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Publisher's Summary

Pistol is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dream and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Pete, a basketball icon for baby boomers, all the Maraviches paid a price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family: its rise, its apparent ruin, and, finally, its redemption. Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid with the floppy socks and shaggy hair. And all these years later, no one else ever has. The idea of Pistol Pete continues to resonate with young people today just as powerfully as it did with their fathers. In averaging 44.2 points a game at Louisiana State University, he established records that will never be broken. But even more enduring than the numbers was the sense of ecstasy and artistry with which he played. With the ball in his hands, Maravich had a singular power to inspire awe, inflict embarrassment, or even tell a joke. But he wasn't merely a mesmerizing showman. He was basketball's answer to Elvis, a white Southerner who sold Middle America on a black man's game. Like Elvis, he paid a terrible price, becoming a prisoner of his own fame. Set largely in the South, Kriegel's Pistol - a tale of obsession and basketball, fathers and sons - merges several archetypal characters. Maravich was a child prodigy, a prodigal son, his father's ransom in a Faustian bargain, and a Great White Hope. But he was also a creature of contradictions: always the outsider but a virtuoso in a team sport, an exuberant showman who wouldn't look you in the eye, a vegetarian boozer, an athlete who lived like a rock star, a suicidal genius saved by Jesus Christ.
©2007 Mark Kriegel; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A delightfully written biography....Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"What Pistol Pete was to the no-look, 50-foot bounce pass, Kriegel may be to the sports biography: transcendent." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • steve
  • kearny, NJ, United States
  • 12-12-12

Extremely Good!

I don’t know why exactly but I absolutely love hearing about the story of Pistol Pete. Maybe it’s just because I am fascinated with the whole child prodigy thing but in any event, I just love this story and could listen to stories about Pistol Pete all day.

With that said, I found that this book takes way too long to get into the story. Slow start. But by the second chapter, this gets great and by the end, it's amazing. I really loved how the author sprinkles in the history of basketball throughout the book and especially enjoyed hearing about Pete’s father and his beginnings as a player and coach. And the last hour about Pete's children is also very good.

Two thumbs up and if I had more hands, I'd give it more thumbs!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Surprising Details

I always ratet the book and the reader/production since there are some readers and some productions that can ruin the book as an audiobook. This reader was fine and there was not a lot of unnecessary music etc. in the production. As for the book, very good for a sports biography that pretty much sticks to the details of its subject and does not try to expand the story with too many details about places, historical context, etc. I had no idea what a troubled home life the Maravich family had, or that Press Maravich was such a respected BB coach, one of Wooden's inner circle even. It also does a good job of explaining that Pete's NBA career did have its high points but why his unbelievable skills did not always translate to NBA superstardom. Interesting book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Captivating

Wonderfully written, beautifully read by Lloyd James. I've been converted to a basketball fan in the 6th decade because of this book. I only wish I could have seen Pistol Pete play.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Belinda
  • Indianapolis, IN, USA
  • 04-20-08

Fabulous!

I love the glory days of basketball during the ABA. I was raised on Kentucky Colonels basketball so the story of Pistol Pete was one to which I was naturally drawn. However, the book was so much more than that. Explaining how this man became who he was fascinated me. I would strongly recommend this book!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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So detailed your Imagination sparks

Very Good Book is the best of the most biographies of a new one. loved it

  • Overall
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A book for all men and women who love the game.

An excellent read for all those who desire to know more about the history of this game and American history during the 20th century. It's a book for all who have felt the pangs of this country's sordid racial and ethnic trials. It's also a book for men who want to know and please their fathers on Earth as in Heaven.
Jeff Winkowski, author of Get Hih

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very good

One of the most interesting characters in basketball history. Very detailed and engaging throughout. Kriegel masterfully chronicled the life of the great Pete Maravich

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Story.

Would you listen to Pistol again? Why?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pistol?

How he found happiness.

Which scene was your favorite?

It was all good.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The strain of having a father coach relationship.

Any additional comments?

Great book. A lesson worth reading for sports parents.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Far exceeded my expectations.

Until now, I really had no idea just how much of an influence Pete and his father had on the game.

AND1, Magic Johnson, LSU Tiger basketball, color barriers...

After reading this book I miss Pete.

  • Overall

Ahead of his time

Pete was truly ahead of his time. Fascinating life story. What makes it great is the full breath of his life story starting with his father's start in PA to ending with his one boy's last game in college. At a basketball camp run by his dad Press at Juniata College in PA, Pete in the summer before his LSU freshman year, was there practicing some of his more "gifted" shots. It was hard to concentrate on the camp seesions with him in the background nailing shot after shot, some that defied gravity and physics. I got to meet Pete and for some reason he liked to hang with our group (team). He was exactly as the book described. And he single handed (with the help of four old coaches) destroyed our championship high school varsity. Sad he never got the chance to really team up with Larry Bird the first time the Celtics won the championship in Bird's tenure. He just had too much baggage from an era when you passed with two hands. There was no show time. And that bias carried to his boys who had great talent as well. He truly was the original show time.