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Colleen Howe, Grodie Howe and Charles Wilkins

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 232pp, cloth, $24.95
ISBN 0-7710-4228-0. CIP

Grades 8 and up/Ages 13 and up
Reviewed by Ed Somerville.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

A well-written book that adds a different perspective to the collections of hockey biographies. The standard descriptions of the accomplishments and stature of some of the sport's greatest stars are recounted here. Included are Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Maurice Richard, Phil Esposito and Bernie Geoffrion amongst others, for a total of ten biographies. The most unusual aspect of this book, however, is the inclusion of the observations and comments of each star's spouse. They provide the perspective of what it was and is like to live with a hockey hero/ celebrity. Most interesting is the real and important contribution the wives made to their respective husbands' careers, both while playing hockey and after they "hung up their skates."

The book does a good job of detailing the often difficult adjustment the couples made after the playing career was over. In this respect the book is a good companion to Rick Heinz's Many Are Called ...Few Are Signed: The Hard Realities of Professional Hockey (Heinz Publishing, 1988). After the Applause too provides a sometimes critical view of the ruthless big-business aspect of NHL hockey and its effect on even its greatest stars.

This book makes fascinating reading for hockey fans in their thirties or forties who grew up with these stars on "Hockey Night in Canada." It answers the question, "What ever happened to... ?" However, I have the suspicion that for the school-age hockey fan, current books on Lemieux and Gretzky might be more in demand.

This is, in itself, an indication of the transient nature of athletic notoriety.

Ed Somerville, Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, Red Deer, Alta.
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