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The Greatest Game Ever Played: Vardon, Ouimet and the birth of modern golf Paperback – 3 Jul 2003


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The Greatest Game Ever Played: Vardon, Ouimet and the birth of modern golf + The Match + The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America and the story of golf
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (3 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751533262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751533262
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

An extraordinary book...[with] passages that were so convincing they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up (THE TIMES)

Mark Frost has done a wonderful job of capturing the moment of golf's awakening in America. His work is thoroughly researched (Ben Crenshaw, 1999 US Ryder Cup Captain)

Brilliantly told... marries social history with sporting biography...vivid, often moving, portraits of the two protagonists (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

[A] great insight into how golf got its start in America, and the man who really introduced it: Francis Ouimet (Ken Venturi)

Book Description

What SEABISCUIT was to the early years of modern racing, this book is to the birth of modern golf - a classic, highly inspirational story about genuine heroes, national pride and the enduring friendship between America and Great Britain.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although I drive past the Ouimet museum every day on my way to work, have contributed to the Ouimet Scholarship fund for caddies for many years and thought I knew all about the 1913 Open, this book was an eye opener for me. Almost everything I thought I knew was incorrect in some important detail, and the best parts of the story were unknown to me until I read this well researched and exciting book.
While I'm not sure that the 1913 Open was the greatest game ever played, I do know that The Greatest Game Ever Played was the best sports book I read in 2003. I heartily recommend it to any golf fan and those who love to read about the underdog rising to the top.
Before discussing the Open, let me comment that this book has a format that most will find unusual. There is extensive background on the origins of golf, the backgrounds of the players, the development of golf in the United States and the social history of the time, as well a lengthy section on aftermaths of the players and individuals involved. You will learn about unexpected subjects, such as how tuberculosis was treated before there were antibiotics.
The story-telling style is in the best tradition of fictional dramatizations. Some of the dialogue is invented. The author indicates that "in employing dialogue to bring these scenes to life, I used source material for direct attribution whenever possible. In its occasional absence I attempted to infer intent from prose or reportage . . . . In rare exceptions, with a dramatist's license, and in the utter want of an eyewitness, I took the liberty of elaborating on those perceptions beyond what I could absolutely verify." It's impossible to know which dialogue material is a quotation and what is invented, so don't take the dialogue too literally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. T. Urie on 1 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Having read widely on all aspects of golf, including classics such as A good walk spoiled, Final Rounds, Golf in the Kingdom, Four-iron in my soul, the Legend of Bagger Vance, the Miracle on the 17th Green, To the Linksland and A Duel in the Sun - to name but a few, I can declare that Mark Frost's book "The Greatest Game Ever Played: Vardon, Ouimet and the Birth of Modern Golf" is in my opinion the most informative and entertaining of all. It brings to life a vital chapter in the development of the game both in Britain and the United States. For anyone wishing to learn about how the game of golf was played in the early years this is the book for you.
Harry Vardon is one of the greatest golfers of all time but the general golfing public probably know very little about him and the difficulties he overcame.
Francis Ouimet has always been an obscure name from the past - this book will explain that his standing in world golf was no fluke result.
I thoroughly recommend this book - you will not be disappointed.
For any film makers reading this - If you roll The Natural, Tin Cup and Chariots of Fire together it will not come anywhere near the story of Ouimet versus Vardon !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Cummings on 17 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a truly superb book, chronicling a defining moment in golf history. This should be required reading for any student of the game. I had a vague awareness of the 1913 U.S. Open and the participants, but Mark Frost brought a inspirational tale to life vividly and illuminated the brilliance of Harry Vardon (truly the Tiger Woods of his time) and the greatness of Francis Ouimet. I am amazed that this book was not shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, because, in its own way, it is as good as Seabiscuit, which is very high praise indeed in my opinion. To anyone reading this review, the message is simple, buy this book, you will not be dissapointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Border Terrier on 27 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
An absolutely brilliant book! I have just finished reading it and could not put it down.
The story (based on actual events), gives the background of the early lives and careers of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon leading upto the 1913 US Open Championship where they went head to head with Ted Ray in a playoff for the title.
Unlike most documented books on true life golf, the reader isn't bored with results and bogged down with meaningless scores. Instead this is a very personal account of the heroes of the day. Not only does it portray the accounts leading upto and including the US Open but it gives a great prologue on the lives of many of the people involved in the story and a superb epilogue of the years that followed the tournament, recounting the impact on the golfing world of the American amateur's win and the lives (successes and otherwise) of the players, upto their deaths in many cases.
Others that were essential to the story were the likes of Walter Hagen, Bernard Darwin the sports writer, and many of the top golfers of the era.
My opinion is it ought to be made into a film, but please don't take anything out!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. D. Maidment on 7 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
'The Greatest Game Ever Played' is the story of the 1913 US Open Championship which is attributed to igniting the flames in interest in golf in America.
British legend Harry Vardon was at the peak of his powers at that time, yet found rank outsider Francis Ouimet, a US amateur 23 years his junior, to be his fiercest competitor.
Theirs was one of golf's definitive confrontations, pitting local boy against all-conquering hero and Mark Frost's account looks set to be considered one of the sport's conclusive accounts.
Undoubtedly this clash changed world golf forever. We might think now how great it would be if Brits dominated the global game, but the sport would have been much duller without Ouimet's win.
A real eye opener on the birth of a phenomenon in America and a book so beautifully put together you don't have to be a golf fan to enjoy it.
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