Sunday, February 21, 2016

Review of "Perfectly Awful"

There are times when I like to pay attention to teams that are having poor seasons because they can generate stories that are just as interesting as winning teams. Trying to find books about losing teams can be a challenge, so when I was provided a copy of this one on one of the worst basketball teams of all time, I was interested.  Unfortunately, it fell a little short of my expectations.  Here is my review of "Perfectly Awful." 

“Perfectly Awful: The Philadelphia 76ers’ Horrendous and Hilarious 1972-73 Season” by Charlie Rosen

Basketball, professional, 76ers

Publish date:
October 1, 2014

202 pages

2 of 5 stars (not so good)

It isn’t often that one can find a book on losing teams or seasons so when I saw that a book was written on one of the worst teams in professional sports history, I was happy to obtain a copy for review. From the description, I was hoping to be entertained while reading the book and to learn a few things about the team.

That hope was partially fulfilled in Charlie Rosen’s recap of the 1972-73 season of the Philadelphia 76ers, a season in which they only won 9 of 82 games and held the record for the worst season in the NBA until the Charlotte Bobcats had a worse season in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. The hope to be entertained while reading the book was met, while the information in the book was not newly published or insightful. This despite the interviews Rosen conducted with several players.

The stories of what some of the players would say about coach Roy Rubin were funny as well as some of the antics of both coach Rubin and some players. Those anecdotes made good reading between game recaps. Those were short and read much like the box scores in the daily newspapers.  While these allowed the reader to keep up with the progress of how poorly the team was performing, it did make the book feel more like a long newspaper article instead of a book.

The other disappointing aspect of the book for me was the errors that were in the book that didn’t require research or fact checking to point out. The most glaring of these was on the inside cover flap, where the coach of the team for the first 51 games of the season, Roy Rubin, was printed as “Lou Rubin.” There were two others I caught right away that were not about the 76ers, but still ones that even casual fans might catch. One was the name of Hall of Fame player Rick Barry, who was called “Rich” and the name of the team the 76ers defeated in the 1967 NBA Finals.  That team was called the “Golden State” Warriors in the book, but they were known as the “San Francisco” Warriors at that time. These type of errors are the type that good editing would catch.

Between the errors and the style of writing in the book, this proved to be a disappointment to me as it was one I was eager to read. It does merit two stars for the entertainment aspect of the book. This book would be recommended only for a reader just wants to read it for entertainment and not for research or history.

I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book through in exchange for an honest review.

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