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The Defender (Kindle Single) by [Conn, Jordan]
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The Defender (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 50 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What do "Refrigerator" Perry, Osama bin Laden, Charles Barkley, and Sudanese politics have in common? All touched, or were touched by, the life of a towering crowd-pleaser with a thousand-watt smile and the name of Manute Bol. Behind the six NBA shot-blocking records, Bol was also a drinker and gambler, quick to laugh, generous to a fault, and a lifelong activist on behalf of his people, the Dinka of what is now the independent Republic of Southern Sudan. With reverence and a born storyteller's knack for arresting pace, The Defender tells the tale of Bol's life on and off the court, from his boyhood in Turalei and the legendary story of his lion-killing to his 2010 funeral, marked as it was by "the inevitable benign friction that occurs when worlds collide, the awkwardness amplified by the absence of the one man who linked them all." Highly recommended. --Jason Kirk

Product Details

  • File Size: 168 KB
  • Print Length: 50 pages
  • Publisher: The Atavist (July 6, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 6, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005BE3O4Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,224 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a fan who grew up watching Manute block shots for the Sixers in the early 90's, I enjoyed this brief, "behind-the-scenes" sketch of his public and personal life--especially his active political relationship with Sudan (which I was mostly unaware of). People are rarely as one-dimensional as we sometimes imagine them to be, and Manute is no exception. At appropriate spots in this detailed narrative, I found myself laughing out-loud (if you haven't seen a video of Manute shooting 3's, do so now), engaged by his big, but complicated personality, sobered by Sudan's struggles, and even motivated by Manute's activism.

The first-hand stories make this a must-read, and the writing makes this an enjoyable one. Highly recommended!
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I remember when Manute was in Bridgeport. I couldn't get enough of him, this deathly skinny giant swatting basketballs away like flies. You just had to watch highlights on TV when you could see Manute was involved. I remember the Lion story coming up every time another station or newspaper had an interview with him. You just had to like him. He would make you hold your breath when he pulled up to shoot a three and you would go wild if it went in. He was all about family and country and did as much as he could to help out his people. I wish I could have met him. He left us way too soon. I wish the story would have been longer but Jordan Conn said msot everything he needed to for us to get a good glimpse into the life of Manute Bol.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'The Defender' is a fascinating look at the too-short life of a very tall man, Manute Bol. Basketball fans will be intrigued by this profile, but you don't have to be a fan of sports at all to appreciate the story.

For those who know of Bol's exploits in basketball, Jordan Conn's narrative presents him as more than a shot-blocking, one-trick pony. Conn recounts Bol's fascination with the three-pointer and - when fully healthy - his ability to alter a game through his defensive prowess. More than novelty act, Bol's possibilities and talents seduced a generation of top-flight NBA coaches, most notably Don Nelson and Jim Lyman. Behind the scenes, Conn paints a picture of Bol as a delightful, unique individual, beloved by teammates and opponents alike. Even 20+ years after the peak of his playing career, their joy in recounting Bol's exploits is abundantly evident.

Conn's true triumph is in recounting Bol's exploits off the court. The title of the book - 'The Defender' - has two meanings: while ostensibly a nod to his court-clogging capabilities, it also pays tributes to his unstinting support of his homeland. He committed time and resources to improving education in southern Sudan and was instrumental in the long struggle to create what is now known as the Republic of South Sudan.
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You needn't just be a sports fan to enjoy this read; it will fascinate anyone interested in politics, Africa, Sudan, international affairs, war, fate, sacrifice, community, biography, or just great storytelling. Conn's depth of reporting is obvious in his detail and command of the material, and great pacing gives the story real momentum. Bol was often something of a sideshow on the court, but his real life was alternately inspiring, hilarious, and heartbreaking. This story's many rich vignettes vividly brought Bol to life in my mind and kept me entertained. It's hard not to plow through this in one sitting and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes to read.
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From the intro you get the sense you are in the hands of a great storyteller. Taken around the world and back again, the story casts light on current events -- the independence of South Sudan -- through the flawed, but extraordinary life of Manute Bol. I remember watching Bol play when I was a kid, but really had no idea about the life he lived. Turns out his legacy is not a jersey hanging from the rafters, but the freedom of a nation. This is a great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Conn's e-book is extraordinarily well-researched account of the deeply divided and torn nature of the cultural and political movements in Southern Sudan - an apt metaphor for the life of Manute Bol. As a writer, Conn's prose is perfectly simple, and his lexicon is reminicient of top-tier writers. I look forward to reading more from this author. I'd imagine it won't be too long before his stories are staple headliners in the highest national publications.
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The content in "The Defender" was such a quick read and interesting novel and I found myself moving from page to page rather quickly. However, the only problem was the length of the novel, it that I have a difficult time saying this is a novel and is instead a short story. Conn was able to provide deep insight to a rather interesting and comical character on the basketball court and provided depth to a man so much more than a basketball player. I found myself wanting to read more and was left unsatisfied in only the length.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I managed to read Henry Abbott's review of this e-book on ESPN, and Abbott nailed it: "Conn's painstaking work, based on extensive time in the Sudan, tells of a far more fascinating, important, likable and fallible human than NBA fans ever got a chance to know."
[...]

This was a fantastic read--the author obviously did his research on the ground in Sudan, and got more than a few great interviews it seems, judging from his sources. It is also very appropriate for novices on Sudanese politics and independence.

Giving this 5 stars was an easy decision.
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