Friday, February 22, 2013

Second-rate second edition

In addition to just getting more copies of a book into the hands of booksellers, there are at least two other good reasons for publishing a new edition:

1. To add new information.

2. To correct errors.

In both of these respects, the second edition of The U.S. Women's Soccer Team: An American Success Story by Clemente A. Lisi is a disappointment. To be sure, the first edition of the book, published in 2010, has been updated in the 2013 version. Lisi, a reporter for the New York Post, adds coverage of the team through the 2012 Olympics. Yet this new chapter seems hurriedly written and will not satisfy anyone who remembers the Americans' gold medal victory and might hope for something more than what was read in newspaper coverage last summer.

And while parts of the book have been updated, other parts have not been. In his introduction, Lisi writes, "Women's Professional Soccer hopes to pick up where the Women's United Soccer Association left off -- and, this time, succeed. The jury is still out on what the outcome will be and whether the league will be a viable, moneymaking operation." On page 147, he reports that Women's Professional Soccer folded in 2012.

On page 77, we are told Christine Lilly "remains an active member of the squad." On the very next page, we read that she retired in 2010.

As for typos, there are more than you would expect in a second edition (or even a first edition, for that matter). Lisi describes a "hunderbolt shot" and writes about "brining Solo back." Writing about the 2004 Olympics, he says, "Germany could have forced a penalty-kick shootout had Renate Lingor's free kick slid wide of Scurry's goal." Surely there should be a not in there somewhere.

The book reads like a collection of excerpts from press clippings, which is exactly what it is to judge from the notes at the end of each chapter. Only occasionally does Lisi dig below the surface, as when he analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the team's various coaches.

This is a book that will appeal only to the most diehard fans of women's soccer. I happen to be one of these, so I read it with interest, albeit also with disappointment.

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