Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: October 2016

We review The Boys of Dunbar and The Life of Kings.

The Boys of Dunbar

Alejandro Danois (Simon & Schuster)

The 1981-82 Dunbar High School Poets hold a remarkable achievement—four of the legendary basketball team’s stars went on to the NBA. Teammates including Reggie Williams and Muggsy Bogues displayed resilience and drive, along with undeniable talent, as they were from some of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods. Danois, who is editor-in-chief of the sports website The Shadow League, struggles with a consistent narrative, but does an excellent job bringing us behind the scenes with fabulous insight from the Poets themselves and their coach Bob Wade. Ultimately, they show us what true strength and gumption look like.

The Life of Kings

Edited by Frederic B. Hill and Stephens Broening (Rowman & Littlefield)

The Baltimore Sun has weathered much during its nearly 180-year history—including its 1986 sale to the Times Mirror company, and the shuttering of The Evening Sun in 1995. Through good times and bad, it produced excellent journalism, and this collection of personal essays takes us back to some of those times. Read how TV producer David Simon still can’t forget phone numbers he called on the night cops shift, or how Jerelyn Eddings became the Johannesburg bureau chief just as Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. This collection reminds us of the importance of journalism, whether it’s to keep watch, make us laugh, or remind us of where we come from.