Book Review: All Around Men : Heroes of a Forgotten Sport

The book is well structured. It presents a valid historical description
of the history of track and field and the evolution of multi-event contests
followed by the biographical sketch of twenty-two of the greatest All-around
athletes.

All-Around Men: Heroes of a Forgotten Sport is well researched and referenced,
providing a brief yet detailed account of the history of track and field
in America and the evolution of combined track and field events. It is
a good secondary source of information concerning the history and development
of track and field and, more specifically, the decathlon.

The author, Frank Zarnowski, is a world authority in the track and field
modality of decathlon. Zarnowski is a prolific author having published
numerous books and articles about the decathlon. Zarnowski has served
as the U.S. national team coach, manager, and delegate leader.

The biographical descriptions of the most notable all-around athletes
are well supported with statistical data.

Of the athletes featured in the book, Jim Thorpe is arguably the most
prominent. Thorpe was the gold medal winner in the initial Olympic decathlon
and pentathlon at the Stockholm Olympic Games of 1912. Thorpe also played
professional baseball for the New York Giants and professional football
until the age of forty-one.

Another featured all-around athlete deserving of special attention is
Avery Brundage, not as much for his achievements as an all-around athlete
but for his accomplishments as the president of the Amateur Athletic Union
(AAU), U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), and International Olympic Committee
(IOC). From 1929 when he assumed the presidency of the USOC until 1972
when he stepped down as the IOC president, Avery Brundage was one of the
world’s most influential figures in amateur sports.

All Around Men : Heroes of a Forgotten Sport
By: Frank Zarnowski
The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
ISBN: 0-8108-5423-6