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David Browne is the music critic for Entertainment Weekly. A former reporter for the New York Daily News, he has crontributed to Rolling Stone, the New York Times, New York magazine, Sports Illustrated, and other publications. He lives and very occasionally skateboards in Manhattan. He is the author of Dream Brother a highly acclaimed book which looked at the lives of Tim and Jeff Buckley.
These days, top-ranked skateboarders, snowboarders, BMX racers and motocross riders can make millions in product endorsements in addition to their competitive earnings. As the music critic for Entertainment Weekly, Browne has an easy point-of-entry into this subculture through its avid appreciation for punk rock and heavy metal, but his overview approaches the extreme sports scene from a variety of angles. Whether he's hanging out with the pros on the tour bus, checking in with participants at a skate camp or meeting with ESPN executives to discuss the launch of the X Games, the candor he elicits from his interview subjects is impressive. He effectively describes the tension felt by the athletes, who strive toward a punk rock ethos of integrity and credibility as they navigate the increasing commercialization of their sports, but as an author, he hangs back at the sidelines. Though Browne seems fascinated by athletes who shrug off even life-threatening accidents by maintaining "injuries help to keep you focused," his narrative lacks an internal edginess that would ensure its appeal to participants in these sports, and his emphasis on marketing could be an equal turnoff. Older, less hip readers, however, will be able to glean some insight into what their kids and grandkids are up to these days. Agents, Sarah Chalfant and Jin Auh. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
'A rich and moving portrait.' Esquire on DREAM BROTHER 'Expertly reported ... in engrossing detail.' Rolling Stone on DREAM BROTHER 'As probing and poetic as its subjects.' People on DREAM BROTHER
America's four major sports (basketball, baseball, football, and hockey) have been institutions since before most of us were alive, so not many people have been around to witness the birth of a big-time sport. Browne, a music critic for Entertainment Weekly magazine, tells the story of how so-called extreme sports like snowboarding, skateboarding, and BMX biking evolved from subculture pastimes into organized, high-stakes, televised events. Browne's subject matter and timing are good, but the book is uneven-filled to the gunwales with technical terms from the sports, names of athletes, producers, and agents. Many of them are undefined or inadequately discussed, although the author does an excellent job of explaining the tricks themselves. It would seem that the book is too advanced for novices and too remedial for those more experienced. Similarly, the book is heavy on anecdote about competitions but short on cohesion and analysis. YAs may like it for its front-row rendering of detail. Optional for public and school libraries.-James Miller, Springfield Coll. Lib., MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.