The Assist by Neil Swidey Preorder the book at Read an excerpt from the book image The Charlestown boys basketball team Hoops, hope, and the game of their lives
Neil Swidey
Photo by Suzanne Kreiter

As a staff writer for The Boston Globe Magazine, Neil Swidey has immersed himself in the love lives of seniors in retirement communities, followed the journey of a 32-year-old lawyer becoming a nun, and covered the Arab world during the run-up to the Iraq war. His profile subjects have ranged from former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to Theo Epstein, the general manager who traded him, from the brother of Osama bin Laden to the one American charged with putting a price tag on each of the lives lost on September 11th. Among his contributions to coverage of the 2008 presidential race was unearthing the story of how Mitt Romney once strapped his dog Seamus to the roof of the family station wagon for a drive to Canada (and Seamus's ensuing gastric distress).

His wide-ranging writing has won the National Headliner Award and been featured in several anthologies. His story on Mitt and George Romney, entitled "The Lessons of the Father," appears in The Best American Political Writing 2007, and a piece on an embezzling bookkeeper, entitled "The Inside Job," appears in The The Best American Crime Reporting 2007. Previously, "What Makes People Gay?" appeared in The Best American Science Writing 2006, and "The Self-Destruction of an M.D." in The Best American Crime Writing 2005.

But he says no story has stayed with him more than the Charlestown basketball team, so he stayed with it, making it the subject of his first book. "Thirty years ago, the spotlight of the nation was on Charlestown High School, as an epic struggle about race and class and fairness unfolded," he says. "For me, the lives at the center of this book prove how much more fascinating - and real - the story can become when everyone else has stopped paying attention."

A native of Somerset, Mass., and a graduate of Tufts University, he lives outside Boston with his wife and three daughters.

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Neil's literary agent is:
Sarah Chalfant
The Wylie Agency

250 West 57th Street,
Suite 2114, New York, NY 10107
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