The Best American Sports Writing 2012
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
As a sports journalist, I've been a big fan of Best American since '91, but recent editions have disappointed. For some reason, the editors seem to think that bigger is better, and the more serious the topic the more worthy it is of inclusion. So where haver all the wonderful 700-800 word pieces gone? Where is the humour? The title is Best Sports Writing, not Best Sports Stories. The stories are good but they tend to be on the sombre side, forgetting that sport is a pastime and, as such, should have its share of good humour. I'm writing this in the hope that future editions will get the balance right - or has America no worthy successor to Jim Murray, Rick Reilly and their like?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
A slightly uneven but generally appealing anthology of American sports writing from 2012. These published chapters are generally extended (15-25 pages) profiles or investigative pieces; a couple of pieces run to 40+ pages.

Many of these essays explore the often tragic personal costs of sports, particularly those sports, like football and hockey, where repeated blows to the head are an almost unavoidable feature of the game. Of the three or four essays that dealt with the effects of concussions, "Punched Out, the extended profile of hockey's Derek Boogaard, is the best.

Other pieces point out how sports act as a positive influence, serving as an escape from poverty and abuse. The profiles of Frank Shorter, the famous marathoner who was abused as a child, and of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania's high school football program are both excellent.

My single favorite piece was Taylor Branch's devastating attack on the NCAA, "The Shame of College Sports." It underscores just how cynically the ideal of "amateurism" has been manipulated in college sports, and how the organization that is supposed to represent and protect "student-athletes"--in a bit of Newspeak-like censorship, the NCAA requires that journalists use this label rather than "players"--often does just the opposite, extracting wealth.

If I had a complaint about the principle of selection, it is that these essays almost exclusively survey the human or business side of sports. There ought to be a place here for a few pieces that represent the best technical analysis of gameplay, player technique, coaching, or strategy.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2012
I give this collection to my son every year as a birthday gift for his late November birthday. He loves getting it and reads it cover to cover. He keeps all the older ones and re-reads some of those articles, too. No one has the time to read all the source publications that are culled to make this collection. Even if my son might have read one or two of the articles, he always finds gems he never would have come across without this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2013
Fantastic book with sports stories about all sports. Mostly it is about people and brings to the table the human side of the wonderful world of sports. A doctoral thesis could be written about the human psyche from just this book. It highlights the importance of sports on the every day person and how we relate to our sportsmen and women and our need to be a part of the action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
All of the stories are well written. This book is not just good sports writing but good writing period. I would not hesitate to recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
Michael Wilbon selects stories of failures as well as triumphs. He is able to explain racial issues objectively and thoughtfully.
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on November 30, 2013
Unmissable. Great selection of articles. It will make you excited about sports you don't even like. I was amazed by the articles about cricket and hockey.
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on November 30, 2013
Unmissable. Great collection of articles. You'll be completely captivated even if they talk about sports you don't like. I loved the cricket and the hockey ones.
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on October 29, 2013
The series is great, and I always enjoy reading the current issue as it is released. Always spans a wide range of sports-related subjects.
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on October 6, 2013
Great collection of articles, I recommend to all sports fans. Most pieces are both interesting and informative. Worth every penny.
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