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Neil Swidey is an author and staff writer for the Boston Globe Magazine. His books, The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives, and are part of the Upton Bell Collection at UMass Lowell Libraries in O'Leary Library, 2nd Floor Special Collections and include personal inscriptions.
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Awards won by Neil Swidey
Dime Magazine Top 10 Basketball Books of All Time Honorable Mention, The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives, 2010
The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, Magazine Writing (Regional/Local Circulation), “The Reckoning,” 2016
The Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award, Public Service in Magazine Journalism (Regional/Local Circulation), “Hopes, Dreams, Debt,” 2016
Booklist Editor's Choice Social Sciences, Trapped under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles into the Darkness, 2014
The Assist: Hoops, Hope, and the Game of Their Lives
The Assist by
Call Number: GV 885.43 .C57 S95 2008
Publication Date: 2008-01-08
Jack O'Brien, the impossibly demanding basketball coach at Charlestown High School in Boston, has led his team to five state championship titles in six years. Less talked about is O'Brien's other winning record: Nearly every one of the players who stuck with his program--poor kids growing up in high-crime neighborhoods and saddled with the lousy educational system available in urban America--managed to get to college. But O'Brien is no saint. Saints give without expecting anything in return. O'Brien needs his players and their problems as much as they need him. Revolving around fascinating, complex characters, The Assist is a captivating narrative of a basketball team in pursuit of a championship that also drills down into the legacy of desegregation and explores issues of education, family, and race. O'Brien is a middle-aged white guy coaching an all-black team playing in an all-white neighborhood that three decades ago was at the center of the busing wars dividing cities across the country--a time and place indelibly described in J. Anthony Lukas's powerful book Common Ground. It's the inspiring story of a man who makes a difference, and of boys surmounting nearly impossible odds; it is also the story of the ones who don't make it, and why.
Trapped Under the Sea by
Call Number: TD 524 .M4 S95 2014
Publication Date: 2015-02-17
The harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless, miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet below the ocean, to do a nearly impossible job--with deadly results nbsp; A quarter-century ago, Boston had the dirtiest harbor in America. The city had been dumping sewage into it for generations, coating the seafloor with a layer of "black mayonnaise." Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as "beach whistles." nbsp; In the 1990s, work began on a state-of-the-art treatment plant and a 10-mile-long tunnel--its endpoint stretching farther from civilization than the earth's deepest ocean trench--to carry waste out of the harbor. With this impressive feat of engineering, Boston was poised to show the country how to rebound from environmental ruin. But when bad decisions and clashing corporations endangered the project, a team of commercial divers was sent on a perilous mission to rescue the stymied cleanup effort.nbsp;Five divers went in; not all of them came out alive. nbsp; Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents collected over five years of reporting, award-winning writer Neil Swidey takes us deep into the lives of the divers, engineers, politicians, lawyers, and investigators involved in the tragedy and its aftermath, creating a taut, action-packed narrative. The climax comes just after the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade assignments as they head into the tunnel, sentencing one of them to death. nbsp; An intimate portrait of the wreckage left in the wake of lives lost, the book--which Dennis Lehane calls "extraordinary" and compares with The Perfect Storm--is also a morality tale. What is the true cost of these large-scale construction projects, as designers and builders, emboldened by new technology and pressured to address a growing population's rapacious needs, push the limits of the possible? This is a story about human risk--how it is calculated, discounted, and transferred--and the institutional failures that can lead to catastrophe. nbsp; Suspenseful yet humane, Trapped Under the Sea reminds us that behind every bridge, tower, and tunnel--behind the infrastructure that makes modern life possible--lies unsung bravery and extraordinary sacrifice.nbsp;nbsp; From the Hardcover edition.