OVERRIDE

Levels of the Game

John McPhee

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This account of a tennis match played by Arthur Ashe against Clark Graebner at Forest Hills in 1968 begins with the ball rising into the air for the initial serve and ends with the final point. McPhee provides a brilliant, stroke-by-stroke description while examining the backgrounds and attitudes which have molded the players' games.

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Levels of the Game
LEVELS OF THE GAMEArthur Ashe, his feet apart, his knees slightly bent, lifts a tennis ball into the air. The toss is high and forward. If the ball were allowed to drop, it would, in Ashe's words, "make a parabola and drop to the grass three feet in front of the baseline." He has practiced tossing a tennis ball just so thousands of times. But he is going to hit this one. His feet draw together. His body straightens and tilts forward far beyond the point of balance. He is falling. The force of gravity and a muscular momentum from legs to arm compound as he whips his racquet
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REVIEWS

Praise for Levels of the Game

"This may be the high point of American sports journalism."—Robert Lipsyte, The New York Times

"McPhee has produced what is probably the best tennis book ever written. On the surface it is a joint profile of . . . Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner, but underneath it is considerably more—namely, a highly original way of looking at human behavoir . . . He proves his point with consummate skill and journalistic artistry. You are the way you play, he is saying. The court is life."—Donald Jackson, Life

"John McPhee's Levels of the Game . . . alternates between action on the court and interwoven profiles of the contestants. It is a remarkable performance—written with style, verve, insight and wit."—James W. Singer, Chicago Sun-Times

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • John McPhee

  • John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977.  In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World.  He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • John McPhee Peter Cook
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Levels of the Game

John McPhee

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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