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The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton: How Two Outsiders--One Black, the Other Jewish--Forged a Friendship and Made Sports History Hardcover – June 1, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Professional tennis players today can earn millions of dollars on the tour and off the court, but that was not the case 50 years ago when Gibson and Buxton were two of the top women's tennis players in the world. Coming from widely divergent backgrounds (Gibson from a poor black family in Harlem, Buxton from a well-to-do Jewish family in London), the two hooked up in the mid-1950s and became tennis partners and lifelong friends. While Gibson is certainly the better known of the two, Buxton led an interesting life in her own right, and Schoenfeld does a terrific job of capturing not only the individual personalities of Gibson and Buxton, but also the spirit of the time in which they played. Both were trailblazers, and although Gibson had the more difficult road to travel, fighting to overcome racism, sexism and financial concerns, Buxton was often snubbed in English tennis circles because of her religion. Still, it is Gibson, perhaps the best female athlete of her time, who is the star of Schoenfeld's often poignant work. Gibson worked hard to become a tennis champion, but her inability to earn a living from the sport plagued her throughout her life, forcing her to engage in some madcap business schemes. Schoenfeld's is an evenhanded portrait of Gibson (whose description is not always a flattering one), and his book is an important contribution in spreading the legacy of Gibson, a woman worth remembering.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

For an athlete whose accomplishments were comparable to those of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, it's surprising how little the sports world knows about Gibson, an African American who broke tennis' severe color barrier in 1950, then won singles titles at the French Open, the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon as well as several Grand Slam doubles championships. Where Robinson's gifts flourished through a stoic dignity, Gibson's were realized through the brashness of her personality. ("You guys aren't that good," she typically told one pair of doubles opponents at the umpire's chair.) But there was also Gibson's British alter ego: her Jewish doubles partner, Buxton, who was equally forthright in overcoming her own barriers but who brought to Gibson's superb game a much-needed sense of measure. Freelance sportswriter Schoenfeld perhaps tries a little too hard to conjoin Gibson and Buxton--their tennis partnership was relatively short lived--but still gives these two players, and their relationship, their due. Expect media attention, especially for the multicultural context. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad; 1st edition (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060526521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060526528
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, funny, touching and historically fascinating book. The Match brings alive the early days of women's tennis, the friendship of Angela and Althea, and most interestingly the lack of opportunity and challanges Jewish and black players faced. Schoenfeld engages the reader with a great balance of these women's personal history in fascinating places and times (post-war London for Angela and Harlem for Althea)with exciting tennis moments.
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Format: Hardcover
In this one book, we get a picture of life in the 50s, tennis as it was before everyone turned pro, what it was like to be an outsider in the "genteel" country club world and the enigmatic personality of Althea Gibson who overcame seemingly impossible odds. The friendship between Gibson and Buxton is both touching, amusing and sad. You'll remember this book long after you finish the last page.
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Format: Hardcover
This book takes the reader fully back to time we've forgotten, before sportswomen were millionaires at 14, and to two people who were remarkable for any time in history. The in-depth research on Althea and Angela not only reveals much of their amazing lives but gives us the true picture of the era, as well. I loved the stories of courage and friendship, the insights from competitors and family, and the excitement of the matches. Whether you read biographies or just love sports, this is the book to read!
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