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Extended Audio Sample Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich Audiobook, by Mark Kriegel Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,463 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Kriegel Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2007 ISBN: 9781400174867
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Pistol is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dream-and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Pete-a basketball icon for baby boomers-all the Maraviches paid a price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family: its rise, its apparent ruin, and, finally, its redemption. Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid with the floppy socks and shaggy hair. And all these years later, no one else ever has. The idea of Pistol Pete continues to resonate with young people today just as powerfully as it did with their fathers. In averaging 44.2 points a game at Louisiana State University, he established records that will never be broken. But even more enduring than the numbers was the sense of ecstasy and artistry with which he played. With the ball in his hands, Maravich had a singular power to inspire awe, inflict embarrassment, or even tell a joke. But he wasn't merely a mesmerizing showman. He was basketball's answer to Elvis, a white Southerner who sold Middle America on a black man's game. Like Elvis, he paid a terrible price, becoming a prisoner of his own fame. Set largely in the South, Kriegel's Pistol-a tale of obsession and basketball, fathers and sons-merges several archetypal characters. Maravich was a child prodigy, a prodigal son, his father's ransom in a Faustian bargain, and a Great White Hope. But he was also a creature of contradictions: always the outsider but a virtuoso in a team sport, an exuberant showman who wouldn't look you in the eye, a vegetarian boozer, an athlete who lived like a rock star, a suicidal genius saved by Jesus Christ. A renowned biographer-People magazine called him "a master"-Kriegel renders his subject with a style that is, by turns, heartbreaking, lyrical, and electric. The narrative begins in 1929, the year a missionary gave Pete's father a basketball. Press Maravich had been a neglected child trapped in a hellish industrial town, but the game enabled him to blossom. It also caused him to confuse basketball with salvation. The intensity of Press's obsession initiates a journey across three generations of Maraviches. Pistol Pete, a ballplayer unlike any other, was a product of his father's vanity and vision. But that dream continues to exact a price on Pete's own sons. Now in their twenties-and fatherless for most of their lives-they have waged their own struggles with the game and its ghosts. Pistol is an unforgettable biography. By telling one family's history, Kriegel has traced the history of the game and a large slice of the American narrative. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In the end, Kriegel’s portrait is a sad celebration of a gifted player whose collegiate legend never quite blossomed into professional greatness as he battled alcoholism, sought solace in religion and left a troubled legacy that’s still felt by his children and those who knew him.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • A delightfully written biography…. Highly recommended Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harvey | 2/18/2014

    " He was always one of my favorites. I knew he led an unhappy life, but never understood just how bad it was. Very sad book about a very sad life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 2/15/2014

    " I have read this book multiple times, it is my favorite book. It's about more than Basketball, it's also about fathers and sons, and about high expectations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JayJayJay | 2/12/2014

    " Very good read. The way Mark Kriegel wrote the book, made it an interesting book even though it was centered (naturally) on basketball. I wished that I could have seen some of Pistol Pete games. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 707Jackson | 2/11/2014

    " I it was great story about a great basketball legend and one of my favorites pete maravich it talks about his whole famillyand about his NBA career but one thing i think you didn't have to add was the whole part about how basketball came to be and how it started.Ilo ve basketball and if you dont love basketball I don't think you should be reading this book beause all people who play basketball should know how the game started. but besides that it was perfect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charles Biggs | 2/2/2014

    " Pete Maravich was a basketball innovator, providing the young skill sets that we see in today's world game of basketball. This is a great history of a unique player in the game. I especially liked the portion of the book that explored Pete's Father and the impact he had on his career. While I gave it only three stars I believe it's well worth your time to read, especially if you like the basketball sport. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ed | 1/23/2014

    " This is the best sports biography book I have read since the one about Vince Lombardi (When Pride Still Mattered) several years ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 1/22/2014

    " Well written biography of NBA player Maravich, especially the beginning of the book about his father and his childhood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Watson | 1/19/2014

    " Very captivating book about one of the oddest, quirkiest and craziest sports legends ever. A lot of the book is about his father, Press Maravich, who was essentially responsible for making Pistol a complete wack-job. Great book about basketball, fathers & sons, and going crazy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Zoe | 1/18/2014

    " I read this because my 6-year-old son checked it out at the libary and I didn't have anything else to read. Interesting...probably more so if you're a basketball fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith Powell | 12/26/2013

    " A super book on the life and times of "Pistol Pete." It made you laugh and cry at the same time. Great book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/7/2013

    " Wow! No wonder he was so accomplished at basketball. His father molded him into excellence. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art | 11/6/2013

    " It is the story of one of the greatest ball handlers and the greatest scorer in college basketball. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 10/6/2013

    " Excellent and well written. a great read if you like sports biographies. i liked how it didn't portrait the character as a saint, but as he really was, flaws and all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew Carretto | 9/8/2013

    " Very interesting story! Growing up Pistol Pete was always talked about when I played basketball. This book did a very good job of combining the ups and downs of being revolutionary to your field. Unfortunately his life was cut short but God really does have a plan for everyone! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 P.e.lolo | 8/12/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this book. I also liked waching him play basketball shame when he got it going good he past away. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Douglas Graney | 4/17/2013

    " Excellent book on the problematic life of Pistol Pete Maravich. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan | 4/15/2013

    " Sad. Haunting. Redemptive. The Pistol was a genius and remains one of my heroes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 2/4/2013

    " Awesome biography about how Pete Maravich's Icarian life was destroyed by the thing he loved, or perhaps what he was bred to love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 1/15/2013

    " Although this wasn't a terrible read, at the same time, it didn't live up to my expectations for it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara Hayward | 5/1/2012

    " I had heard of Pistol Pete but didn't know much about him. This book was a well written account of his life. He was a basketball player way ahead of his time whose life seemed to be one of great tragedy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 3/25/2012

    " A little tedious in places, but a fine overview of the brief life of Pete Maravich -- the first basketball "star" I followed, since I was an Atlanta child and he wowed fans as a point guard for the Hawks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Soren | 1/21/2012

    " Good biography of a player I liked to watch and my son grew up emulating (we watched Pistol Pete instructional videos like other kids watch Finding Nemo etc. I'd recommend to a fan, but probably not just for general reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqueline | 9/7/2011

    " Very indepth and interesting look at a basketball icon and one of the most influential figures in the development of the modern game of basketball. I'm only a casual bb fan but I loved this look at Pistol Pete Maravich. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick Reilly | 6/8/2011

    " Just wanted to say I'd read a book. But even if you're not a sports fan you'll love this book. honestly "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 miQ | 4/11/2011

    " Before you read this book you must understand that the way Pete was has a lot to do of how his father was. I found it quite slow to get into at first since I wanted to get into the meat of his life but overall a good read for any basketball fanatic! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wlarue | 4/11/2011

    " One of the best basketball books I've read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick | 1/13/2011

    " Just wanted to say I'd read a book. But even if you're not a sports fan you'll love this book. honestly "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 1/1/2011

    " A little tedious in places, but a fine overview of the brief life of Pete Maravich -- the first basketball "star" I followed, since I was an Atlanta child and he wowed fans as a point guard for the Hawks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Highland | 12/2/2010

    " Interesting look at a man who inspired todays NBA stars "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqueline | 10/14/2010

    " Very indepth and interesting look at a basketball icon and one of the most influential figures in the development of the modern game of basketball. I'm only a casual bb fan but I loved this look at Pistol Pete Maravich. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith | 10/6/2010

    " A super book on the life and times of "Pistol Pete." It made you laugh and cry at the same time. Great book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 5/8/2010

    " Very interesting. I am from New Orleans and remember going to the Superdome to watch Pete play for the Jazz. I learned alot about his dad, and the inner struggles Pete faced througohut his life. Kind of a sad, but interesting story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 2/6/2010

    " Very interesting story! Growing up Pistol Pete was always talked about when I played basketball. This book did a very good job of combining the ups and downs of being revolutionary to your field. Unfortunately his life was cut short but God really does have a plan for everyone! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew | 12/30/2009

    " Although this wasn't a terrible read, at the same time, it didn't live up to my expectations for it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Csferguson222 | 11/2/2009

    " The sad story of a super star basketball player who never gained the team championship he sought inspite of his immense talent and individual records and accomplishments. The book chronicles his amazing life, the highs and lows and the demons with which he was constantly challenged. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry | 10/14/2009

    " Terrific research by Kriegel. Very well-done biography "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Goatville9 | 9/29/2009

    " compelling story of a tragic life "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 9/25/2009

    " I was a huge Pete Maravich fan so I found the story of his life to be very interesting. So talented, yet so tortured. "

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About the Author

Mark Kriegel, a former sports columnist for the New York Daily News, is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Namath: A Biography. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his daughter, Holiday.

About the Narrator

Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.