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Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win Paperback – November 1, 2004
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
John Rosengren grew up in Minnesota playing hockey. He still plays the game and freelances on the side. The award-winning writer's work has appeared in more than 75 publications, ranging from Reader's Digest to Sports Illustrated. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their two children.
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His Dad is reading it first to check the content of the book but am anxious to see what my grandson thinks of it and if he doesn't read it soon I will read it.
High school hockey in the Lake Conference is a very big deal. I knew as much from the time I was a Mite and my dad took me to watch our community's team play. Yes it is competitive. Yes there is a win-at-all-cost mentality that draws fire from many - including some of those that have reviewed the book for this site. You can be the judge of whether that is good, bad, or neither.
We (and I'm including pretty much every male hockey player in my community) all wanted to suit up for Varsity very badly. We wouldn't have wanted it so much if it weren't as competitive, as important. Like professional sports, successes are a great source of civic pride.
Blades of Glory takes you inside this world for one sometimes glorious, sometimes frustrating season. Indiana basketball, Texas football, Minnesota hockey. This isn't participatory high school athletics in obscure sports at some random school. Rosengren does a very good job of capturing the emotions. He also weaves in enough tales to make stabs at social commentary without coming across as preachy.
My only knock against the book is that he opts for an effect that takes things out of their chronological sequence in order to emphasize certain emotions and certain points. (Example - wait until you read about the Jefferson Jaguars GIRLS hockey team late in the book. We hear about how some of the boy players are dating girls that play on the team throughout the book... their successful season is covered late, almost as an afterthought. Another example - much is written about a parent's critical letter to the community paper in the early 90s about Saterdalen's overzealous competitive drive. Context on the source is provided at the very end. I'm not sure why that was held back as some sort of finale.)
Anyone that thinks they'd like this book will. A great work.
But these aren't the reasons I selected the book in the first place. No, I picked up Blades of Glory because I'm a hockey fan (of all levels) and a hockey player; I selected the book because I have lived in Minnesota and have coached hockey (and other sports). I didn't know I'd learn so much about things I thought I knew about, and I didn't realize I'd get more than just a fleeting glimpse of the big hockey picture.
There is a wide variety of hockey books sitting on the virtual shelves at Amazon.com: NHL autobiographies, training manuals and minor league misadventures. I have read many of these books. I'll continue to read them--and will enjoy them for what they are. But these other books won't likely be laced with the same doses of humanity and history as Blades of Glory.