Monday, April 29, 1996

100 Greatest Boxers of All Time

by Burt Randolph Sugar

A self-descriptive title; this book gives short, often not all that informative bios of 100 fighters throughout the ages. It was written in 1984, when Mike Tyson was just a wee lad scoring his first KOs, so it's a little out-dated. Sugar writes well, with humor and his own loose style, though he gets repetitive at times.

Only a casual fan, I don't know enough about boxing to disagree vehemently with his selections, but I do think he should have given the early black fighters an edge, since no one gave them a chance to prove how great they really were. Also, there are a few questionable calls: for example, Mysterious Billy Smith, that out-of-shape dirty fighter with a 28-19 record, ranked one ahead of Wilfredo Gomez, 40-1 with 40 KOs? Hard to know what the thinking is there.

three stars

Friday, April 12, 1996

India: An Introduction

by Kushwant Singh

Just what the title says, this book is an informative, lively account of India, from a few paragraphs on the Indus Valley civilization to the final chapter on Indira Gandhi.  I learned a lot from reading it, and perhaps not only what Singh intended.  Through his writing, I gleaned some information on how Indians feel about politics and so on: for example, he calls the leaking of information that a public official had not paid income tax in ten years a "personal attack."  A very different mind-set from the typical American's.  Singh is objective and fair in describing even hot topics like British rule and Pakistan, and so is probably trustworthy as a historian.  An interesting, rarely dull summary of history. 

four stars