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Nonfiction Reviews: Week of 11/26/2007

-- Publishers Weekly, 11/26/2007


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Elizabeth Devereaux
Nota Nudo

August, 8 2007
Oh, What a World (Without Us)
What a day it's been today! First thing came a deluge and then the oppressive heat. If not bibl...
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New York Anime Festival December 2007
Here are some photos from the New York Anime Festival
S&S CEO Jack Romanos' Retirement Party
At the retirement party for S&S CEO Jack Romanos, notables in attendance included Steve Riggio, John Ingram, Jane Friedman, Barbara Marcus, Larry Kirshbaum, Robert Gottlieb, Mel Berger and Irwyn Applebaum. Photos © Lisa Berg
The 2007 National Book Awards
Here are a few photos from this year's National Book Awards, which were held on November 14th, 2007.

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imageThe Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Livesimage
Neil Swidey. Public Affairs, $26 (384p) ISBN 978-1-58648-469-9

In this engaging book about Boston’s Charlestown High School basketball team, Swidey, a staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine, explains that “[b]eing part of the Charlestown program was no guarantee that a kid would become a success.... But dropping out of the program dramatically increased the odds that he wouldn’t.” Head coach Jack O’Brien benefited from the team aside from its gaudy won-loss record. Unmarried and with a shattered family history, O’Brien found that the “rigid team structure... offer[ed] the trappings of home.” Like a concerned parent, O’Brien worked year-round to keep his kids away from the overwhelming daily wave of crime and bad influences and into the security of a college-educated future. Swidey masterfully shows over the course of two seasons the struggle O’Brien and his players face in maintaining success on and off the court. The coach observes the lives of his two star players, Ridley Johnson and Jason “Hood” White, go in very different directions after they land out-of-state college scholarships. Swidey expertly examines the slippery slope of Charlestown’s success, tying it into Boston’s disastrous busing scandal and an underwhelming legal system that perpetuates crime, while he builds narrative momentum and details his subjects with the touch of a skilled novelist.
This is a prodigiously reported, compulsively readable book that readers
(sport fans or not) will savor. (Jan.)

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