Notable: Jul. 29, 1985

THE AMATEURS by David Halberstam Morrow; 221 pages; $14.95

The author's customary beat is major league politics and journalism (The Best and the Brightest, The Powers That Be), and his usual tone is portentous. But in this canny change of pace, David Halberstam becomes a miniaturist, examining the claustrophobic world of competitive rowing.

The Amateurs begins as straightforward coverage of the manic scramble for a handful of spots on the 1984 U.S. Olympic rowing team: "It was not a celebrated event ... no tickets were sold, and the community in which it was held, Princeton, New Jersey, largely ignored it." But...

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