Photos by Keith Thode

REVIEWS AND COMMENTS

From: Fred L*** <fred@***andassociates.com> 
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2016 12:50 PM
Subject: RE: Paul Haber Story

 

    I first met Paul Haber at the USHA 4-Wall Nationals in 1969 at Austin, TX.  I was a college student at that time competing in the National Intercollegiate Tournament also sanctioned by the USHA.  The three-walled glass court gallery was filled to capacity as Haber prepared to meet Billy Yambrick in the finals for the 3rd time.  I fell in love with Paul’s game as he defeated the very athletic Yambrick with pin-point control.  It was evident that Billy became tired as Haber gave him the “tour of the court.”  The exhibition of “control handball” changed my perception of how the game should be played.

    My next encounter with Paul came shortly thereafter on one of his barnstorming tours.  The elders who frequented the famed Flamingo Park handball courts on Miami Beach (my home courts), agreed to pay Haber a fee for playing the up-and-comer (me), an exhibition match.  I won the match due to the distinct advantage I had on my home court.  More importantly, I discovered a slight weakness in Paul’s game that would aide in dethroning him as National Champion a few years later.

     Paul and I had something in common.  Although I was ten years younger, we both learned to play handball at the Castle Hill Beach Club in the Bronx, NY.  The Paul Haber Story provides details of Haber’s experiences at Castle Hill that were communicated to me by my parents some years ago.  I felt like a spectator at Castle Hill’s exhibition handball courts just as it was outlined in the book.

    My perceptions of Paul changed dramatically over the years.  As a player he was awe inspiring.  As a competitor there was mutual respect.  I felt very sad watching this great athlete decline health wise.

The Paul Haber Story provides great insights into why Paul behaved the way he did.  There is no question that Haber had great intelligence.  If he had channeled the physical and intellectual gifts he possessed into some type of career in addition to handball, he would have been very successful.

 

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From: Jerry M****<jm***@valyousat.net> 
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 8:25 PM
Subject: Great Work!

 

        Checked the book out of the Canton Library today. The 
librarian ordered your book at my request.  I just finished reading it.
        During my recovery from the 'cow crushing' I have read at least 
15 books -- all fiction!  I've read the likes of Deaver, Patterson, 
Rollins, Clancy, Baldacci, etc. etc. and none has garnered the emotions 
that your book has. 


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From: Kathryn G*** <blues****@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 5:52 AM
Subject: Re: Paul Haber book

 

      I actually finished the book 2-3 days ago. So that is a good sign - I couldn't put it down!

Very enjoyable reading. Your knowledge of handball and the accompanying lifestyle and political aspects of it really shone through. You also really delved into his relationships which made him more than just a sports figure.

     It is easy to see why Paul asked you to write his story. You are even a golfer! Plus. a very thorough researcher, which I really appreciated (being a professor).

     You gave such a balanced picture showing the extreme complexity of the man and his struggles to gain his father's approval.  In stories like this I always wonder about the father as well. What makes him tick. His story must also be fascinating. You did give some of that but I am sure that would be another book. I suspect the difficult choices for you must have been what information to leave out and what to focus on. 

     Having worked in mental health I would have been interested in having even a little more in there about that aspect, especially what being bi-polar is. But that is just me. 

It is so interesting, and you did make this point, that people who are bi-polar miss the mania if they are on lithium and sometimes chose not to be treated for it. As you described, there are payoffs to mania, like doing well on the handball court. 

     Unfortunately, there are prices to pay, especially with the legal system and families. And you captured how he self-medicated with alcohol I wonder if he had been born 3-4 decades later how different his story would be, especially in regards to child abuse and mental health. Maybe he would have stuck with golf and been successful in that area! 

     The book was very well written. I had only one thing I noticed and that was how you occasionally repeated information throughout the book. Like you were reminding the reader of previous information you had given them. Maybe because I read it over such a short time period it was more evident to me. Felt like you wanted to make sure the reader understood the points you were making or that each chapter could be read and stand by itself. It is also a strategy professors use to help their students link information together and understand the connections.

     Again, some of the many choices the author makes when writing - I just noticed your style of imparting information to the reader. 

      I also noticed the chapter quote and the book cover quote by M.B. Mathews :-).

So CONGRATULATIONS on and thank you for a book well written and a story well told. Honest informative insightful.

      When is the movie coming out?

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From: Tom S**** <ts***@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 6, 2016 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: The Paul Haber Story --Book Review

 

     Just finished the book (in 2 sessions).

 

     First, a flag, and for me a big one>

 

     Flag:  I obviously enjoyed and was captivated by this book having read it in 2 sessions. It was in my wheelhouse: 1. Non-fiction   2. Observation of human relationships.

For me, there was one major flag that still haunts me to this minute.  The Admiral Yamamoto quote at the start of Chapter 15. We note and sources cited so many times in the reading, the Yamamoto quote about “…awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with resolve” is theatrical license. There is no source other than the 2 Pearl Harbor movies. My source would be 2 historical conference at Pearl…. Producers for the 2nd movie were asked where they found the quote and stated that they got it from the 1960s movie. It’s an appropriate quote for the guy, but no one ever memorialized it until the move “Tora Tora Tora.”

       I enjoyed this book as it fed my interest in gifted individuals who seemingly succeed yet fall, often more than once. I think of baseball player Pete Rose, politician Richard Nixon, entertainer Bill Cosby...  perhaps like Paul Haber a personality or social disorder enhancing the giftedness but constraining the fruits of success. The title summarizes what grabs us in this story.

      I am not a sports person having lost interest more than a decade ago, and I certainly knew or know nothing of handball and Paul Haber other than my gym in southern California had courts that were always busy. But somehow, I still assumed even after reading the title that the story was about handball. To be honest, the sections I struggled to read contained more detailed action from the courts. It was important to struggle through this action paragraphs for they illustrated the breadth and depth of the undiagnosed, unscrupulous, and unbeatable. 

      I enjoy non-fiction for the very reason this story makes sense, hits you in the gut.... it's based on fact within the words of the author. It's real. How many of our friendships are based on "what's in it" for the friend? How far do we go to help a friend because it is in our best interest but not necessarily in theirs? How many times do we hang around some rather low life individuals because of their social status? 

      The readability of this book is wonderful. Not a Peter Rabbit telling of a tragic story, and not so elitist as to leave us feeling inadequate as readers. There are mental health points to be learned. Our society's learning starts with individuals. If we learn, we might anticipate the needs of those impacted and adapt our changing world to these extreme needs. 

      Interesting read... well worth the time. 

_______

 

 From: Maureen S**** <m****@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2016 5:22 PM
Subject: Re: Personality Disorder documented

 

     Just read the book today, couldn't put it down and had to finish it.  Outstanding!  Can't wait for your future ones.

      You're very gifted.  Bet your parents would be very proud.

________

 

From: Don D*** <don***@hotmail.com>
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 4:23 PM
Subject: Paul Haber book: excellent


     I started reading The Paul Haber Story during the Easter weekend. I was hooked.

     Being a hardball player of sorts, I was drawn to the subject, plus I believe a time or two over the years I was enlightened on the prowess of Paul Haber.

     I find the names for each chapter very interesting and I like your concise writing style. The well-researched topics give the reader a degree of knowledge on a variety of topics. I feel that I have earned a PhD in Clinical Psychology. 

     It is a great read and I look forward to hearing about your other books that are in the works.