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His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 4, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 200 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Acclaimed sportswriter Jenkins is still typing away at 84, and now, at long last, he’s written a memoir. The Jenkins byline first appeared in the Fort Worth Press when the author was in college, and in the sixtysomething years since then, his journalism credits have included Sports Illustrated, Playboy, and Golf Digest, where he still files a monthly column. And, of course, there have been many books, including the classic, Semi-Tough (1972). Jenkins tells his story in the same raucous, ­anecdote-rich, politically incorrect style that has defined his writing all these years. Despite his workload, Jenkins always found time for what he calls sitting around and hanging out, and much of this account reads like a homage to some of the country’s fabled watering holes (Toots Shor’s, P. J. Clarke’s, et al.). Between beverages, however, there was time for sports, especially on Jenkins’ two favorite beats, golf (63 consecutive Masters!) and college football (Life is just one Texas-OU game after another with fun in between). Anyone who has followed sports from the mid-twentieth century onward will relish the opportunity to relive the great moments with a guy who was there more than anyone else. --Bill Ott


"A casual and sly sportswriter's memoir. . . . Dan Jenkins has been among America's best and funniest sportswriters for more than six decades."--The New York Times
"Dan Jenkins is the Ben Hogan of sportswriting."--Phil Mickelson, pro golfer
"This is merely the greatest sportswriter of them all finally giving us an entire book about his greatest character:  His Ownself." --Mike Lupica
"Dan takes you on his lifelong journey through the world of sports and sports journalism. . . .  Be prepared to laugh a lot." --George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385532253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385532259
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The closing lines of Dan Jenkins’ memoir say it all: “True friends are a priceless commodity in this world, and I’ve been blessed with many. And there are other things intended: a vitality of existence, a hopeful view of life, and a tender attitude about love. After all, Billy Clyde won the game and got the girl—and so did I.”

This conclusion summarizes the gist of His Ownself. DJ’s memoir is a story of friends, of family life, of journalism, novelistic fiction and romance, but principally it is a story about the vitality of existence. It is a story about Paschal High School in Fort Worth and TCU, a story about golf and football and those who write about it for a living. Dan Jenkins has written about all of that, both as a journalist and novelist (and now as a memoirist) and readers of his novelistic writing will already know how his personal background and journalistic career intersect and intertwine with his fiction.

There is such a thing as a ‘Dan Jenkins book’ and whether it be fiction or non-fiction, it is always delightful. Add His Ownself to the list. It is, indeed, a memoir rather than an autobiography, but it triumphs as a memoir because DJ knows/knew such interesting people, had such interesting experiences and writes about both in such an engaging way. You will not turn to this book expecting a step by step, monthly account of his life. The overall outlines are clear, but much of the material is conceived thematically and expressed anecdotally. This works because the anecdotes are so interesting and expressed in the pure Jenkins voice.

DJ is incapable of being dull, but the stories he tells are enlivened further when they concern such individuals as Ben Hogan, David Merrick, Henry Luce and Agatha Christie.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
HIS OWNSELF: A SEMI-MEMOIR owes its title to Dan Jenkins’ most well known character, Billy Clyde Puckett, former stud-horse running back featured in SEMI-TOUGH and LIFE ITS OWNSELF.

Jenkins is a treasure, the last of his generation of sportswriters. Sportswriters whose prose sang, who didn’t take themselves or the games and contests they covered too serious, who were part of sports milieu devoid of corporations. Jenkins unique spot in this pantheon is that he is funny. Laugh out loud funny. Three buddies of mine and I nearly died while driving up Highway 395 listening to YOU GOTTA PLAY HURT…we were laughing so hard we almost drove the car off the road.

A SEMI-MEMOIR is also funny. If you are looking for a traditional autobiography you can stop here. It ain’t. It is more of a rambling overview.

Jenkins wrote for a couple of Texas newspapers before being recruited to Sports Illustrated to cover the college football scene. He eventually got the back page. (His protagonist in YOU GOTTA PLAY HURT writes the back page for a thinly disguised SI.) In covering the great sporting events Jenkins, ever irrepressible, makes no bones about his true loves: college football, especially Texas Christian University, and golf.

Jenkins’ golf hero is Ben Hogan, another Texas boy. For Jenkins the Golden Age of golf was as the mantle was passed from Hogan to Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus. He does not hide his disdain for one Tiger Woods, going as far as to reproduce his Golf Digest column “Nice (Not) Knowing You” in its entirety. “…spoiled, pampered, hidden, guarded, orchestrated, and entitled.” And that’s the nice stuff!

One my favorite anecdotes in the book features Pearl, a waitress in a Texas diner.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Dan Jenkins is somewhat of a polarizing character, seen by some of the more tightly-wound in the world of sports and sportswriting these days as a politically-incorrect dinosaur, but there's no denying his bonafides as a sportswriter. In a career that has spanned 65 years - so far - he has written about golf and college football, mostly, and other sports when called upon to do so, for the Fort Worth Press, Dallas Herald, Sports Illustrated, and Golf Digest, with a few years of providing a sports column to Playboy magazine as well. He has covered more of golf's major tournaments than any writer living, and speaking of that, he is one of only three golf writers to have been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame (the others being Herbert Warren Wind and Bernard Darwin) and the only one inducted, in his words, "while still vertical".

In "His Ownself: A Memoir", Jenkins reaches into his formidable memory and comes back with tales of his early life growing up in a sports-crazy town, Fort Worth, Texas, in a sports-crazy time, the 1930s. College football and golf were the most important sports of his formative years, with the TCU Horned Frogs in town and the SMU Mustangs just down the road in Dallas, not to mention that two of the greatest golfers ever to swing a club, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, were also Fort Worth native sons.

Jenkins began his career with the Fort Worth Press, starting on the job as an incoming college freshman. Over the years he met and wrote about all the greats - he got to know Ben Hogan while still a college golfer and sportswriter for the Forth Worth Press, and came to know the great man very well over the years.
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