Exemplary sports journalism that examines the front office and dueling egos as much as the gridiron.

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IT'S BETTER TO BE FEARED

THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS DYNASTY AND THE PURSUIT OF GREATNESS

A deep dive into the modern New England Patriots, the most successful NFL franchise of the past 20 years.

As a quarterback, Tom Brady has always been known for his public face, one of confidence, optimism, and overall good cheer. There are darker moments, writes ESPN correspondent Wickersham, and numerous episodes where team player Brady showed an overinflated ego. “Fans knew little about his demons and insecurities,” he writes, “and the fact that low-rung staffers—invisible servants—seemed to hold a level of contempt for Brady not only revealed him as a perfectionist who couldn’t handle mistakes, but also as a man keenly aware of the discrepancy in stature.” That discrepancy owed to a long, tortuous relationship with head coach Bill Belichick, emotionally aloof even as Brady was emotionally needy, and of a mindset that held that football players, no matter how brilliant, were mere employees. For all the head-butting, Brady and Belichick crafted a team that, though not without problems, developed an enviable record. Wickersham’s fly-on-the-wall accounts are fascinating, but he’s at his best when he explains, carefully and evenhandedly, how the business of football works. He also serves up the best account of “Deflategate,” the scandal whereby it was revealed that Brady, or at least his handlers, played with a game ball that was outside league specifications. Brady paid for the transgression with public humiliation, and so did Belichick, who traversed two narratives: “One said he was football’s smartest and most prepared coach; the other held that he would cross any line to win.” Brady’s anger that Patriots management didn’t shield him was one of many reasons that he left the team in 2020. As Wickersham suggests, now the narrative will turn to which of the two was most responsible for the Pats’ phenomenal run.

Exemplary sports journalism that examines the front office and dueling egos as much as the gridiron.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63149-823-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

THE DEFENSE LAWYER

THE BARRY SLOTNICK STORY

The Patterson publishing machine clanks its way into the nonfiction aisles in this lumbering courtroom drama.

Barry Slotnick made a considerable fortune and reputation as a defense attorney who had a long list of controversial clients, including mob boss John Gotti and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. An “urbane lawyer known for his twenty-five-hundred-dollar Fioravanti suits, he was not unacquainted with violence,” write Patterson and Wallace. One of his early cases, indeed, involved a group of Jewish Defense League members who allegedly blew up a Broadway producer’s office, killing a woman who worked there. Slotnick’s defense was a standard confuse-the-jury ploy, but it worked. He put similar tactics to work in his defense of Bernhard Goetz, the “subway shooter” whose trial made international news. The authors open after that trial had concluded in yet another Slotnick win, and with a sensational incident: He was attacked by a masked man who beat him with a baseball bat. The evidence is sketchy, but it seems to place the attack in the hands of organized crime—perhaps even Gotti himself. No matter: Slotnick, “who saw himself as the foe of the all-powerful government” and “liberty’s last champion,” was soon back to representing clients including Radovan Karadžić, the murderous Bosnian Serb who was eventually imprisoned for having committed genocide; Dewi Sukarno, the widow of Indonesia’s similarly bloodstained president, “arrested for slashing the face of a fellow socialite with a broken champagne glass at a party in Aspen”; and Melania Trump, who had chosen Slotnick “to handle her prenup.” In the hands of a John Grisham, the story might have come to life, but while Patterson does a serviceable if cliché-ridden job of recounting Slotnick’s career, he fails to give readers much reason to admire the man.

For Patterson fans who can’t get enough.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49437-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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