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To Absent Friends (Plume) Paperback – September 1, 1983

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Plume
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Plume (September 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452254434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452254435
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,653,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember hearing "to absent friends" often as a young man. It is a barman's toast to those who gather for one more round on behalf of the dear departed.

I have a personal reason for loving this book (my dad is in it.) Aside from that, Absent Friends is a priceless eulogy for many of the 20th century's most interesting sports characters by one of the country's best newspaper writers. Ever.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sportswriter Walter "Red" Smith (1905-1982) is increasingly forgotten today, but he was the top of his craft. A newspaperman and sportswriter from the 1920's until his passing, Smith also wrote a daily column for 43 years. Here are some of his most moving remembrances for various figures as they passed away. We hear about Babe Ruth, Joe Louis, Lefty Grove, Connie Mack, Pop Warner, and many others figures, some famous, some not. Consider his account of Babe Ruth's 1948 funeral on a sweltering summer day, after that baseball great had struck out against cancer. "I'd give my right arm for a beer," said one teamate/pallbearer. "So would the Babe," answered another. Smith was a superb wordsmith with a touching feel for humanity. This book plus THE RED SMITH READER compile some of his best columns from the seven decades that he wrote wisely and productively.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Red Smith had to have been of the best sports writers ever, and he wrote many memorable columns. This book is his tribute to people he knew in a variety of sports and his praise and prose are excellent. Like Grantland Rice, another giant in the field of sports writing, Red considered these people to be his heroes and they were fortunate that they had such a talented person to write their tributes. You will have trouble putting this book down. It is a fine tribute to many of the giants of sports and one of the giants of sports writing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the strangest books I have read, as it comprises nearly two hundred tributes to dead men I have never heard of. Almost all of the deceased were professional athletes in the fields of baseball and American football, though boxers, jockeys, coaches, agents, racehorses and sports journalists all figure heavily, too. Red Smith is considered by some to be the greatest sportswriter of all time. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1976. His newspaper columns were published for over 50 years consecutively, most notably for the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Times, and it's these two titles for which many of the tributes in 'To Absent Friends' were first written.

I had never heard of Red Smith until this book was strongly recommended me to a writer I admire, and I'm glad that I was urged in its direction, as Smith's writing is crisply descriptive, often funny, and always emotionally true. He writes sentences like this: "Lefty Grove, who threw bullets past Ruth and Gehrig and the rest, stood six-foot-three and wore an expression of sulky anger stuck on top of a long, thin neck." Some of his best writing here is in tribute to his deceased colleagues, such as this: "To say Damon Runyon's death is a loss to his craft would be like saying breathing under water is inconvenient [...] Runyon could do things with the alphabet that made a fellow want to throw his typewriter away and go dig coal for a living.
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