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Penguin Books (2019-04-02)
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Sports & Active outdoor recreation


Sports Stories and Other Serious Business

by Thompson, Wright

From one of America's most beloved sportswriters, a collection of true stories about the dream of greatness and its cost in the world of sports.

There is only one Wright Thompson. He is, as they say, famous if you know who he is: his work includes the most read articles in the history of ESPN (and it's not even close) and has been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series ten times, and he counts John Grisham and Richard Ford among his ardent admirers (see back of book). But to say his pieces are about sports, while true as far as it goes, is like saying Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is a book about a cattle drive.
Wright Thompson figures people out. He jimmies the lock to the furnaces inside the people he profiles and does an analysis of the fuel that fires their ambition. Whether it be Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Pat Riley or Urban Meyer, he strips the away the self-serving myths and fantasies to reveal his characters in full. There are fascinating common denominators: it may not be the case that every single great performer or coach had a complex relationship with his father, but it can sure seem that way. And there is much marvelous local knowledge: about specific sports, and times and places, and people.

Ludicrously entertaining and often powerfully moving, The Cost of These Dreams is an ode to the reporter's art, and a celebration of true greatness and the high price that it exacts.

Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

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Thompson's abundant strengths as a long-form journalist are evident on nearly every page... Richly researched and textured writing that reveals the humanity of the author's subjects.

Review: Kirkus Reviews

Mississippi native Wright Thompson is not only the best active sportswriter in America but also one of the best writers, period. This collection compiles his greatest pieces.

Review: Men’s Journal

Wright is a supremely gifted writer who cuts through the mythology with a scalpel.

Review: The National Book Review

Wright Thompson performs that nifty bit of sports writing hoodoo, virtually out of vogue today: he subordinates self to story. Stylishly, intelligently, incisively, deftly he keeps his priorities straight. It's why I read him.

Quote: Richard Ford

Thompson demonstrates his talent, deftly portraying a diverse cast of athletes and coaches. ... [He] also brilliantly reprises the riots and other events surrounding James Meredith's enrollment at Ole Miss in 1962 and the school's outstanding football team during that tumultuous year.

Review: Booklist

UK: Blink Publishing

Quote: Black

Wright Thompson's stories are so full of rich characters, bad actors, heroes, drama, suffering, courage, conflict, and vivid detail that I sometimes think he's working my side of the street - the world of fiction.

Quote: John Grisham

[Thompson] demonstrates his storytelling talents by probing the personalities of some of the biggest names in sports, both past and present, including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Ted Williams, and Bear Bryant.

Review: Christian Science Monitor

THE COST OF THESE DREAMS has debuted at #4 on The New York Times best sellers list (paperback list) for the week of April 21st.

Quote: Black

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