I will have some reviews in the next few days on the football books. In the meantime, enjoy the big game and enjoy this review of the outstanding basketball book "Stolen Glory."
“Stolen Glory: The U.S., the Soviet Union and the Olympic Basketball Game That Never Ended” by Taps Gallagher and Mike Brewer
Basketball, Summer Olympics, history
July 20, 2012
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
In the 1972 Summer Olympics, just two days after the murder of 11 people cast a pall on the Munich Olympics, the United States and the Soviet Union played the gold medal game in men’s basketball that had a very bizarre ending and resulted in the first basketball loss for a United States team when the Soviet Union scored at the buzzer for a 51-50 win on its third attempt after two free throws put the U.S. ahead.
This book, published on the fortieth anniversary of one of the most controversial basketball games in Olympic history, is a great recap of not only that game, but also of how both the American and Russian teams were put together and their journeys to get to this game. The personal stories are very good, especially those of American players such as Doug Collins, the player who made the two free throws to put the US up 50-49 with three seconds left.
The authors also write about the background of the two nation’s basketball programs, the coaches and their styles and also some history as well. There is also a good chapter on the tragedy of the attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village. I felt that was just as important a chapter to the book as it set the mood and tone of the arena during the gold medal game.
The controversial ending, which resulted in the Soviet Union getting three chances for the last shot, is covered in an objective manner by the authors, even though the personal stories and recollections are from the Americans, who are obviously very upset with the result. The closest that the authors show any bias is when they are explaining why the president of the international basketball federation, FIBA, is ordering the clock to be reset. This was clearly against the rules and the authors explained why, but some readers may believe this is biased toward the Americans. I didn’t believe so and this is just as objective as the rest of the book.
The silver medals are still sitting in a vault waiting to be claimed by the U.S. The players to a man state in the book that they will never accept them and after reading this book, the reader will certainly understand why they have taken this stance. This book is a fast paced excellent read that any basketball fan will enjoy, and if an American basketball fan, will be able to understand the anger of the players.