The Rivalry

By John Taylor




I have read numerous stories on the Chamberlain-Russell era, including multiple books by both men.  I did not have too high of expectations but was pleasantly surprised.

This book is a history of the era, but it focuses on how it affected both men and their rivalry.  This includes backgrounds on teammates and coaches and how they handled events, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination and the threatened all-star game strike by the players in 1964. All events focus on the two men.

Most impressive is that he dispels myths and legends, such as Bob Cousy claiming he would only sign with the Celtics out of college, or the claim that Walter Brown agreed to send the Ice Capades to Syracuse if they would not draft Bill Russell.  Another dispelled myth is that the Celtics picked last in the hat draw that got them Cousy.

The book is well researched and I only found 2 small errors in it.  The only negative is that as hard as the author attempts to be neutral, a Celtic-bias does seep through.  Its not Peter May/Johnny Most obvious, but it is there.  Still, I would highly recommend this book, because you will probably learn something.

Introspection:  N/A
Insight:  4
History:  1956-1969
Readability:  4

The Rivalry: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and the Golden Age of Basketball.  John Taylor.  Random House.  2005.


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