Tag Archives: book

Ashley Brown, Author of ‘Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson’

Rick talks with University of Wisconsin professor and author, Ashley Brown this week.

She’s the author of Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson.

The most comprehensive biography of Althea Gibson, set against the major historical developments of the twentieth century
Based on previously unpublished archival sources, news media accounts, and oral histories
A nuanced examination of a woman’s experience as an elite athlete
Places a woman at the center of sports integration

From her start playing paddle tennis on the streets of Harlem as a young teenager to her eleven Grand Slam tennis wins to her professional golf career, Althea Gibson became the most famous black sportswoman of the mid-twentieth century. In her unprecedented athletic career, she was the first African American to win titles at the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

In this comprehensive biography, Ashley Brown narrates the public career and private struggles of Althea Gibson (1927-2003). Based on extensive archival work and oral histories, Serving Herself sets Gibson’s life and choices against the backdrop of the Great Migration, Jim Crow racism, the integration of American sports, the civil rights movement, the Cold War, and second wave feminism. Throughout her life Gibson continuously negotiated the expectations of her supporters and adversaries, including her patrons in the black-led American Tennis Association, the white-led United States Lawn Tennis Association, and the media, particularly the Black press and community’s expectations that she selflessly serve as a representative of her race. An incredibly talented, ultra-competitive, and not always likeable athlete, Gibson wanted to be treated as an individual first and foremost, not as a member of a specific race or gender. She was reluctant to speak openly about the indignities and prejudices she navigated as an African American woman, though she faced numerous institutional and societal barriers in achieving her goals. She frequently bucked conventional norms of femininity and put her career ahead of romantic relationships, making her personal life the subject of constant scrutiny and rumors. Despite her major wins and international recognition, including a ticker tape parade in New York City and the covers of Sports Illustrated and Time, Gibson endeavored to find commercial sponsorship and permanent economic stability. Committed to self-sufficiency, she pivoted from the elite amateur tennis circuit to State Department-sponsored goodwill tours, attempts to find success as a singer and Hollywood actress, the professional golf circuit, a tour with the Harlem Globetrotters and her own professional tennis tour, coaching, teaching children at tennis clinics, and a stint as New Jersey Athletics Commissioner. As she struggled to support herself in old age, she was left with disappointment, recounting her past achievements decades before female tennis players were able to garner substantial earnings.

A compelling life and times portrait, Serving Herself offers a revealing look at the rise and fall of a fiercely independent trailblazer who satisfied her own needs and simultaneously set a pathbreaking course for Black athletes.


Richard Kaufman, ‘PLAYED: The Games of the 1936 Berlin Olympics’

As anticipation builds for the 2024 Olympics, a new book from Glenn Allen and Richard Kaufman takes readers back to the contentious atmosphere surrounding the Summer Games hosted by the Nazi regime, when the nations of the world had a chance to turn their backs on Hitler’s propaganda-laden spectacle — but didn’t. Their book, PLAYED: The Games of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, brings to life pivotal characters, both good and bad, to depict a cautionary story that serves to warn the modern era that history must not repeat itself.

Kaufman joins Rick this week.

Based on real stories and real people involved in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, PLAYED plunges readers into a compelling, fictionalized account of the insanity and hysteria that unfolded across Germany, the United States and in much of the world from 1931 through 1936.

At the center of the controversy in the U.S. is American Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage. Unmoved by the new Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish doctrines, Brundage leads the fight to participate in the 1936 Berlin Games after much debate of a U.S. boycott. Brundage desperately wants to be on the International Olympic Committee. If he doesn’t get the Americans to Berlin, he can kiss that dream goodbye.

When the vote is decided in Brundage’s favor, AP Sports Editor Alan J. Gould, friend and champion of the athletes, travels to Berlin to cover all of the “games” being played. Through his eyes readers see the machinations of Brundage’s complicity with the Nazis, the tenacity of the proud American athletes and the extreme pressure from the Nazis on their German athletes. Their stories, heartbreaking and tragic, give rise to feats of heroism that go beyond the playing field.

Along the way readers meet some of the most famous people of the time: Mae West, Charlie Chaplin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Goebbels, Leni Riefenstahl, Eva Braun and the madman himself, who vowed to “make Germany great again,” Adolf Hitler.

“Of course, we can’t go back in time and change history insomuch as we can change the outcome of a sporting event,” the authors added. “But we’re obligated to study history because it teaches us how to move forward. At least we hope it does.”

About the Authors

Richard Kaufman and Glenn Allen have been writing together for over 25 years. They have numerous projects in development, including scripted feature films, docuseries, television series, and have co-written and produced two award-winning independent films, all under the banner Green Bandana, a TV/film development company the two co-created in 2015.

Book: PLAYED: The Games of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Website(s): www.greenbandana.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richard.a.kaufman

Paige Watts, Atlanta Author and ‘What’s With Atlanta?’

Rick talks with Atlanta author and author of the new book: What’s With Atlanta?

Paige Watts

Why is every street in Atlanta named “Peachtree”? What do Atlantans mean when they say “Inside the Perimeter” or “Outside the Perimeter”? Why can’t Atlanta handle a little snow? Why do locals hate it when you call it “Hotlanta”? These and many of your other burning questions about life in Atlanta make up What’s With Atlanta?, a guide to some of the most unique aspects of Georgia’s capital city.

Author Paige Watts dives deep into the history and culture of Atlanta, from its beginnings as a railroad hub to its status as “Hollywood of the South.” Atlanta is full of one-of-a-kind attractions, unique festivals and traditions, architectural marvels, and a mix of Southern comfort food and international cuisines that make it a city unlike any other.

Want to know how Atlanta became the home of the Braves or what part fried chicken played in the Civil Rights Movement? This book will satisfy your curiosity about all the little things that make Atlanta tick and all the big events that shaped the city’s history. Whether you’re a local or are just passing through, a tourist or a life-long resident, this entertaining guide will answer all these questions and more.

Seasoned travel writer and Atlanta local Paige Watts has spent a decade writing about all things travel. She chronicles her journeys on her blog, PaigeMindsTheGap.com, where she highlights the joys of visiting Southern destinations. In addition to her blog, Paige has written for a number of online and print publications, including the Culture Trip, Matador Network, Epicure & Culture, MSN, and Travel the South. She received a double Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Evansville in Creative Writing and Literature, with a minor in International Studies.

Here’s some talking points from the book:

Atlanta has over 70 streets with “Peachtree” in the name.

Atlanta was founded as the end of a train line, which is where it got its original name Terminus.

Atlanta is a haven of street art with over 200 murals.

Atlanta Pride started as a 100-person rally and has grown to a massive month-long celebration in October.

The Fox Theatre was originally built in the 1920s as the headquarters for Atlanta’s Shriners organization.

Atlanta is at the center of Georgia’s film industry, earning it the nickname “Hollywood of the South” – In 2016, there were more major films made in Georgia than in California.

Buford Highway has more than 1,000 immigrant-owned businesses, more than 100 of which are restaurants.

The Big Chicken, Marietta’s beloved landmark, is so distinct that pilots use the building as a reference point when landing.

The Braves are the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in the country.

Atlanta has the largest concentration of colleges and universities in the South.

Charles McEnerney, ‘Dear Graduate’

A little book that could pay big dividends for the new or old graduate in your life.

Dear Graduate asks a series of questions of the reader—about how they want to spend their lives and what values they’ll develop, evolving to bigger questions about how they act in the world and who they want to become and what they will achieve. It’s 33 questions in all. Even for many athletes I deal with that have a hard time realizing how they fit in to the world after graduation.

Laura Albert (aka JT LeRoy, author of Sarah) called Dear Graduate, “A non-interrogation, subtle and sweet guiding system for any recent graduate.” We think she nailed it.

Dear Graduate is hardcover, 6”x 6”, and 88-pages of text and bright colors, starting with a page for a note to the graduate.

All at www.deargraduatebook.com

This year, Dear Graduate was selected by Uncommon Goods!

Rick talks to the author, Charles McEnerney.

The book started from a conversation with my partner Adam Larson as I was talking to him about my two children, my son who was graduating NuVu Studio School in Cambridge (and will enter MassArt this fall!) and my daughter Adacie McEnerney who will graduate Boston University in three weeks!

We realized that the question we’ve all been asking each other for so many years, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” probably isn’t the greatest of questions. It assumes the aspiration is a title instead of a passion or a personal mission.

We thought a better question was, “What will you DO when you grow up?” That led to more questions, and then more questions.

The idea is to celebrate all kinds of work and all kinds of people. Dear Graduate gives the reader a moment to stop and think deliberately about the decisions and life ahead.

At $15.99, it is not much more than a greeting card these days and makes a great gift for high school or college graduates, or even kindergarten or elementary school.Or it’s great for anyone!

Jay Margolis, ‘My Maril: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Hollywood, and Me’

Rick talks to author, Jay Margolis, this week.

The book is ‘My Maril: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Hollywood, and Me’

The movie star, the singer, the sex symbol, the so-called “dumb blonde” – all things that Marilyn Monroe is known as, and yet her story goes far beyond that. How did she build her career in Hollywood? Who was she close to – her family, her friends, her lovers – and who was really there for her? Was a successful young woman’s life cut short by suicide, or is there more to the story? Most importantly, who really was Marilyn Monroe? My Maril: Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Hollywood, and Me reveals the intimate details of the star’s life and the environment of Hollywood and the United States at the peak of Marilyn Monroe’s career.

Terry Karger, granddaughter of Metro Pictures co-founder Maxwell Karger and the daughter of Fred Karger (Marilyn’s lover and vocal coach), recounts her experience with Hollywood and a young Marilyn Monroe. Coauthored by New York Times best-selling author Jay Margolis, My Maril begins with a young Terry Karger meeting Marilyn, affectionately nicknamed “Maril” by the Karger family, for the first time as her father’s new girlfriend. Marilyn becomes Terry’s babysitter, and she serves as a friend and sister-esque figure in the young girl’s life. Terry’s version of Marilyn is personal – she is kind, affectionate, smart, and mischievous, strikingly different to the way she was portrayed by the media. This book is a comprehensive account of Marilyn’s entire life, as well as a behind-the-scenes glance into other prominent public figures, such as Ronald Reagan, that Terry Karger knew personally.


Robert W. Cohen, ‘The 50 Greatest Players in Braves History’

The 50 Greatest Players in Braves History examines the careers of the 50 men who made the greatest impact on one of Major League Baseball’s oldest and most iconic franchises. Using as measuring sticks the degree to which they impacted the fortunes of the team, the extent to which they added to the Braves legacy—in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta—and the levels of statistical compilation and overall dominance they attained while wearing a Braves uniform, The 50 Greatest Players in Braves History ranks, from 1 to 50, the top 50 players in team history.

Rick talks with the author, Robert Cohen about this great book.

Cohen was born in the Bronx, New York in 1956. He grew up just a few miles from Yankee Stadium, rooting for the Yankees and New York Football Giants. After spending many years working in a large corporate environment, he began writing professionally in 2004. His first published work, “A Team For The Ages: Baseball’s All-Time All-Star Team” clearly reflects his great love of the game of baseball, and also his vast knowledge of the sport.