Good Reads: Little league, a horseman, and death row

This is the third in a new series of weekly posts recommending well-written narrative nonfiction/longform articles.

This week’s picks:

The Undefeated Champions of Defeat City by Kathy Dobie, GQ

Artfully written, this piece introduces North Camden, New Jersey, a city known for drugs and violence, and Bryan Morton, a North Camden native who decided to combat decay by starting a baseball little league for the kids of North Camden. A community-building effort driven by kids, parents, and a few bats and balls. Jam-packed with imagery, this piece reads like fiction, bringing you up close and personal with the major players. Strong narrative, priceless story.

Memories of a Master: The Determined Life of Dickie Small by John Scheinman, The Blood-Horse

A glorified obituary, semi-biography, this piece is about the late Dickie Small, a horse trainer from a long line of horse trainers who saw tremendous success on the racetrack. Fueled by interviews with Dickie (pre-passing) and his assistants and colleagues, this piece is a project to read. Those who aren’t horse fans may not make it to the end, but I encourage you to read the whole thing. And watch the videos and read the biographical sections (Early Years, Vietnam, and Making of a Master), as well. The life of this man was remarkable — determined, for sure.

From death row to freedom: One Tennessee man’s journey by Brian Haas, The Tennesseean

Paul House has MS. It’s tied him to a wheelchair, stuck him in adult diapers, and somewhat addled his brain. If he’d been treated in time, all of this could have been avoided, but when House’s MS began ravaging his body, House was sitting on death row in a Tennessee prison on wrongful charges. He was rescued from electrocution, but today, he still pays the price for his 20-plus years waiting for the chair he didn’t deserve.

What do you think of this week’s picks? Any other suggestions?

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2 thoughts on “Good Reads: Little league, a horseman, and death row

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