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The Hustler & the Champ: Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, and the Rivalry That Defined Pool [Hardcover]

R. A. Dyer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Legacy of Mosconi and Minnesota Fats 11 Dec 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I found R.A. Dyer's "The Hustler & The Champ" an enjoyable and important read, especially for those pool enthusiasts that truly understand the beauty and the greatness of the lost game of straight pool. While there are young players today that can also run 'hundreds', we will likely never see the game of 14.1 played the way it was played during Mosconi's reign. Greenleaf, Mosconi, Ponzi, Procita, Eufemia and others played "old style straight pool" and all shared similar rules of navigation on the felt when running racks. Few players today, save for greats that played in proximity to Mosconi's era, such as 3-time world champion Ray Martin, Dallas West and a few others can resurrect the "old-style play."

As I progressed through Dyer's book I found myself sympathizing with Mosconi's absolute frustration and his sadness of having denied himself a personal life with his family because of his investment of years "on the road" for Brunswick doing exhibitions and living out of hotels for a game that unfortunately also died. At the "end of it all" the magic and greatness of straight pool died anyways and denied Mosconi
even the legacy of keeping the game of straight pool alive.

I found facinating Dyer's description of Mosconi's apathy for playing pool and being forced out of financial necessity to play the game and yet performing nonetheless at a level that was unsurpassable. Dyer gives the reader an accurate and eye-opening read on the separate 'worlds' of pool...the "hustler's world of Minnesota Fats" and the "tournament world" of Willie Mosconi and their eventual combative and necessary collision. I would highly recommend this well researched and informative book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry but informative 23 Mar 2008
By Michael J. Bauers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ask anyone who the best pool player of all time was, and they may say Minnesota Fats. That's an amazing thing, because he was not the greatest pool player of all time, and the book/movie the Hustler were NOT based on him. Instead, he borrowed the name after the fact. WIllie Mosconi should be on people's short list as one the the greatest pool players of all time, but few know who he is. Such is the nature of people's lack of knowledge of pool history, and the effectiveness of Minnesota Fats' con.

This book covers these facts in detail, and covers the rivalry between Minnesota Fats and WIllie Mosconi. It all leads up to the two players contending against each other on ABC's wide world of sports.

Both RA Dyer books I have read were a bit dry, but informative. This book was more interesting than the other, though. I suggest anyone wanting to understand either of these players read this book. This information is covered in other places, but in piecemeal fashion.

If pool/billiards history is not your thing, I suggest more entertaining books such as 'Playing off the Rail' (non fiction), or 'Stroke' (fiction)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading! 19 Oct 2007
By G. Keis - Published on Amazon.com
Fantastic book.... So much is revealed (and explained) about the "real" lives of Willie & Fats that I never knew...What a rivalry and what a life they lived!
A must read for anyone (especially pool players) interested in how these two icons impacted the world of pool forever, and what price their families paid for their fame.
An excellent sequel to R.A. Dyer's "Hustler Days" and "Living Off the Rail" that follows the life and times of so many more legends of the billiard world.
G. Keis / Cleveland, OH
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very pleasent read by a Mosconi fan 11 Jun 2008
By Gordon L. Vonk - Published on Amazon.com
I have been a pool fan and player for about sixty years. I've been a Mosconi fan as long as I can remember and have attended several of this gentleman's exhibitions. At that time, I was an employee of the Brunswick Corporation, Mr. Mosconi's sponsor.

This book was a "good read" from cover to cover. I read much too seldom, however once started in this book I couldn't lay it down. What was appreciated in this book was that it did not seem to be biased, it truly enabled the reader to know Mr. Mosconi.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Accurate pool history 16 Nov 2007
By Hal Grothjan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good job of realistically describing the life of the world's greatest straight pool player and one of the world's greatest hustlers. Interesting, colorful although sometimes dry and a little depressing.

Good facts and research.
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