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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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TED WILLIAMS: THE BIOGRAPHY OF AN AMERICAN HERO

by Leigh Montville

Doubleday, $24.95

Did we need someone to take another swing at the Splinter's well-chronicled life? (Library shelves groan with at least 10 Williams bios.) This exquisite, exhaustively researched effort by The Boston Globe columnist and former SI senior writer is proof that we did. An unabashed Williams fan, Montville is inspired--but not blinded--by love for his subject, and he recounts his childhood hero's on- and off-field exploits in intimate detail. The result is a sometimes painfully vivid colorization of the familiar sepia-toned images of Williams as baseball star, war hero and fishing ace. One of Montville's 400 interviewees told him that writing a book about Williams would be like "reaching down to the bottom of the ice chest, where you touch all the dirt and the strange things." Nevertheless, he delivers a singularly warm and revealing sports bio.

RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER

by Warren St. John

Crown, $24

Think you are a college football fan? Do you throw up with anxiety every time your team plays? Do you believe your team's greatest alltime coach had "Godlike qualities"? Would you purchase a $300,000 RV just so you could follow your team to any stadium in the continental U.S.? Would you haul your wife out of her hospital bed, or skip your daughter's wedding, to see a game? In this unique and often hilarious take on fandom, St. John hitches a wild RV ride through the South to investigate a bizarre and delightful fever he shares with countless Alabamians: a full-throttle addiction to the Crimson Tide.

SWIMMING TO ANTARCTICA

by Lynne Cox

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