)--both of whom came from working
class families, had difficult relationships with their fathers, and learned to golf as boys at the local courses where they caddied, Ouimet in Massachusetts, Vardon some twenty-plus years earlier on
the Isle of Jersey--are thoroughly compelling heroes. In 1913 their similar stories converged at The Country Club, in Brookline, MA--the very club at which Francis had caddied--in the United
States Open. Harry Vardon was at that time probably the best golfer in the world and in previous visits to America had been instrumental in marketing the game here. But it was to be the young
amateur Francis Ouimet's playoff victory over the professional Vardon and countryman Ted Ray that, or so Mr. Frost argues, gave birth to the modern golf era in America.Read more ›
It took me nearly two weeks to read The Greatest Game Ever Played - not because Im a slow reader nor because the book is that long - but, because I savored each chapter, internalized its characters, and then proceeded to go out and shoot a terrific game of golf. Frosts historical novel actually taught me to play better by inviting me inside the hearts and minds of golfing greats Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet. I simply didnt want the experience to end.
Frosts gift for storytelling is at its best as he tackles a subject he clearly loves. His fascination and enthusiasm are contagious. The Greatest Game Ever Played is a book you will read more than once and want to share with your friends: golfers, golf-widows, and all those who simply think golfers are crazy.
From their confrontation at The Country Club emanated modern golf era in America and Bobbby, Jack, Arnie, Tiger et al.
That's just one of many points that struck this reader, the amazing influence Vardon and Ouimet had. The grip, the ball, the fame, the book. Francis taken in by all this. Harry finally taken in by this young golfer from across the street.
The first half is just superb history telling by a master writer who has done the research so well. Amazing chapter on what was going on historically in 1913. Context makes this so riverting reading!
The second half is the Open that started the U.S. modern era.
Parallels abound between Harry and Francis and their love for the game, start and family interest.
From a growing sizeable personal golf library, this will be a most treasured volume, to be reread fondly. Those who follow golf will want to know this heritage which runs from Morris to Vardon to Ouimet to Sarazen to Jones to Venturi to you and me. What a book! What a game!
While I'm not sure that the 1913 Open was the greatest game ever played, I do know that The Greatest Game Ever Played was the best sports book I read in 2003. I heartily recommend it to any golf fan and those who love to read about the underdog rising to the top.
Before discussing the Open, let me comment that this book has a format that most will find unusual. There is extensive background on the origins of golf, the backgrounds of the players, the development of golf in the United States and the social history of the time, as well a lengthy section on aftermaths of the players and individuals involved. You will learn about unexpected subjects, such as how tuberculosis was treated before there were antibiotics.
The story-telling style is in the best tradition of fictional dramatizations. Some of the dialogue is invented. The author indicates that "in employing dialogue to bring these scenes to life, I used source material for direct attribution whenever possible. In its occasional absence I attempted to infer intent from prose or reportage . . . . In rare exceptions, with a dramatist's license, and in the utter want of an eyewitness, I took the liberty of elaborating on those perceptions beyond what I could absolutely verify." It's impossible to know which dialogue material is a quotation and what is invented, so don't take the dialogue too literally.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best golf stories of all time, told in an engaging, entertaining way. Thoroughly enjoyed.Published 1 month ago by Court Watson
Gave this to my dad for Christmas. He loves golf and REALLY loved this book.Published 4 months ago by Station6