A newsmaking book that deserves a hearing, though Miller could have done more to make amends.

JUMP

MY SECRET JOURNEY FROM THE STREETS TO THE BOARDROOM

A searching memoir of business, professional sports, and murder.

Miller, the chairman of Nike’s Jordan Brand, confesses to a crime that has haunted him for nearly 60 years: As a teenage gang member on the west side of Philadelphia, he killed a member of a rival gang in an act of retaliation. That he does not name his victim has provoked controversy, and readers may wonder, if this book is an act of contrition at least in part, why he didn’t do so. However, the author writes that his book has a different purpose. “The only reason for me to narrate my life is that hopefully my story can inspire…young people who are in a rough environment and all they can see is what’s going on around them.” There’s inspiration aplenty, and if Miller made numerous missteps as a youth, which earned him prison time not just for the killing, but also for drug dealing and other crimes, he also took opportunity and ran with it. As he writes, he had the opportunity behind bars to earn college credit, and since he was good with numbers, he turned to accounting. Exuding confidence without swagger, he confessed his crimes to an early interviewer, who revoked the firm’s offer letter, saying, “I can’t take a chance on one of our clients coming back to me with this if something were to happen down the line.” Resolved to keep his past secret thereafter, Miller rose from accountant at a Campbell Soup factory to president of the Jordan Brand, with time out to head the Portland Trail Blazers—known then as the “Jail Blazers” since many of its players had also done time. Perhaps the greatest motivational moment in the book is when Miller, jailed yet again as a youth, resolves, “I am gonna learn my way out,” which he’s since paid forward through educational philanthropy.

A newsmaking book that deserves a hearing, though Miller could have done more to make amends.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-299981-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

UNGUARDED

The Chicago Bulls stalwart tells all—and then some.

Hall of Famer Pippen opens with a long complaint: Yes, he’s a legend, but he got short shrift in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, The Last Dance. Given that Jordan emerges as someone not quite friend enough to qualify as a frenemy, even though teammates for many years, the maltreatment is understandable. This book, Pippen allows, is his retort to a man who “was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.” Coming from a hardscrabble little town in Arkansas and playing for a small college, Pippen enjoyed an unlikely rise to NBA stardom. He played alongside and against some of the greats, of whom he writes appreciatively (even Jordan). Readers will gain insight into the lives of characters such as Dennis Rodman, who “possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ,” and into the behind-the-scenes work that led to the Bulls dynasty, which ended only because, Pippen charges, the team’s management was so inept. Looking back on his early years, Pippen advocates paying college athletes. “Don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou student-athlete nonsense,” he writes. “These young men—and women—are athletes first, not students, and make up the labor that generates fortunes for their schools. They are, for lack of a better term, slaves.” The author also writes evenhandedly of the world outside basketball: “No matter how many championships I have won, and millions I have earned, I never forget the color of my skin and that some people in this world hate me just because of that.” Overall, the memoir is closely observed and uncommonly modest, given Pippen’s many successes, and it moves as swiftly as a playoff game.

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-19-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A quiet delight of a book.

GRANDMA GATEWOOD'S WALK

THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO SAVED THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

A journalist’s biography of the unassuming but gutsy 67-year-old Ohio grandmother who became the first person to walk all 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail three times.

When Emma Gatewood (1887–1983) first decided she would hike the A.T., she told no one what she planned to do—not even her 11 children or 23 grandchildren. Instead, she quietly slipped away from her home in May 1955 and began her walk at the southern terminus of the trail in Georgia. Accomplishing this feat—which she often described as “a good lark”—was enough for her. Tampa Bay Times staff writer Montgomery tells the story of Gatewood’s first hike and those that followed, interweaving the story with the heartbreaking details of her earlier life. He suggests that this woman, who eventually came to be known as “Queen of the Forest,” was far from the eccentric others claimed she was. Instead, Montgomery posits that this celebrated hiker used long-distance walking to help her come to terms with a dark secret. At 18, Gatewood married a man she later discovered had a violent temper and an insatiable sexual appetite. Despite repeated beatings over 30 years, she remained with him until he nearly killed her. Afterward, she lived happily with her children for almost 20 years. Montgomery suggests that an article in National Geographic may have been what first inspired Gatewood to hike the trail. However, as her remarkable trek demonstrated, while the A.T. was as beautiful as the magazine claimed, it was also in sore need of maintenance. Gatewood’s exploits, which would later include walking the Oregon Trail, not only brought national attention to the state of hikers’ trails across a nation obsessed with cars and newly crisscrossed with highways; it also made Americans more aware of the joys of walking and of nature itself.

A quiet delight of a book.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61374-718-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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