The first comprehensive, authoritative biography of American icon Arthur Ashe - the Jackie Robinson of men’s tennis, a pioneering athlete who, after breaking the color barrier, went on to become an influential civil rights activist and public intellectual.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1943, by the age of 11 Arthur Ashe was one of the state's most talented black tennis players. Jim Crow restrictions barred Ashe from competing with whites. Still, in 1960 he won the National Junior Indoor singles title, which led to a tennis scholarship at UCLA. He became the first African American to play for the US Davis Cup team in 1963, and two years later he won the NCAA singles championship. In 1968, he won both the US Amateur title and the first US Open title, rising to a number-one national ranking. Turning professional in 1969, he soon became one of the world’s most successful tennis stars, winning the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975. After retiring in 1980, he served four years as the US Davis Cup captain and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
In this revelatory biography, Raymond Arsenault chronicles Ashe’s rise to stardom on the court. But much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, writer, businessman, and celebrity. In the 1970s and 1980s, Ashe gained renown as an advocate for sportsmanship, education, racial equality, and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa. But from 1979 on, he was forced to deal with a serious heart condition that led to multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, one of which left him HIV positive. In 1988, after completing a three-volume history of African American athletes, he was diagnosed with AIDS, a condition he revealed only four years later. After devoting the last 10 months of his life to AIDS activism, he died in February 1993 at the age of 49, leaving an inspiring legacy of dignity, integrity, and active citizenship.
Based on prodigious research, including more than 100 interviews, Raymond Arsenault’s insightful and compelling biography puts Ashe in the context of both his time and the long struggle of African-American athletes seeking equal opportunity and respect.
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- Tee Jay 6
Great Story with Truly Awful Narration
As told in the book, Ashe was an articulate speaker and commentator on TV. Ashe would be horrified to hear how this narrator has butchered the reading of his biography. First of all, when the narrator speaks in Ashe’s voice, it is with a tentative, weak, warbling voice, with every sentence ending as if it was a question. I went back to listen to Ashe speak on youtube, and he was a strong, confident, articulate speaker. Why is the narrator making him sound like he is some kind of wimp?
Second, Ashe was an intellectual and avid reader of books. The narrator mispronounces a word every 4 or 5 minutes. The author of the book has a large vocabulary, and it appears that the narrator just decided to guess on some of the words instead of googling them and listening to the pronunciation. Was there no editor or producer that was listening to the performance before it was released?
Arthur Ashe was a boyhood hero of mine. The author of the book did a great job with the research and the story. But it is just painful to listen to this narrator. I find myself waiting for the next random interruption of the wimp Ashe voice and mispronunciations, which distracts me from the story.
This audiobook is a sad way to memorialize a truly great man. I would recommend that you remove this recording and start over.
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This is an unfair review in some respects since I did not finish the book, but I could not listen to the narrator. He performs as if he's narrating an inspirational Nike commercial, not reading a large biography. The thought of subjecting myself to 32 hours of that was too much for me, so I'll be reading this in hard copy form.
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