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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New Interview: Michael Silver

Good sportswriters have a magical ability about them to connect with readers. They manage to evoke a wide range of emotions by writing about things that can be rather repetitious.

Growing up, I never missed a column or article by Mitch Albom. It didn't matter whether I was interested in the sport he was covering or not--he was just that good. He made me care. It's perhaps the trademark of a good sportswriter--that they make you care.

Michael Silver is another one of those sportswriters who knows how to make his readers care. His column in Sports Illustrated has a huge following in part because he is so passionate about his subject. Last year he was one of the first sportswriters to be allowed into New Orleans after the hurricane hit. He accompanied a football player back to his home and then talked to people around the city. His account of the visit is compelling.

He also recently published a biography on Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin. He spent years following her on the way to the Olympics as she trained with his alma mater, Cal-Berkeley. Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back, Challenged Conventional Wisdom, and Became America's Champion is a book about the champion swimmer, her coach, and the sport. It's also a plea to parents of athletes to not overwork their children or make the sport so it isn't fun.

For our latest author interview, Book Help Web chatted with Michael Silver about his latest book as well as a bit about his previous biographies with such athletes as Jerry Rice, Dennis Rodman, and Kurt Warner. When asked why readers respond so well to sports writing, he said, "We’re all intrigued by the notion of watching people respond to intense pressure."

And intrigue is something that Michael Silver does very well.

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