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Too Soon to Panic Hardcover – April 1, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gordon Forbes emerged from South Africa in the '50s to the high life of what then passed as the international tennis circuit. He achieved his real notoriety off the court, though, with his rollicking 1978 cult standard, A Handful of Summers, an annal of that life. In Too Soon to Panic, he's finally loaded up his second serve. Forbes has certainly lost none of his good humor in the intervening years, even if the game he writes so knowingly about has. Still, with a raconteur like Forbes lending his wit to the proceedings as he lobs anecdote after anecdote, the net result is another ace.

From Library Journal

This is a lighthearted, humorous look at the professional tennis tour from a former player who was on the South Africa Davis Cup Team in the 1960s. In this, his second book about professional tennis (the first being A Handful of Summers, LJ 5/15/79), Forbes draws on his memories and observations to describe the players and tour in New York, Paris, Rome, and London in the 1950s through the 1990s. As a former player and a knowledgeable spectator, he brings a depth of understanding to the sport. However, this is not the book to read for a look at life in South Africa in the last 40 years. In fact, Forbes seems blissfully unaware of any political or racial problems there. Overall, as a book of memories this is mildly entertaining and humorous. Buy for demand.?J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558215662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558215665
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,179,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gordon Forbes struck gold in 1978 with the publication of A Handful of Summers, a joyous bacchanalian romp inside the international tennis tour in the 50s and 60s. His new book is more of an afterword to the original. Many of the same characters appear and there is little doubt that Mr. Forbes had a great time during is glory days. While not a disappointment, this novel is not really a novel. It has no plot, it has no rising action, it has no resolution--what it does have is a memory. A memory of times when great tennis players traveled the world for glory, not gobs of cash, and knocked back a few beers at the pub after the daily match was over. An older and wiser Mr. Forbes also pays touching tribute to his sister (wife of tennis starr Cliff Drysdale) who recently passed away. Although unspoken, the reader is compelled to understand that tennis is a vehicle whereby people can socialize together and form the bonds that are both personally important and enjoyable. No doubt, there are many funny anecdotes here (most involving his doubles partner known as Big Abie). However, Mr. Forbes does not seem to have his heart in the telling of them. Rather, he seems to be taking stock of his life and the things that matter to him. Still, it is well written and engaging. This will not disappoint anyone who plays tennis and loves the history of the game.
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Format: Hardcover
In Too Soon to Panic, South African tennis player Gordon Forbes interweaves tales of his life on the tennis circuit during the 1950s and 1960s with visits to the professional tennis tour of the 1990s. The book is a delightful reflection on his travels to the sport's greatest hangouts- Roland Garros, Wimbledon & Queen's Club, Manhattan, the Foro Italico. As Forbes returns to these venues his senses are stirred and he relates anecdotes, usually accompanied by diary entries or notes he made thirty years earlier. The result is a personal, thoughtful and entertaining read.
You will enjoy this book if you want to read stories about the days of amateur tennis, when the players did not receive prize money. Forbes and his friends are lively characters, none more so than Forbes' doubles sidekick, Abe Segal. His sketches of
Rosewall, Ashe, Torben Ulrich and others are also worth the price of the book. A typical yarn recounts the first ever meeting of the players union, presided over President Newcombe, Secretary Riessen and Treasurer Ashe (who kept the players'
$50 membership dues in his pocket.) My own imagination cannot come up with a scenario in which Sampras, Agassi, Safin, Hewitt meet to discuss anything.
Forbes is equally engaging on the subject of his childhood tennis exploits in South Africa, his sister Jean, and his second (and third) careers as a lighting salesman and tennis court manufacturer. The writing is very nice, and by the end of the book you feel as if you inhabited Forbes' memories for a while.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book follows the tennis "career" of Gordon Forbes, but it is more about life than tennis. It follows "A Handful of Summers," by the same author, which is the best book about tennis ever written. These two books and "Late to the Ball" are the Big Three in my opinion.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While A Handfull of Summers is the greatest book about tennis ever written, Too Soon To Panic comes in second.. The same flowing prose that Forbes used in his first hit is back and as smooth and poetic as ever. More stories and flashbacks to supplement those in the first book and the perspective of a man who has enjoyed life in and out of tennis to balance it make this sequel ALMOST the equal of its predecessor. For today's serious tennis player and fan it is imperative that he/she explore the world of tennis in its days just before open tennis in 1968 to understand that today's players are clearly missing the boat in their approach to the game that provides them their sustenance. This should be required reading for those joining the ATP Tour.
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