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1. The Best of Plimpton
2. The Bogey Man: A Month on the
3. Shadow Box: An Amateur in the
4. George, Being George: George Plimpton's
5. Truman Capote: In Which Various
6. Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String
7. The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium
8. Open Net: A Professional Amateur
9. Out of My League: The Classic
10. George, Being George: George Plimpton's
12. Mad Ducks and Bears
13. Pet Peeves: Or Whatever Happened
14. The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair:
15. Writers at Work: Seventh Series
16. Breaking 90 with Johnny Miller:
17. Writers at Work 08: The Paris
18. Writers at Work 09: The Paris
19. George Plimpton on Sports
20. TITAN - audio book - 4 CASSETTES

1. The Best of Plimpton
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 368 Pages (1994-01-19)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$4.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871135035
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Featuring such classic pieces as "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch" and "The Plimpton Small-Ball Theory of Sports Writing"--the smaller the ball the better the writing--this is a rich mix of profiles, essays, and articles from a most talented and unique American literary personality. Photographs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Plimpton Knows Best
George Plimpton, an accomplished writer and a fine raconteur, has gathered in this book all of his writings that he considered to be his best and each story is superb. His recounting of taking Marianne Moore to the baseball game is one of the most finely-crafted portraits of both Moore and Plimpton that I have had the pleasure of reading.Interestingly enough, the second account of meeting with Marianne is not quite as jewel-like.If you read only one item in the book, I recommend "Music: An Address at a New York Philharmonic Lunch,"It paints some hilarious images in my mind that even when I've stopped crying from laughing so hard only two hours later I'd think of some image again and start laughing. Thank you, George Plimpton and Leonard Bernstein for the "Winnipeg Effect".

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent compendium
I rank Plimpton as a top five non-fiction writer of the last half century. Unlike a considerable number of these new age "creative non-fiction" writers, his ego is not all over the page nor did he have to stretch to introduce a literary flair to his prose. Plimption can make seemingly boring subjects such as bird counting contests or fireworks museums endlessly fascinating. He also does ample justice to racy subjects such as swinger conventions and his stay at the playboy mansion.

Plimpton's writing is not pretentious and he always shows considerable respect and humor towards his subjects. A great writer and a great man.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, insightful author
Plimpton's writings tend to be scattered in numerous different and dissimilar publications, thus making an anthology like this particularly useful.

Plimpton is perhaps best known for his "participatoryjournalism," where he writes about his amateur forays into professionalworlds, mostly of an athletic nature.But his appeal would be minimal ifthere were not a lot more to his writing than just this onegimmick.

Certainly he handles that particular schtick very well. Sometimes he proves reasonably competent as the "amateur professional," andsometimes things deteriorate into what Hemingway called "the dark side ofthe moon of Walter Mitty," but at all times his writing is crisp andinsightful.He is decidedly not an amateur when it comes to his powers ofobservation, interpretation, and articulation.

Take, for instance, hisdiscovery that playing in a symphony orchestra is inherently more stressfulthan participating in professional sports in at least one importantrespect, namely that in sports, mistakes and failures-as much as they mightmake the athlete feel momentarily embarrassed, as much as they might causethe coach to go into a tirade, and as much as they might cause fans to booand criticize-are a part of the game.Every athlete frequently throwsincompletions, misses free throws, strikes out, etc.The superstars arethose who fail slightly less often than others.But mess up just onceplaying in a symphony for a perfectionist conductor like Leonard Bernsteinand you'll find out pretty quickly that the level of tolerance for errorsin that field is quite different indeed.The book is full of interestinginsights like this.

But I found that the other writings, on average, heldmy interest at least as well as the "amateur professional" participatorywritings.There were pieces that, based on the subject matter, I mighthave guessed would be among the least interesting to me, that insteadturned out to be among my favorites.Those pleasant surprises included twopieces about family and children-one about JFK playing with daughterCaroline on the beach in 1962, and one about Plimpton's experience oftaking his own daughter to see his alma mater Harvard's classic rivalryfootball game against Yale.Also intriguing was a piece on poet MarianneMoore that introduced the reader to her unconventional mental world by,among other things, revealing the sorts of things she notices at sportingevents.I could cite several other examples.

I do have some minorquibbles with how the book is organized.The pieces are not consistentlyidentified in terms of when the events in question occurred, when the pieceitself originally appeared in print, in what publication it was originallypublished, whether the version of the piece in the book is the same as theoriginal or has been altered, etc.Sometimes this type of information isstated, sometimes it can be inferred, and sometimes not even that.Some ofthe pieces have separate introductions; some do not.Overall, I would haveappreciated a little more clarity and a little more backgroundinformation.

But there is far more to like than dislike about this book,many gems amongst the three dozen or so selections.It's a fine book forthe sports fan with some intellect and depth, but it deserves a wideraudience than just sports fans.I'd rate it no worse than a high 3 or low4. ... Read more

2. The Bogey Man: A Month on the PGA Tour
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 272 Pages (2010-01-26)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599218070
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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What happens when a weekend athlete - of average skill at best - joins the professional golf circuit? George Plimpton, who had earlier tried out for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (in Paper Lion) and got a chance to pitch to a team of major-league all-stars in Yankee Stadium (in Out of My League), spent a month of self-imposed torture on the tour -- meeting amateurs, pros, caddies, officials fans, and hangers-on. In The Bogey Man we find golf legends, adventurers, stroke-saving theories, superstitions, and other golfing lore, and best of all, Plimpton's thoughts and experiences -- frustrating, humbling, and, sometimes, thrilling -- from the first tee to the last green. This intriguing classic, which remains one of the wittiest books ever written on golf, features Arnold Palmer, Dow Finsterwald, Walter Hagan, and many other golf greats and eccentrics, all doing what they do best.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Insight into the Game
This is not a "how to do" book but an insight into the world of golf as seen through the eyes, or shall I say words,of George Plimpton. It's a great read, and as of this writing, I'm almost half way through.
I am enjoying this book, and as a new golfer, I am pleased to realize my errors are not mine alone.

If you like and hate golf this is the book for you. Read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Charming
Back way back when there were East Coast types that placed a high premium on what the English would call the glory of amateurism. So slip on that lime sports jacket and checked pink pants combo your grandpa used to wear, pour yourself a cocktail and meander out by the pool for some light evening conversation. Full of classic anecdotes like the one where two golfers are driving cross country and the one riding shotgun has a driver in his hand. Sometimes when they stop at a crossroads he likes to get out and take a few swings. Well out he gets one time and the driver doesn't notice, just takes off for about hundred clicks before he turns back.......

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent get-well gift
As old as it is, this is still an excellent get-well gift for men who lived and died with the Palmer et.al. era.One does not even have to be an avid golfer to enjoy the book.Only a casual knowledge of the game isneeded.I feel this was the best of Plimpton's books.

4-0 out of 5 stars A refreshing look at the PGA Tour of the 60's from a hacker
Plimpton doesn't pretend to be anything other than what he is: a priveleged amateur of questionable skill who is afforded the opportunity to play in several west coast pro-ams with various professionals. He relates many anecdotes, both first and second hand, several of which are hilarious insights into a tour which hadn't, at this juncture, reached the sophistication which characterizes its status today. Plimton's typical self-effacing style makes this an enjoyable read. ... Read more

3. Shadow Box: An Amateur in the Ring
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-01-26)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599218100
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Stepping into the ring against light-heavyweight champion Archie Moore, George Plimpton pauses to wonder what ever induced him to became a participatory journalist. Bloodied but unbowed, he holds his own in the bout - and brings back this timeless book on boxing and its devotees, among them Ali, Joe Frazier, Ernest Hemingway, and Norman Mailer. SHADOW BOX is one of Plimpton's most engaging studies of professional sport, through the eyes of an inquisitive and astute amateur. From the gym, the locker room, ringside, and even in the harsh glare of the ring itself, Plimpton documents what it is to be a boxer, an artist of mayhem, in the finest sports writing of his career.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pound For Pound It's Right Up There On My Shelf
Pound For Pound It's Right Up There On My Shelf

There is something so incredibly magical and almost supernatural about this time in boxing - when Muhammad Ali was THE man, when Joe Frazier was a machine - an honest to goodness machine - take 100 punches just to land that left hook. This was the time when Ken Norton was a riddle that Ali couldn't figure out...and when Big George Foreman was simply concurring the world - destroying myths, legends and knocking everything down.

George Plimpton captures that feeling - it's not thrown in your face, but you can feel it.

The boxers and fights are slightly on the peripheral of the story he's sharing. It's mostly about him and his experiences with boxers, boxing and other writers, but it is about boxing and in the time when boxing was amazing.

It's a great book for the boxing fan and a great book for the literary fan.

Pound for pound one of the greats!

5-0 out of 5 stars A sharp study of boxing-- and mortality
This is, for my money, Plimpton's best book.Informative, funny, philosophical (there's a long section on the deaths of authors-- how they died, and how they'd _like_ to die), historical-- somehow it fits together beautifully, and amuses on every page.I've recommended this to many friends, some of whom don't care for boxing; they share my enthusiasm for it.Plimpton seems to be living to a ripe old age-- he deserves many more years of happiness for all the good writing he's done, especially here.

4-0 out of 5 stars Droll yet witty insight into professional boxing pre 1980...
George begins his book with his experience of sparring with the great Archie Moore and goes on to discuss the inside machinations/ events/ incidents of professional boxing into the years of Muhammad Ali. Hishumbling experience early in the piece leads to not only words of selfdeprecation but also serves as a reference point for his understanding ofthose in the sport he admires, those who are unique and the bad elementsprevalent in the world of boxing. Overall the book is insightful and funny,and at times unique in perspective. Definitely worth picking up a copy...

4-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed every page.
There are few finer story tellers than Plimpton.This is one of his bestand funniest works.Some remarkable stories.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not fit to carry anyone's jock
More crap from Plimpton, the very definition of athletic supporter ... Read more

4. George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative ...
Hardcover: 432 Pages (2008-10-21)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$0.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400063981
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Norman Mailer said that George Plimpton was the best-loved man in New York. For more than fifty years, his friends made a circle whose circumference was vast and whose center was a fashionable tenement on New York’s East Seventy-second street. Taxi drivers, hearing his address, would ask, “Isn’t that George Plimpton’s place?” George was always giving parties for his friends. It was one of the ways this generous man gave back.

This book is the party that was George’s life–and it’s a big one–attended by scores of people, including Peter Matthiessen, Robert Silvers, Jean Stein, William Styron, Maggie Paley, Gay Talese, Calvin Trillin, and Gore Vidal, as well as lesser-known intimates and acquaintances, each with candid and compelling stories to tell about George Plimpton and childhood rebellion, adult indiscretions, literary tastes, ego trips, loyalties and jealousies, riches and drugs, and embracing life no matter the consequences.

In George, Being George people feel free to say what guests say at parties when the subject of the conversation isn’t around anymore. Some even prove the adage that no best-loved man goes unpunished. Together, they provide a complete portrait of George Plimpton. They talk about his life: its privileged beginnings, its wild and triumphant middle, its brave, sad end. They say that George was a man of many parts: “the last gentleman”; founder and first editor of one of our best literary magazines, The Paris Review; the graceful writer who brought the New Journalism to sports in bestsellers such as Paper Lion, Bogey Man, and Out of My League; and Everyman’s proxy boxer, trapeze artist, stand-up comic, Western movie villain, and Playboy centerfold photographer. And one of the brave men who wrestled Sirhan Sirhan, the armed assassin of his friend Bobby Kennedy, to the ground.

A Plimpton party was full of intelligent, funny, articulate people. So is this one. Many try hard to understand George, and some (not always the ones you would expect) are brilliant at it. Here is social life as it’s actually lived by New York’s elites. The only important difference between a party at George’s and this book is that no one here is drunk. They just talk about being drunk.

George’s last years were awesome, truly so. His greatest gift was to be a blessing to others–not all, sadly–and that gift ended only with his death. But his parties, if this is one, need never end at all. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Marvelous" Biography
George being George is one of those rare books that you want never to end. It is filled with witty anecdotes, about a man with a wide circle of friends of all kinds. One gets the feeling that was one of those rare, free spirited, genuinely nice sorts, that there are too few of. It also is a history of the times and places he went. He seems to have been generous to the end, and given his time to friends without strings. We also get a peak into the literary seen of the time.

2-0 out of 5 stars cronyism
Who cares? He had it handed to him on a platter. Where's the story when there is no struggle; where's the character? Everyone loved George. Great. Yawn. He waltzed through the golden gates without the slightest effort, yet he created nothing. Good for him that he had fun; good for him that he enjoyed his life. It just doesn't make for compelling reading, except, of course, for those involved. And that's exactly who this book is for. The rest of us? The lives of artists make for much much better reading.... If you knew and liked George Plimpton, you'll probably like this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars a man who made the word maverick meaningful
Plimpton was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and proceeded to spit it out and make a fun, fascinating life out of friends, ideas and fireworks

4-0 out of 5 stars Literary Lion
For those who didn't catch his wave, George Plimpton was, for forty years, the celebratory firework of the New York arts scene. Born to New England blue bloods, flunked out of Exeter, graduated from Harvard, he co-founded the premiere literary journal, the Paris Review in 1953 and nourished it like a child for fifty years. Friend of Norman Mailer, pal of Andy Warhol, he is perhaps best known for living the dream that we all aspired to. He played football with the Detroit Lions and lived to write about it. He sparred with middle heavyweight champion Archie Moore...and lived to tell about it. He traveled to Zaire with Muhammad Ali, played tennis with Martina Navratilova, conducted Lenny Bernstein's New York Philharmonic, and orchestrated the Brooklyn Bridge centennial fireworks display, and wrote about it all. Being invited to Plimpton's legendary parties was a mark of having arrived on the New York literary scene--Zac ask your friend Elizabeth Wurtzel, she will confirm.

George, Being George is a curious form of biography. It consists of oral recollections collected from over 200 friends and acquaintances, nearly all accomplished writers or cultural icons. The editor, a literary lion himself, has plucked, trimmed and arranged them into a narrative. The subject himself used this artifice to capture the aura of Warhol's creation Edie Sedgwick, also Truman Capote. It is interesting and particularly effective to turn this artifice back on its progenitor. Perhaps that is because George Plimpton was such a great raconteur and entertainer. Whatever the reason, the literary device works. The book feels like the heady chit-chat that might have occurred at one of Plimpton's parties. You are there.

I learned two things. The Paris Review owes its founding to the CIA, though Plimpton did not know this for decades. In the years immediately following the War, Peter Matthiessen, another co-founder, was a CIA agent stationed in Paris. Matthiessen was assigned to keep tabs on communist inroads into the Paris intelligentsia, including US expatriates. What better cover than to pass as editor of a small start-up avant garde literary magazine? In addition to the editor, the money for the start-up came from the CIA via a foundation established to promote democratic principles in newly liberated Europe. Plimpton was an unwitting accomplice; he didn't learn the truth of the matter until Matthiessen told him, twenty years later. The truth put a brief strain on their relationship.

The other thing I learned is that one type of heart attack can be caused by a massive, uncontrolled rush of adrenalin. The adrenalin causes the heart to beat irregularly. If you are asleep or otherwise oblivious, you can die if you do not get the heart to return to regular rhythm. This is the most common mechanism for people who die in their sleep.

I wouldn't read this book unless I already knew and cared about George Plimpton. If you are interested, read "Paper Lion", which was made into a film and was a fantastic success in its day. Then read "The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair." Then read this book, to understand the man behind these wonderful creations.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book
I thought this book was a fun read.Plimpton was a very interesting man.I'm pretty sure I read one of his amateur-pro books about 20 years ago, probably Paper Lion.

It was interesting to see how connected he was to so many facets of New York society and to learn about his work at the Paris Review.The most captivating part of the book for me was hearing about how he could get along with pretty much anybody, was one of the best impromptu public speakers, and the way he had an unusual way to talk. I want to see him speak - I'm going to check out YouTube and see if I can find something.

The oral biography structure was a bit frustrating, because you want to get a flow going and the excerpts were too small to allow for it.But I think it was entertaining nonetheless and the ending had me in tears.Very touching.I would have loved to have known this man. ... Read more

5. Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintences and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career
by George Plimpton
 Paperback: 544 Pages (1998-11-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$3.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385491735
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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He was the most social of writers, and at the height of his career, he was the very nexus of the glamorous worlds of the arts, politics and society, a position best exemplified by his still legendary Black and White Ball. Truman truly knew everyone, and now the people who knew him best tell his remarkable story to bestselling author and literary lion, George Plimpton.

Using the oral-biography style that made his Edie (edited with Jean Stein) a bestseller, George Plimpton has blended the voices of Capote's friends, lovers, and colleagues into a captivating and narrative. Here we see the entire span of Capote's life, from his Southern childhood, to his early days in New York; his first literary success with the publication of Other Voices, Other Rooms; his highly active love life; the groundbreaking excitement of In Cold Blood, the first "nonfiction novel"; his years as a jet-setter; and his final days of flagging inspiration, alcoholism, and isolation. All his famous friends and enemies are here: C.Z. Guest, Katharine Graham, Lauren Bacall, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, John Huston, William F. Buckley, Jr., and dozens of others.

Full of wonderful stories, startlingly intimate and altogether fascinating, this is the most entertaining account of Truman Capote's life yet, as only the incomparable George Plimpton could have done it.Amazon.com Review
Nobody can match George Plimpton as an adroit weaver ofinterviews into a tight narrative fabric. Plimpton can make even anegligible life into a magic-carpet ride, as in his editing of JeanStein's perennial bestseller, Edie, about AndyWarhol's victim-starlet Edie Sedgwick.

In Truman Capote, Plimpton has an infinitely more importantsubject, who worked his way down from the top into the shallow pit ofdruggy celebrity. His book doesn't knock the definitive biography Capote off theshelf, but it's much more fun to read. Plimpton interviewed more thana hundred people--from Capote's childhood to his peak period, 1966,when his Black and White Ball defined high society and In Cold Bloodlaunched the true crime genre, all the way down to his last, sad daysas a bitchy caricature of himself. Joanna Carson complains thatPlimpton's book is "gossip," which it gloriously is. But it's alsobrimming with important literary history, and it helps in theHerculean task of sorting out the truth from Capote's multitudinous,entertaining lies; for instance, In Cold Blood turns out to benot strictly factual. James Dickey, whose similar self-destruction ischronicled in Summer ofDeliverance, delivers here a good definition of Capote's truegift to literature: "The scene stirring with rightness andstrangeness, the compressed phrase, the exact yet imaginative word,the devastating metaphorical aptness, a feeling of concentrated excesswhich at the same time gives the effect of being crystalline."--Tim Appelo ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book.
This is the type of book that is not only rare--finely written by a insightful, stylish, talented and committed writer. But it is the type of book that can never be repeated. Plimpton's biography captures not only Capote the man and through the fascinating lens of the oral history but it transcends the immediate subject to give the reader an epic, cinematic view of mid-20th century America, the cultural elite, the tastemakers, the people who genuinely played a part in what this country produced in art. For all of that and infinitely more, it's an essential book. But, one the reader reflects on what serious writers had available to them back then--the workshops, mentors, possibilities and impact, this book becomes an elegy for something we will never have again.



4-0 out of 5 stars Truman Capote
Anyone who has read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote knows that it was his best writing. He created a new genre of reporting and fiction combined by immersing himself in the subject of his book. He spent months living in Kansas where the Clutter family was murdered and many hours with the two young men who did the killing. After the blockbuster book came out, Capote was catapaulted into celebrity and high society. This book is so interesting because it follows Capote's life from childhood through his rise and fall from grace. His friends and acquaintances tell the story as if you were sitting there listening to them discuss Capote, the good and the bad. Truman was an elfin sprite, full of stories, not all true but extremely entertaining. But at the end of his life he was using drugs and alcohol to deaden the frustration of being unable to top his masterpiece book and finding nothing better to write about, turned on his high society friends, writing a tell all book about them using thinly disguised characters. Because of this, the people who made him, dropped him out of their lives completely, leaving him bewildered. He had wrongly assumed that they would understand and forgive him. After that he simply drifted and declined physically, drinking until his body gave out. He died in the arms of his best friend Joanne Carson, exwife of Johnny Carson. He knew he was going and begged her not to call for help, as he was worn out and finished. I think I would like to read In Cold Blood again, this time with a different understanding of Truman Capote.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fictional biography of Capote
As a fan of Plimpton's witty style, I picked up the Capote biography, only to realize that Plimpton didn't write it. Instead, he interviewed dozens of people and let them tell Capote's life story. At first, I was mildly disappointed but soon understood the irony: Capote was infamous for his gossipping, and now these acquaintances are gossipping about him. In the same way that Capote created a "nonfiction novel" with In Cold Blood, Plimpton compiled a "subjective biography" that focuses on Capote's public persona more than his private life. (Perhaps because much of his private life was public.) The interviews are colored by the subjects' relationships with Capote, and many of them have an agenda in talking about him, so I would not recommend the book to someone who wants to read a factual chronicle. However, it is entertaining and gives a portrait of the New York high society--in which authors had a place, unlike today (I think)--probably better than a standard biography could provide.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inimitable Plimpton
Full of salacious detail and struck through with the the vagaries of human nature, this oral history highlights, in an immensely readable way, the arc of ambition that propels the talented Tuman Capote to reach beyond the world into which he was born. The journey takes us on a wonderful romp through post WWII New York society and careens toward a place where our subject falls to his own singular sirens. It was a great Nantucket beach read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Capote Reader
I really liked this book. I am a Truman Capote fan, and the book was wonderful. A must read for Capote fans especially! ... Read more

6. Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-09-24)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599218097
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With his characteristic insight and wit, the Harvard-educated Plimpton recounts his experiences in successfully talking his way into training camp - not as a reporter but as a player - with the Detroit Lions, practicing with the team, and actually taking snaps behind center in a preseason game.
Amazon.com Review
Through the course of a long and distinguished career inletters, George Plimpton has crafted an art form from participatoryjournalism, and Paper Lion is his big touchdown. In themid-'60s, Plimpton joined the Detroit Lions at their preseason camp asa 36-year-old rookie quarterback wannabe, and stuck with the clubthrough an intra-squad game before the paying public a monthlater. What resulted is one of the funniest and most insightful booksever written on the game; 30 years later it remains a major model ofwhat was then blossoming into New Journalism. Plimpton's breezy stylewonderfully captures the pressures and tensions rookies confront intrying to make it, the hijinks that pervade the atmosphere when 60high-strung guys are forced to live together in close quarters, andthe host of rites and rituals with which football loves to coatitself. Of course, Plimpton didn't make it as a football hero; hebarely accounts himself with dignity on the field, which is just aswell. You don't have to be a lion when you've got a typewriter thatcan roar. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Living vicariously through George Plimpton
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1T9SZQPI8NNZK A great way to get in the mood for Football season and get a sense of the history of the sport is to read this book.



4-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read that Evokes a Different Time and Place with Humor
Hopefully there is a worthy biography of the late George Plimpton coming soon but in the meantime, the Paper Lion is a great place to start.Alan Alda played Plimpton in the movie adaptation of this book and that should give you some sense of its humor and playfulness.It is a very enjoyable read and evokes a different time (the pre-radical 60's), place (NYC, etc.), lifestyle (Ivy League "preppie" before the word preppie entered the larger lexicon) and era in professional sports (pre-tattoo, dreadlocks and the need for drug tests).Plimpton, who was very slight and not overly athletic, eventually had a series of these books where he put himself in the midst of large, skilled professional athletes with predictable results.He was looking for a good story and hoping to come out alive - he achieved both.If you enjoy humor and have even a mild interest in sports, you will like this book very much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inside the Huddle
During the summer of 1963, Plimpton became a rookie for the Detroit Lions, after joining their preseason camp as a 36-year-old rookie quarterback wannabe. He ended up sticking with the club through an intra-squad game before the paying public a month later. He traveled from the east coast to Michigan where he spent four weeks at the Lion's training camp learning how to call plays and take snaps. He ran formations, dressed in thick layers of padding and tried to tackle his opponents. He played cards with the coaches, played pranks on the players, bunked in the dormitories and debriefed in the locker room. Wearing the number zero, he finally was put in the game in a scrimmage, managing to lose yards on each play.
Throughout his book, Plimpton describes the grueling physical aspects of this sport, and through conversations with many of his teammates, he also captures the mental training these players go through. But, because he immersed himself so deeply into this culture, Plimpton also captures a sense for who these players are. He listened to their stories, learned about their backgrounds and became one of them. This memoir sticks out for its insights into the personalities of the players and the coaches.Compared to a memoir like The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer, Plimpton sticks to his journey to make the team, rather the venturing off about his life. He's not afraid to take detours, such as explaining who Harry Wismer is and his failure as the owner of the AFL team the New York Titans. Reading this classic work of literary nonfiction today, the reader sees that Plimpton not only captured a sense for what football was like in 1963, but what the world was like back then.

4-0 out of 5 stars Non Fiction
A talented journalist joins the Detroit Lions to get get a greater insight into what it is to be a professional American football player.Some amusing moments because of his ineptitude.

This was a top class team dominanting their opponents, so they wangled an agreement that if they got a big enough lead they could put George in as a last string quaterback.

Top quality sportswriting work here.
... Read more

7. The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library)
Hardcover: 432 Pages (1999-06-07)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$87.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679603158
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The first issue of The Paris Review in 1953 included an interview on the craft of writing with E. M. Forster, perhaps the greatest living author of the time. Subsequent issues carried interviews with, among others, Franois Mauriac, Graham Greene, Irwin Shaw, William Styron, Ralph Ellison, and William Faulkner; in the intervening years, many of the world's most significant writers (Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, and John Dos Passos) sat down with The Paris Review. Many of the interviews have been collected in a series of volumes entitled Writers at Work. From these interviews, The Paris Review's editor, George Plimpton, has selected the best and most illuminating insights that the writers have provided and arranged them by subject rather than by author. The book is divided into four parts: "The Writer: A Profile" (including the sections "On Reading," "On Work Habits," On the Audi-
ence," etc.); Part II is "Technical Matters" ("On Style," "On Plot," etc.); Part III is "Different Forms" ("On Biography," "On Journalism"); and Part IV is "The Writer's Life," covering topics like conferences, courses, and teaching, along with a section in which writers provided portraits of other writers.
        The Writer's Chapbook is a fund of observations by writers on writing. These range from marvel-
ous one-liners (Eugene O'Neill on critics: "I love every bone in their heads"; T. S. Eliot on editors: "I suppose some editors are failed writers--but so are most writers") to expositions on plot, character, and the technical process of putting pen to paper and doing it for a living. "I don't even have a plot," says Norman Mailer; Paul Bowles describes writing in bed; Toni Morrison talks about inventing characters; and Edward Albee and Tom Wolfe explain where they discovered the titles for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
        This book is a treasure. But beware: What is true for the Writers at Work series holds for The Writer's Chapbook even more--a reader who picks it up, intending just to dip into it, might not emerge for days. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chapbook for the tired writer
The Writers' Chapbook is a rare find for those of us who periodically wonder why we have the sheer gall to think we can write anything worth reading.Reading the vicissitudes of really great and fine writers shores up sagging spirits in no time.Plus one picks up some ageless advice that had faded away over time.

This book is a dipper--you don't have to read any part of it straight through unless you get hooked, like I did, on the focus of a single chapter.

My advice:Read it! You'll be so glad you did.

5-0 out of 5 stars Writers Wisdom
This trove contains writer's thoughts on the craft of writing. Beginning with its inaugural edition in 1953, The Paris Review, a quarterly, included an interview with E. M Forester, then one of the most famous writers.

In the ensuing years more almost 250 novelists, poets, essayists and biographers have shared their thoughts on their work, work habits and peers. The Chapbook breaks their thoughts down by subject, rather an author.

It is divided into four parts: "The Writer: A Profile" which includes the writer's observations on "Why I Write", "On Reading", "On Inspiration", "On Editors", "On Revising" and "On Critics", among others.

The second part "Technical Matters" includes observations "On Style", "On Plot" and among others "On Writer's Block".

The third part "Different Forms" includes thoughts "On Biography", "On Criticism", "On Short Stories" and "On Potboilers".

The last part "The Writer's Life" contains observations "On Politics", "On Readings", "On Social Life" and my favorite "On Peers".

I keep the Chapbook on my desk for times when I need to savor inspiration. My problem is, having found it, I linger longer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Snippets of wit and wisdom from the greatest modern writers
This book is a gem!It's great for reading in small doses, when a longer book isn't practical or available.Insomniacs rejoice!This is a great volume to keep beside the bed, to dip into on sleepless nights. Plimpton'sinterviews run the gamut from Faulkner to Burgess to Irving and beyond. This is a fascinating compilation, a very illuminating look into the mindsof the worlds greatest modern writers.It's funny, poignant, andinstructive to anyone interested in reading or writing. ... Read more

8. Open Net: A Professional Amateur in the World of Big-Time Hockey
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$9.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599218062
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In Open Net, another of George Plimpton's inimitable accounts of a fearless amateur braving the world of professional sports, Plimpton takes to the ice as goalie for his beloved Boston Bruins.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars HOCKEY
If you like the game of hockey and have an interest in the Boston Bruins, you will like it.Like all books, you have to be interested in the subject to enjoy the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stand Up and Cheer
I laughed. I learned. I loved Open Net.

Plimpton summarizes (page 254) his experience with the Bruins to Junior Achievers in Edmonton, "I described some of my brief forays into sports as a participatory journalist, and what it was like, and how I envied the athletes their skills and the fellowship, but how I had always left their camps with a faint twinge of relief that I was returning to my own world..."

Plimpton is the vanguardist for creative-nonfiction/participatory journalism, and Open Net is the standard by which other hockey books should be measured. I envy not his weak ankles, for they're as instable as his writing is strong, but rather his wit and way of balancing humor and enlightenment.

I didn't grow up in New England, but I suspect those that have will still enjoy the way Plimpton brings back to life the boldness and brashness, the grit and the glory, of the Big Bad Bruins.

From Plimpton's interaction with the likes of"Grapes" and "Taz" and with goalies "Seaweed," and "Cheesy" to our hero's own moment in the crease, you'll want to stand up and cheer!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Hockey book
If you enjoy Ice Hockey, especially from a historical perspective, this is the book to read.Fans of Don Cherry will love this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars He shoots and scores!
George Plimpton once again dons a uniform and plays a game.This time he tackles hockey while training with the Boston Bruins.
Plimpton does a wonderful job of painting a realistic view of life as a goalie.He uses the voices of other players to help the story along, rather than as just filler from big names.He also tells his tale without a lot of false excitement.You can tell he totally loves the experience, yet at times, you can see the effort does drain him (naturally).
His comments about and conversations with the likes of 'Seaweed' Pettie, Garry Cheevers and Don Cheery really add a lot of depth to the book.In conversations I have had with some of these men, I clearly got the point that they enjoyed this as much as Plimpton did and as much as I did as a reader.
This is a great read for the unfulfilled athlete in all of us.


9. Out of My League: The Classic Hilarious Account of an Amateur's Ordeal in Professional Baseball
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 128 Pages (2010-01-26)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1599218089
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A classic of sport, and the first of George Plimpton's remarkable forays into participatory journalism, Out of My League chronicles with wit, charm, and grace what happens when a self-professed amateur wonders how he would fare on a baseball mound in a major league game.

On an ordinary afternoon in the third-baseline seats of Yankee Stadium, Plimpton hits on what seems an inspired idea - to get on the mound and pitch a few innings to the All-Stars of the American and National Leagues. What begins as a fun-filled stunt, for the "average man" to pitch in the Big Leagues, comes to a nearly humiliating end. This honest and hilarious tale features Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Whitey Ford, Ralph Houk, Richie Ashburn, and other baseball greats. What happens when America's favorite sports dilettante tries his arm against the likes of Hall-of-Fame baseball players recalls the dreams of diamond heroics of every man who still has the noble heart of youth beating in him and the fears of anyone who has taken a lump or two from life.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars NOT BAD BUT NOT GOOD EITHER

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny look at average fan trying to pitch to MLB stars
If you're not familiar with George Plimpton, he was a writer who was famous for trying to participate in pro sports.His accounts of his pathetic attempts to compete are always pretty funny.He's most famous for his book about his pre-season stint with the Detroit Lions ("Paper Lion"), but this book was his first experience as a participant.

He had a deal to pitch to All-Star lineups from each league.The deal was that he would pitch his way through each lineup once, and whichever team had the most total bases against him would win the prize.

His description of the beating he took is hilarious, and so are the notes from a friend he had in the stands.The guy told him that after the P.A. announcer told the crowd that George Plimpton, of Sports Illustrated would be facing the All-Star lineups the fans seemed confused.One kept asking who this "George Prufrock" guy was.

If you've read any of his books and enjoyed them, you're sure to like this one too.If you try this one and like it you should check out his other books:

"Paper Lion" and "Mad Ducks and Bears" - pro football
"The Bogey Man" - golf
"Shadow Box" - boxing
"Open Net" - hockey

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book(...)
This novel was about a guy who went to a Yankee game. He was a very rich man who sat right in the front down on field level. He was watching the famous Yankee's like Babe Ruth, and Lou Gerhig. He came up with this crazy idea to pitch in the so called " All Star Game" against Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig and Hank Aaron. He knew a lot of baseball players so he was just talking about the idea but everyone thought it was just a crazy idea.Soon he really started asking about it as a real idea. The commissioner and Hank Aaron (the captain of the National League) and Babe Ruth (The Captain of the American League). He was asking if he could pitch in the all-star game. He was wondering if he could really do it and how much it would cost. He thought that if he hired a pitching coach and practiced everyday until the game that he would be good enough to really do good in the all-star game. He was starting to have press conferences about the idea and having talks with the two all-star team coaches. After about a week of thinking about the idea the commissioner of baseball told him that he would be able to pitch in the all-star game. When he started to warm up in the bullpen the crowd was going crazy. He came in the 5th inning. He started off pitching to Hank Aaron. He struck him out. That is a good start. He pitched two innings perfect. He did so great that he got to pitch in the major league after that.
I liked this book because it was about baseball. It was about the old great players of baseball.It had to do with a fan like me making up a crazy idea that I would make up. To play baseball and pitch against major league great players to pitch against.It was a very cool sports book also so it was a good book. It is a very good sport baseball book that I think every baseball fan should be able to read because it is great.
I would recommend this book to all players who like baseball and sports.But if you had to read you might want to study up on your all-time baseball's greatest player. Also boys should read this book that is about 8-teen in age. It has not such good language in it for young kids. It was a long book also so I would recommend this to people that have time to read this book.You have to take a long time and read every little detail to get this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars No, it isn't
The book referred to in the review below (which should be deleted) is "Paper Lion"."Out of my League" concerns Plimpton's BASEBALL exploits, when he faced the A.L. & N.L. All-Star line-ups inYankee Stadium in Autumn 1960. It is not as brilliant a book as "PaperLion", but is certainly a DIFFERENT one.

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting look into a NFL training camp in the late 50s
This book was about a journalist, George Plimpton, working for S.I. He joins the Detroit Lions training camp and becomes one of them. It is an interesting story with many stories from many famous players including Johnny Unitas and "Night Train" Lane. With some humor, Plimpton sacrificed his body and time for a great, well written book ... Read more

10. George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative Observers
Paperback: 432 Pages (2009-10-27)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$3.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812974182
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Contributors include Harold Bloom, Jules Feiffer, John Guare, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, Maggie Paley, Richard Price, James Salter, Robert Silvers, William Styron, Gay Talese, Calvin Trillin, Gore Vidal, and 200 other Plimpton intimates

Norman Mailer said that George Plimpton was the best-loved man in New York. This book is the party that was George’s life–and it’s a big one–attended by scores of famous people, as well as lesser-known intimates and acquaintances. They talk about his life: its privileged beginnings, its wild and triumphant middle, its brave, sad end. They say that George was a man of many parts: the “last gentleman,” founder and first editor of The Paris Review, the graceful writer who brought the New Journalism to sports, and Everyman’s proxy boxer, trapeze artist, stand-up comic, Western movie villain, and Playboy centerfold photographer.

George’s last years were awesome, truly so. His greatest gift was to be a blessing to others–not all, truth be told–and that gift ended only with his death. But his parties, if this is one, need never end at all. ... Read more

by George Plimpton
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1987)

Asin: B0041DM4D8
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Extended Fiction
The character Sidd Finch is rather naive, but charming.These are qualities that the novel lacks.Readers that are in on the joke, will find this extension to the original Sports Illustrated article stretches the concept too thin.The plot at times becomes silly and the dialogue at times rambles toward nothingness.

The book involves baseball, though baseball is hardly the center of the book.Instead, the over-the-top attempts at humor make the book seem as though it were written for young adults.Sidd Finch is an eccentric Buddhist monk pitcher who was rescued from obscurity to pitch for the Mets.Naive to the ways of America and baseball, Finch finds himself in awkward positions so often, it becomes rather annoying.As the story develops, new characters are added with conflicts that are designed to make a novel from a magazine article.These new characters add little to the story.It is more amusing to read about the Mets of the 1980's in this story in fictional circumstances than reading about the fictional characters.

As other readers have noted, the book lacks a real sense of closure.This may have been the best way to end the Finch character, but it will still irritate some readers.The only real reason for continued interest in this book is the original scandal caused by the Sidd Finch story.Interested readers should seek those back issues of Sports Illustrated rather than reading this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Baseball Novel
Plimpton has teased out an April Fool's Sports Illustrated article on a monk turned superhuman baseball pitcher into a fun full-length novel. You don't have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the curious mix of the New York Mets eager management and the shy unlikely pitching phenom, Sidd Finch.

The story revolves around a deadbeat ex-writer with writer's block who befriends Finch and his carefree college-dropout girlfriend. The book is filled with uniquely Plimptonian anecdotes and characters as it follows Finch through spring training and his Shea Stadium debut with the New York Mets.

Although very fun and a page-turner, you can feel that it is Plimpton's first novel. It suffers from pacing problems and I was a bit disappointed by the quick, sharp ending.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not your usual Plimpton Plays with the Prosbook
If you didn't know George Plimpton and you read the book jacket blurbs, you might wonder just who this Sidd Finch really was. You might even remember that Sports Illustrated featured Finch in 1985, and you may not have noticed that it was their April (Fool) issue.

Plimpton weaves a whimsical tale of a young man who, by happenstance, spent enough time in a Himalayan monastery to learn how to throw a baseball 168 miles an hour (didn't know monasteries taught such things, did you?) He's unerringly accurate, to boot!

Starting with a seemingly innocent invitation to a burned-out journalist (Plimpton?) to enjoy a Goodyear blimp ride in Florida, the tale unfolds as baseball moguls try to inveigle Finch into signing on with the Mets. Finch, of course, is anything but your average kid from the Babe Ruth league. Finch finally signs, and with 81 strikes puts away the St. Louis Cardinals. Sensation reigns in the baseball world.

Does he go on to finish the season without giving up so much as a foul tip? Finch has many a surprise in store for friend and foe alike.

Sprinkled with Plimptonesque asides on a wide variety of subjects like Vietnam, the Mafia, sports management, and writers (he even describes himself at one point), this is a pleasant literary/sports romp. It's short enough to read in one evening and enjoyable enough to remain with you a lot longer.

4-0 out of 5 stars curious case of sidd finch
The book that I read was The Curious Case of Sidd Finch by George Plimpton.Out of a five star scale I gave it a 4.It is a funny book because it is fiction, so Plimpton can do a lot with the characters, mainly Sidd Finch.Hayden (Sidd) Finch is the main character in this book.He is this kid who has never played baseball before but has unbelievable skills.He can throw the ball 170 miles per hour with unbelievable accuracy. The New York Mets a professional baseball team would like him to play for their team.The book is mainly about Sidd finch's efforts and trying to play for the New York Mets baseball team.I liked this book because I am a big sports fan and I like reading about sports.I also like humor and this book also has that.Its funny reading about someone who can pitch that fast because it will never happen.So that's where your imagination can come into play.Its fun reading books that force your imagination to come forward and do something.It makes you, which therefore means that you are getting something out the reading.

3-0 out of 5 stars Review of Curious Case Of Sidd Finch
The Curious Case about Sidd Finch By: George Plimpton

Have you ever heard of a man that can throw a ball 168 mph. Well, if you read this book you'll find out that there once was a man that could throw the ball that fast. The man's name is Sidd Finch. He's a recruited pitcher from some where in the Himalayas. This man was a monk there and he learned how to throw a baseball 168 mph. Just read how he learns to keep his arm in condition and how he can keep the ball under control throwing the ball that fast. Along this man adventure he meet's a write who is retired and just happened to see Sidd throw the ball that fast. Sidd also meets a wind surfer girl. Through out the story this girl gets closer and closer to Sidd. And the Writer is wondering if she is just trying to expose him to the public and where he doesn't want to be. If he is disrupted he very well could die. If you read this book you'll be amazed at what kind of character Sidd is and you'll find out other thing s about him that will amaze you. ... Read more

12. Mad Ducks and Bears
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 256 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$1.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592281168
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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MAD DUCKS AND BEARS is the engaging companion to George Plimpton's PAPER LION. In this book, Plimptons personal favorite, he rejoins two of his football teammates from the Detroit Lions, lineman John Gordy and Alex Karras, to talk about their careers in this sometimes brutal, always fascinating game.
MAD DUCKS AND BEARS is a more reflective, less madcap book than what we have come to expect from Plimpton - but no less truthful and searching.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Get the original edition if you can
The 2003 edition of MDAB was released to reflect Plimpton's belief that the chapters focused upon his 1971 return to football, playing in an exhibition game for the (then-Baltimore) Colts against the Detroit Lions, departed thematically from the rest of the book.

That was certainly his prerogative as the author, but as someone who really enjoyed the original edition when it came out in 1973, I have to disagree. I felt the "epilogue" chapters comprising Plimpton's "diary" of the 1971 training camp provided a fitting coda to the rest of the book (and to 'Paper Lion,') too -- bringing Plimpton full circle, playing against his former team, and on the final play, being tackled by Alex Karras (actually, the main character of MDAB), on what turned out to be the final plays of his football career (he was cut shortly afterward).

The new edition is fine, but if you've read the original edition, it feels incomplete. If you have the chance, seek out a copy of the original.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not as popular as Paper Lion, but funnier by far!
One of my all-time "must-have" inside-the-game books, right up there with FOUL about Connie Hawkins, MAD DUCKS AND BEARS is nothing short of brilliant... insightful for its look beneath the gridiron turf of the NFL, and asthma-inducing hilarious when author Plympton wisely turns large chunks of the book over to narratives by John Gordy and, to a larger extent, the great Alex Karras, a very droll fellow.

In the mid-'70s, this book used to accompany my sight-impaired college roommate and myself on our annual treks around the country to visit other old chums from school, and in the evenings, I would read and re-read passages aloud to him... Gordy's thoughts while lying on the turf of Yankee Stadium with a dislocated shoulder, Karras' recollections of his first days off an Indiana farm at the University of Iowa under coaching legend Forrest Evashevski, and his adoption in training camp as a scared rookie by hard-drinking Lions' team leader Bobby Layne... as we would roar ourselves to sleep.

Delighted to see this wonderful volume reprinted! Long overdue.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Plimpton's best
This book is excellent for an authentic glimpse into the 1960s NFL. It is also very funny and extremely well written. Alex Karras is an eccentric character who provides a barrel of laughter with his off the wall sense of humor. Plimpton, unkowingly, plays the perfect straight man for karras's bizzare antics.

My only complaint about this book is that it was such an enjoyable read, I wish there were many more pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great characters, great book
George Plimpton wants to write a book about the techniques offensive and defensive lineman.The Mad Duck (Alex Karras) and The Bear (John Gordy) will be used for research.Their first meeting for the book places the author, George, in down lineman position in the apartment of one of the men as they hammer him into lamps and such.From there the book takes off on the minds of Karras and Gordy.It is filled with absolute laugh out loud hilarity.The book finishes with Plimpton at Quarterback, but this time for the World Champion Baltimore Colts.Insights to hall of famers Johnny Unitas and Bubba Smith are must reading for football historians.(Smith at a party trying to teach a myna bird his name, "Bubba, Bubba, Bubba").One also gets introduced to Bob Irsay who dismantles the team.It is a hint of things to come----a move to Indianapolis.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funniest book--maybe the best--ever written about football.
Over 25 years after reading this for the first time, I still remember some of the more hilarious moments: Alex Karras's golf tournament, with the shrieks of wild animals echoing from the woods; Joe Schmidt's basement fullof horrible recordings of the Detroit Lions singing The Battle Hymn of theRepublic (not to mention the unsold vibrators); Bobby Layne sending Karrasout for burgers then abandoning the frightened rookie. Interspersed amongthe laughs are some wonderful tutorials on the art of football where itreally matters--in the trenches with the hogs. Offensive guard John Gordyand defensive tackle Alex Karras, two of the greatest ever to play thegame, explain the nearly invisible game of blocking and tackling. This is asort of cult book for true fans of football and great writing. Come joinour congregation! ... Read more

13. Pet Peeves: Or Whatever Happened to Doctor Rawff?
by George Plimpton
 Hardcover: 96 Pages (2000-09)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000VYEOYS
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Pet Peeves is a brilliantly constructed, goofy mystery story in which readers are invited to figure out exactly what has happened to Dr. Rawff, a pet-problem advice columnist and veterinarian who is found missing from his office. The book consists of a series of letters written to Dr. Rawff in which increasingly bizarre problems are recounted. Among the problematic pets described is a dog who seems intent on being human (acting suspiciously like Marcel Proust), an alligator who seems to be starting her own alligator farm in her owner's basement, and a frog who appears to long to be kissed. As the letters advance, the reader is given clues as to what may have caused Dr. Rawff's mysterious disappearance. The whimsy of George Plimpton, a writer known for his style and rich imagination, is matched up with one of The New Yorker magazine's favorite cartoonists, Edward Koren. Koren's ridiculously funny, hairy animals and people perfectly illustrate the unusual pets of Plimpton's letters. This is a book for fans of Henry Beard's French for Cats and Peter Mayle's A Dog's Life, a book for pet lovers and people who love their pets too much. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Work of Startling Imagination and Humor!
Pet Peeves goes beyond the paradigms of standard humor, cartoon, andmystery books to create one with all three elements.I like newexperiences, and really enjoyed this one!I think you will, too.

In theforeword, you learn that Dr. Edmund G. Rawff (a veterinarian who wrote abiweekly syndicated advice column on pet problems) disappeared two yearsago after writing his last column.He left a note saying, 'I'm moving on.' There was a legal document in the house giving the home and furnishings inMeriden, Connecticut to the ASPCA.There was no evidence of foul play, butthe basement office was littered with letters asking for advice, seeminglysent by the same person.Did these letters drive him away (was that theauthor's purpose?)?Or did he write the letters himself for amusement toconfuse investigators?You as the reader are encouraged to decide whatreally happened to Dr. Rawff.

So, as you can see, we have a mystery.

What are the subjects of those letters?

Well, you'll have to read themfor yourself.But you'll be rewarded because they are truly hilarious. They fall into four categories (wonderfully illustrated by EdwardKoren):

(1)Mistaken identity (a fish that turns into a shark, a racehorse turns out to be two actors in a horse costume, falcons are reallyRhode Island Red hens, and there's some confusion over whose chickenscrossed the road)

(2)Plays on old animal jokes (an 800 pound gorillagets depressed because no one tells him he can sit wherever he wants, and25 chimpanzees are unable to replicate any of Shakespeare's plays -- but doprove effective at completing unfinished works by other authors)

(3) Offbeat situations (a man takes a sheepdog and some sheep to be on theLetterman show and loses them in a taxi cab, and a 45 pound cat sleeps onits owner's chest every night)

(4)Sequenced stories (the chimpanzeestory evolves over several episodes from creating nonsense to working onSchubert, a woman has a boa constrictor that keeps swalling a pet pig, andthe evolution of the fish into the shark plays out).

In the end, you aregiven some hypotheses to consider about what could have happened to thegood Doctor, just in case you cannot think of any.

Edward Korendeserves special mention because he has drawn over 800 cartoons for The NewYorker, and his visual humor certainly adds a lot to the writing by GeorgePlimpton.The cartoons give the book a familiar feel, as well as evokingThe New Yorker's wonderful style.The design of the book is imaginativealso with each note being in a different format.

This book is not onlyfun, but it would make a good gift.You could also use it as a parlorgame, asking people to come up with their own questions for the Doctor, andacting them out.Then you could vote on who had the funniestquestion.

After you have finished with this wonderful book, think aboutways that you can combine communication methods in novel directions thatwould make your message stronger and fresher.Then practice using some ofthose new methods the next time you have a chance to do so.We can allmake the world a lot more interesting place if we untie ourselves from thestalled thinking of complacency about following the standardapproaches.

... Read more

14. The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair: And Other Excursions and Observations
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 208 Pages (2005-11-15)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812973720
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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George Plimpton needed no encouragement. If there was a sport to play, a party to throw, a celebrity to amaze, a fireworks display to ignite, Plimpton was front and center hurling the pitch, popping the corks, lighting the fuse. And then, of course, writing about it with incomparable zest and style. His books made him a legend. The Paris Review, the magazine he founded and edited, won him a throne in literary heaven. Somehow, in the midst of his self-generated cyclones, Plimpton managed to toss off dazzling essays, profiles, and New Yorker “Talk of the Town” pieces. This delightful volume collects the very best of Plimpton’s inspired brief “excursions.”
Whether he was escorting Hunter Thompson to the Fear and Loathing movie premiere in New York or tracking down the California man who launched himself into the upper atmosphere with nothing but a lawn chair and a bunch of weather balloons, Plimpton had a rare knack for finding stories where no one else thought to look. Who but Plimpton would turn up in Las Vegas, notebook in hand, for the annual porn movie awards gala?

Among the many gems collected here are accounts of helping Jackie Kennedy plan an unforgettable children’s birthday party, the time he improvised his way through amateur night at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, and how he managed to get himself kicked out of Exeter just weeks before graduation.

The grand master of what he called “participatory journalism,” George Plimpton followed his bent and his genius down the most unbelievable rabbit holes–but he always came up smiling. This exemplary, utterly captivating volume is a fitting tribute to one of the great literary lives of our time.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars First Story
Except for the first story, which is what the title story, it was not that great of a collection. Some amusing parts and Plimpton is likable but ok at best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhere In Time.
This is a collection of some of his essays and articles as compiled after his death last September by his wife, Sarah Dudley.The majority of them are from the 'New Yorker' although two appeared in 'Harper's Magazine,' two in 'Esquire,' two were in 'Men's Journal' (one extremely long, other extremely short), also 'New York Post' and 'Playboy.'

"The Cellular Age" (1996) has just now reached Knoxville.The mental people out on the streets with their imaginary enemies have become vocal here.On Gay Street, during the lunch hour when the outdoor eating areas were full, one man walking up the sidewalk toward them kept yelling threats at no one in particular.Those of us on the sidewalk across the street from him looked to see who he was spewing his vendom toward, but there was no visible source.Just yesterday, a homeless woman sat in a bus shelter behind me as I was waiting for the Broadway bus to town; she started yelling, "Ronnie, kill them" over and over.I looked to see if she had a phone or a gun.Thank goodness, the bus arrived and she stayed in the shelter, lost in a world of her own.

George, it seems, sought out the oddballs, as does one of the columnists at a local tabloid.They seek these people out to interview as if they are normal and the readers are abnormal.The title of this book is one of his 'New Yorker' articles about a prank which a Vietnam vet survived, only to later commit suicide in delusion that he was in a movie.He romantizes the whole incident, but PTSS caused a lot of veterans of that war to want to die.He made his literary success on these strange people and unusual happenings.Some of these pieces were merely personal observations.He led an interesting life.

4-0 out of 5 stars We'll miss you, George
I ordered this book after reading an excerpt of the title piece in the New York Times. Like most of us, I was aware of Larry Walters's epic flying lawn chair adventure, and I was happy to hear the full details of the story.Plimpton did a terrific job of painting a sympathetic and poignant picture of Walters. Indeed, throughout the book Plimpton displays a wonderfully breezy, droll, self-effacing writing style, and I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

The title selection is the best in this book, but other highlights include "Inside the playpen of the damned" (a look inside the world of actors in pornographic movies); Plimpton's autobiographical sketch of how he flunked out of Exeter; and "The man who was eaten alive" (a description of Alan Root, a documentary film maker who has had more than his fair share of adventures filming wildlife in Africa).

The only criticism I have of this book is that--like Plimpton's life itself--it is too short.I get the impression that it had originally been intended to be longer, but Plimpton's untimely death no doubt threw a monkey wrench in those plans.As it stands, the book contains only 184 double-spaced pages with large margins, and several of the 18 selections included are only a couple of pages long.They're all highly entertaining, but when I buy a book with a $24.95 cover price, I prefer a little more heft.

In sum, this book is a delightful way to spend an hour or so.Plimpton is obviously a remarkable man and gifted writer who led an extremely interesting life.The world will miss him.
... Read more

15. Writers at Work: Seventh Series (Paris Review Interviews)
by Various
 Hardcover: 1 Pages (1986-10-07)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$64.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670808881
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16. Breaking 90 with Johnny Miller: The Callaway Golfer (series)
by Johnny Miller
Hardcover: 208 Pages (2000-10-01)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$5.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0935112502
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The most comprehensive book ever published on achieving golf's major scoring milestone.

Legendary pro and NBC-TV commentator Johnny Miller shares his wisdom and shot-making skills to help players of all ages and abilities break through to the next level of performance. Clear text and easy-to-follow illustrations make Johnny's practical instruction easy to grasp and to use.

The book examines the mental game, course management, and lessons from experienced pros; it covers everything from stance and swing to pressure and momentum. Also featured are tales from the golf wars by such favorite writers as George Plimpton, David Owen, Charles McGrath, Frank Hannigan, and others. Breaking 90 with Johnny Miller is a totally up-to-date approach to golf instruction -- the essential primer for today's golfer.Amazon.com Review
Johnny Miller's hybrid instructional Breaking 90 is like a mismatched set of clubs that actually works when put together. Geared for the golfer who's hooked enough on the game to keep playing and trying to improve, it's a handsomely packaged and illustrated volume that mixes Miller's keen ability to teach with some lovely, funny, and insightful essays and observations on the game by writers such as John Seabrook, David Owen, Ann Hodgman, George Plimpton, Charles McGrath, Ian Frazier, and, most memorable of the group for golf literati, Samuel Shem's affectionate chronicle of a round with his golfing partner of two decades, John Updike.

But Miller's name tops the marquee, and with good reason. He's a first-rate communicator and a superb analyst of the golf swing, and the first third of the book is Miller exhibiting both skills. He begins with some basics--grip, stance, swing, and equipment--followed by an explanation of why the golf ball flies the way it does and what you can learn about your own swing from that. From there, it's out to the course to help you think your way through a round. Miller emphasizes that good decision-making over the ball is the cornerstone to posting good numbers and avoiding the costly mental errors that inflate your score. Then it's off to the range to work on flaws and mechanics with Miller-designed tips and drills. There's lots of good golf advice in Breaking 90, but even if Miller can't turn you into a bogey or better golfer, the bylines he totes along should at least bring your golf reading up to par. --Jeff Silverman ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice book but not a perfect one
To Breaking 90, someone may expect some swing drills especially from Johnny Miller but sorry, it doesn't.

The books itself is target to the one those already know how to hit the ball well. It will give you the suggestion, information and knowledge on how to play "Good golf" but not how to do "Good Swing"

The first section, "Johnny Miller's Better Golf" is the most valuable section for me. Its give you a "better" idea on how to play and how to practice. Other sections later in the book, are just "experience sharing" section which is nice to read but may be not good enough to remember.

Overall, if you are a good golfer and would like to get someting from the expert to make you even better. This book is the good one. But if you still fighting with your swing flaw, try another one. ... Read more

17. Writers at Work 08: The Paris Review Interviews
by Various
 Paperback: 464 Pages (1988-07-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$39.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140107614
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Edel, Oates, Ozick, Brodsky , Hersey ,Doctorow
As has regularly been the case with this most understanding series of interviews the eighth series provides a number of rich and rewarding inquiries into the craft and practice of writing. I think that the essay which was most interesting for me was that with Edel, who explains his method of research in writing his epic James biography. But there are also insightful interviews with other major figures including Joyce Carol Oates, Cynthia Ozick, John Hersey, and Yosef Brodsky. I wonder if John Irving and James MacLaughlinreally belongs in the same category with these other writers but they nonetheless too have something of interest to say.
Another valuable contribution to an outstanding series. ... Read more

18. Writers at Work 09: The Paris Review Interviews Ninth Series
 Hardcover: 320 Pages (1992-07-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$45.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670843113
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19. George Plimpton on Sports
by George Plimpton
Paperback: 352 Pages (2005-05-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$4.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001QCX9MC
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"There are people who would perhaps call me a dilettante, because it looks as though I'm having too much fun.I have never been convinced there's anything inherently wrong in having fun." -- George Plimpton

George Plimpton on Sports collects the best writing--the most observant, the most acerbic, the most humane, and the most fun--from George Plimpton's long career as the consummate and prototypical participatory sports journalist. Included are excerpts from his book-length work, as well as articles that have appeared in Sports Illustrated and other magazines and sporting journals, that range from golf and bowling to his experiences trying out for quarterback with the Detroit Lions and pitching to the Major League All-Stars, to sparring a couple of rounds with one of the toughest boxers in the sport.

Always an acute observer and sardonic humorist, Plimpton pokes gentle fun at himself and those foibles of society showcased so dramatically in sport, while at the same time demonstrating what is most noble and admirable in the pursuit of dreams, even when those dreams remain clearly and ineluctably out of reach. In each of the chapters of this volume, Plimpton, with quiet charm, shows us that it's truly not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Included are excerpts from several of his book-length works, as well as articles that have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Harper's, The New York Times, Esquire, Tennis Week, and other newspapers, magazines, and sporting journals. This volume is a clear testimony to Plimpton's incredible range of interests, his lifelong passion for sport, and his pursuit of the quiet moments within the tumult of modern sports--and life.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb!
There may be a billion sports reporters after George Plimpton but there will never be a better one.

Plimpton provides the best stories I have ever read about both Vince Lombardi and the Boston Celtics; all of his stories are written with a sound knowledge of sports that pulls no punches, but also with a literary flair that would at first seem to be a mismatch for such topics.

One regrettable mistake ... I don't know if made by George himself or his publisher ... but twice on the same page is misspelled the name Mel Stottlemyre, a real shame given that, in the long dynasty of the Old Yankees ending in 1964, Stottlemyre was the very last of its heroes.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential New Yorker and Red Socks Fan
I got my title for this review from reading in his book. One story in particular jumps out. It is about a letter to the NY Times written by an enraged Red Socks fan. Plimpton, like many who went to university in Boston was a Red Socks fan. But because of his NY city fame he was invited to be in a Yankees World Series win celebration parade - sitting in an open red MG. He wrote an article about that experience in the NY Times the next day. The Red Socks fan on learning that George Plimpton had been in the parade wrote quite seriously to the Times "We're not going to let Mr. Plimpton in our parade when the Red Socks win next year". I found that very very funny as I am sure Plimpton did. Of course, now the SOX have actually broken the curse, but after Plimpton's death.

George Plimpton was born in New York on March 18, 1927 and died in September 25 2003. His father was a successful lawyer and the American ambassador to the United Nations. According to the New York Times his grandfather George A. Plimpton, had been a publisher and the family traced its roots to the Mayflower. He was the quintessential and urbane New Yorker from a background of privilege attending Exeter Academy and Harvard. But with a lot of ingenuity, creativity, and humor he made his own mark in the world.

I never met the man myself and I am about 20 years younger. When I was going to college in Boston in the 1960's he was near his peak in popularity and in the midst of making his mark. He was always and interesting read and it is hard to comprehend that he is gone.

So it was with some sadness that I bought and read the present book published last year. I bought the book as a gift to myself so to speak. It is just a beautiful collection of selected short stories and articles on sports. The fact that he is gone and has left this behind reminds us all of our limitations in life. It is a wonderful and humorous book like most of his writings, and from time to time uncontrollably so. ... Read more

 Unknown Binding: Pages (1987)

Asin: B0041CZY9A
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