A deeply reported and well-told account of a legendary day on the gridiron.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO BOWL

BRAM KOHLHAUSEN'S EPIC TCU COMEBACK

In his latest work of sports reportage, former Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Reeves recounts one of the greatest comebacks in the modern history of college football.

On Jan. 2, 2016, Texas Christian University’s powerhouse Horned Frogs football team was preparing to face the University of Oregon Ducks in the nationally televised Alamo Bowl. TCU’s chances were good: Their starting quarterback, Trevone Boykin, was one of the best in the school’s history and a Heisman Trophy candidate. Then, three days before the game, Boykin was arrested for punching a San Antonio cop during a brawl at the city’s River Walk. With Boykin suspended, the team had no choice but to turn to his backup, a walk-on senior named Bram Kohlhausen who hadn’t started a single game in his college career. The day of the bowl was cold and rainy, and by halftime, Oregon was beating TCU 31-0. Head coach Gary Patterson assembled the team—and his panicking quarterback—for a pep talk, but “the only thing on Bram’s mind at that moment was the dawning realization that his college career was over.” Little did Bram know that he was about to lead TCU in one of the most incredible comebacks in bowl history, forcing triple overtime and becoming a legend in the school’s storied football program. Reeves recounts the events in the gripping prose of a practiced storyteller, capturing the psychologies of the individuals involved as well as that of the audience at large: “It wasn’t until the Frogs’ offense trotted out for the first series of the second half that fans in the stands realized Bram Kohlhausen was still in at quarterback. There was an audible rumble as this realization sank into the collective consciousness. This guy again?” Reeves unspools the backstory of Bram—who interestingly, was named after Bram Stoker, the famed author of Dracula, which his mother was reading while pregnant with him—and recounts his unlikely rise to prominence. Even readers who have no affiliation with TCU will find themselves caught up in this tale of triumph.

A deeply reported and well-told account of a legendary day on the gridiron.

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-892588-69-2

Page Count: 149

Publisher: Berkeley Place Books

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

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

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

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

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