Jere Longman is a sports reporter for the New York Times whose books include the national bestseller Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back and The Hurricanes: One High School Team's Homecoming After Katrina, chosen by Slate magazine as one of the Best Books of 2008.
Framed around the final game of the 1999 Women's World Cup in the Rose Bowl (in which the United States beat China on penalty kicks after two scoreless hours), this book by New York Times sportswriter Longman ventures off the field to discuss such topics as the rise of women's sports, women's soccer in Muslim countries, and the athletes' sex appeal. Stars such as Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, and goalkeeper Brianna Scurry get a chapter apiece, but, laudably, less-heralded players, such as Christine Lilly, Carla Overbeck, and Sun Wen for China, also get center stage. More a celebration than the saga of "how the team changed the world," the book captures the excitement of soccer and the extreme competitive nature of these women players. Game descriptions are so vivid that readers will feel they are watching the game on video. An excellent purchase for all public libraries. (Photos not seen.)DKathy Ruffle, formerly with Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, BC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Soccer fans and even the uninitiated are unlikely to forget last summer's extraordinary game when the U.S. women's team defeated China for the world championship. Who doesn't recall the seemingly endless overtime plays and the victorious Brandi Chastain tearing off her jersey? With the 1999 team etched into sporting history, a reprise of the winning season was inevitable. The stories of the team members are particularly evocative, especially the struggles of individual players to overcome physical hardship. (For example, Longman eloquently describes Michelle Akers's severe chronic fatigue syndrome, which frequently caused her to collapse after games.) But excerpts of fans' conversation and naysayers' commentary appeal less. Longman, a sportswriter for the New York Times, interviewed coaches, players, fans and members of the competition for this detailed account of the championship season. Soccer fans wanting to savor the games and learn of behind-the-scenes events will probably enjoy this book. Yet Longman tries to cover so much groundÄfrom the biographies of the players to the political aspect of the game to the fans' perspectiveÄthat the work as a whole remains uneven. Photos not seen by PW. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
YA-Longman begins his book on a very hot day in the Rose Bowl at the Women's World Cup finals on July 10, 1999. Although the outcome of the competition, a U.S. win on a penalty kick by Brandi Chastain, made soccer history, he maintains suspense by abandoning a straight report and interspersing related themes. He offers an appraisal of the effect of Title IX, which granted equality for women; an analysis of the rise of women's teams worldwide; insights into the politics of soccer officialdom regarding player and coach financing; and allotment of money for equipment and travel needs. Of greatest interest to young people, however, are Longman's interviews with individual players. Whole chapters are devoted to the careers, philosophies, and doings of Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett, Kristine Lilly, and Briana Scurry. In addition, there is a post-game insight into what fame and endorsement riches have done for and to these "Girls of Summer."-Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"Fascinating.... With enough new behind-the-scenes reporting to satisfy even the most inveterate soccer fan, "--" Sports Illustrated""More than a sports book... Longman tackles complex and controversial issues like race and sex and gender politics on a global scale."--" Boston Globe"