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The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life Paperback – June 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in the 1930s, this somewhat mystical novel concerns a pair of golf legends, a war hero and a mysterious and gifted caddie.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Anyone who can imagine a match like this is one must love golf. And that makes Steve Pressfield my friend." -- Harvey Penick
"Golf and mysticism. . .a dazzler and a thought-provoker." -- Los Angeles Times
"Good stuff. . .a philosophical fantasy imagined on a golf course, heavy with fog, storm, fireworks, and howling winds of supernatural forces." -- The New York Times Book Review
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The caddy, Bagger Vance, is our teacher & from him we learn the holiness of sport; the purity of competition 'purged of ego', and how beings at pLay are participants in the act most pleasing to God.
I have given friends this book, and they take it with them when - as I do- play golf.
Thank you Stephen Pressfield
On the one hand, I didn't want to have read all of Pressfield's books. There's a certain finality in that, kind of like having eaten ever last chocolate bar in the cupboard. Knowing that there was still one more chocolate bar, one more Pressfield book on the shelf, something to savor later, was kind of comforting. I didn't want to let go of that.
On the other hand, I have no interest in golf whatsoever. I don't play it. I don't watch it. I don't care for it. The closest I ever come to a golf course is when I ride my carbon-fiber bike during a training ride. As I pedal by, the golfers stare at me, I stare at them, we all silently wish that we could be in the other's shoes and then thank our lucky stars that we aren't. It's the little game we play in our heads just before nodding to one another and returning to our respective games. I pedal, they swing. And yet, in that moment, we find something that connects us. There is a glimmer of recognition, of understanding, of communion, even. I now understand what that something is.
So anyway, I waited. I put it off. And then last week, I couldn't put it off any longer. I had just read The Profession, The Warrior Ethos and Do The Work. I needed more. I guess I was ready, bare cupboard or not.
The Legend of Bagger Vance isn't like Pressfield's other books. It feels slightly less polished at times, closer to the idea, nearer to the source material, and that is one of the many ways in which this book shines. It combines his extraordinary story-teller's talent with insights into the human psyche in a wonderful back and forth of context and insight. The Legend of Bagger Vance is the rare book that both entertains thoroughly AND has something to say beyond the vague exploration of a theme. It goes far beyond that. This book doesn't just make you think. It teaches.
It also has the added charm of having been Pressfield's first.
It is perhaps precisely because I don't care for golf that I enjoyed it so much. Yes, it's about golf. But no, it isn't about golf at all. Everyone should read this book, regardless of their relationship to the sport itself, and then read it again and again, at least once a year if not more often. Read it once and you will understand why. It makes a terrific father's day gift. Give it to your son on his birthday and your brother on Christmas. Share it with your friends and co-workers. It's that kind of book. It may very well make a difference in someone's life.
As for my new problem (being out of new Steven Pressfield books to read), there's always his blog.
Don't be surprised if the next book I read is Gates of Fire, for the second time. Like much of Pressfield's work, once is not enough.
It's hood be read with golfing with god and maybe then you'll understand what u need to do the next time u go out there on the links.
I think a new movie needs to be made about the last part and i cna see it fasted with me-the old doc and two up and coming "tigers" someplace on the west coast in Oregon sheeep links
I’m a golf duffer, but was raised around the game, my father having won a Bob Hope Pro-Am, and my mother having won a Regional while we were stationed in Turkey. I always liked it, but never really took it up until I was stationed in Hawaii – and I only took it up to pass the time. I really fell in love with the game, but as all golfers know, I never really understood the almost mystical fascination of the game. I don’t think I ever will.
The Legend of Bagger Vance takes a hard run at revealing some of the underlying forces. The book equates “The Authentic Swing” with a person’s own True Self, which oftentimes gets lost in the press of life. When someone loses or walks away from themselves, they often lose sight of their own purpose, who they actually are. This is book is ostensibly about golf, but moreover, I saw it as a book about being true to yourself, to your life, and the people in it.
This is a very good book. It makes me at once want to read the classics (Wordsworth – “trailing clouds of glory” – pg. 70), and go out on the course (evolution of the swing, the Self – pgs. 71, 72). The feeling of being out in the open air, in nature, striving hard to relax into yourself is almost addictive.
The character development, narrative device, plot, and just good storytelling brought me deep into the world of Rannulf Junah, Bagger Vance, and the world of Golf and Self, as seen through the eyes of the young Hardison Greaves.
For most of the book (first and last parts), it is an enthralling book that completely drew me in. I was on the links with them, watching the external, and more interestingly, the internal struggles. I could see them, feel them, I was one of them. As a combat vet myself, I completely empathized with Junna’s struggle to get past all the horror of war and try to come to grips with himself in the rest of the book, but the center part of the book goes too far down the metaphysical rabbit hole for me. It distracted me from what I saw as the main theme, and pushed me back out of the pages into just reading a book. The departure into a realm wherein the characters were not just in a mystical, internal place during their struggles, but actually regressed through time, space and reality into the distant past and other spiritual or cosmic planes completely threw me off the story, and reminded me of some ‘60’s trip in the middle of a ‘20’s struggle for self.
Despite what appeared to be a distracting departure, this book is well worth the read. Thoroughly enjoyable, deeply introspective, and a strong reminder of the constant struggle with the adversity of life and trauma to retain – or find – your one, true Self.