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Prose Bowl
December 27, 2004
Legends, scandals and one very cold swimmer: SI's best books of 2004
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December 27, 2004

Prose Bowl

Legends, scandals and one very cold swimmer: SI's best books of 2004

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UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS: THE RISE AND FALL OF JACK JOHNSON

by Geoffrey C. Ward

Knopf, $26.95

Imagine a fighter with the fists of Joe Louis, the charisma of Muhammad Ali and the cunning of Don King: That was Jack Johnson, the heavyweight champ from 1908 to '15. In this richly detailed work Ward brings to life a complex man whose flouting of racial norms--he married three white women--infuriated whites and blacks alike.

THE LAST SEASON: A TEAM IN SEARCH OF ITS SOUL

by Phil Jackson

Penguin Press, $24.95

No one had a better seat for the birth of the Shaq-Kobe feud than Jackson, and the retired Lakers coach, who has always fancied himself an amateur psychologist, is candid in describing both his men. O'Neal can be petty and "juvenile," while Bryant is "narcissistic" and a "callous gun for hire."

NAMATH: A BIOGRAPHY

by Mark Kriegel

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