Golf and sports fans will enjoy this feisty, in-depth portrait.



A probing biography of the enigmatic golfer.

“[Phil] Mickelson has spent his career charming, and manipulating, the media,” writes veteran Sports Illustrated writer Shipnuck, author of The Battle for Augusta National, near the end of this eye-opening portrait of a superstar athlete who “is many things, but never boring.” In his latest book, the author seeks “to reconcile the multitudes within Mickelson”—extraordinary golfer, smart ass, loving husband, gambler, consummate professional. Shipnuck chronicles his subject’s life and game in great detail, employing excellent insider stories and quotes from a wide range of players. Early on, notes the author, Mickelson honed his short-game skills (arguably the best ever) in his backyard. “This little practice green, built and lovingly maintained by Phil’s dad, is where genius was made, not born,” writes Shipnuck, who touches all the bases when describing Mickelson’s burgeoning career, from qualifying for a PGA tournament during high school to joining Jack Nicklaus as the only other player to win the U.S. Amateur and the NCAA championship in the same year. Mickelson won his first tournament in 1991, as an amateur, and turned pro in 1992, the same year he met his future wife, Amy. As Shipnuck wryly notes, he took special pleasure in the lucrative pre-tournament gambling games and then unleashed his relentless “bomb ’n’ gouge” playing style. The author also digs into the rivalry with Tiger Woods, noting how its “antipathy was born on the playing fields of junior golf.” Shipnuck keeps it lively as he recounts Mickelson’s many wins—including his first Masters in 2004 and a much sought-after British Open, in 2013—and his election to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. The author doesn’t shy away from his subject’s dark side, chronicling his nasty breakup with his longtime caddie, Bones Mackay, as well as “very public gambling debts [and] shady Mob-adjacent associates.”

Golf and sports fans will enjoy this feisty, in-depth portrait.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4767-9709-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.


Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet