Kyle Peterson

A Sports Fan’s Agony and Ecstasy

Review: Joseph Epstein’s ‘Masters of the Games’

Joseph Epstein is one of those rare men capable of writing well about any subject. I mean “any subject” almost literally: if Epstein were assigned the task of creating the instruction manuals for the assembly of IKEA furniture, their prose would greet the reader like an old friend. These instruction booklets would inevitably be anthologized, the best among them—the cherry nightstand, or perhaps the walnut side table—bound together under a charming title such as The Nordic Cabinetmaker or Practically Almost Wood. Critics discussing Epstein’s Swedish Period would suggest that he somberly reflected the human condition by noting the impossibility of constructing that armoire without dropping and losing a screw or two.