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November 2015 Vol. 53 No. 3

Johns Hopkins University Press

The following review appeared in the November 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Science & Technology
Sports & Recreation

2013-43573 CIP
Hall, Eric Allen. Arthur Ashe: tennis and justice in the civil rights era. Johns Hopkins, 2014. 331p index afp ISBN 9781421413945, $34.95; ISBN 9781421413952 ebook, $34.95.

Looking through the lens of the life of tennis great Arthur Ashe (1943–1993), Hall (Georgia Southern Univ.) contributes to a wide array of histories: sport, political, social, labor, gender, and race.  This remarkably comprehensive book introduces readers not simply to Ashe the athlete and the person but also to Ashe the political activist, the labor organizer, and the civil rights crusader.  Hall paints a careful picture of the segregated Virginia in which Ashe grew up and the tensions he faced in struggling to determine how best to survive and then change white domination of tennis, the US, and South Africa.  Although Hall respects and admires Ashe, he offers a balanced, nuanced examination of a complicated subject, acknowledging the criticism, for example, of Ashe’s choice to compete in segregated South Africa and his lack of support for the women’s liberation movement and for women’s tennis.  This book is more than a biography; it is a window into the wider world that existed when Ashe was alive.  Hall’s research is meticulous, his contextualization of a life is impressive, and he writes his story clearly and deftly.

--S. K. Fields, University of Colorado-Denver

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.