Richard Prince’s Book Notes™: Compelling Nonfiction
After 44 years behind bars, the nation’s most famous prison journalist tells his story. A black journalist reaches the highest reaches of the New York Times newsroom, only to topple in a tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions. Women examine their multifaceted status in 21st century journalism. Now it can be told: “Con games, voodoo schemes, true love and lawsuits on the Underground Railroad.” A look at recent nonfiction books by and about journalists of color, with more in the coming days.
Kevin B. Blackistone, a columnist with AOL Fanhouse and panelist on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” co-authored “A Gift for Ron” by Everson Walls (Lyons Press, $24.95)
In October, Blackistone wrote for AOL, “Until about three years ago, Everson Walls was best known for what he took away: passes intended for receivers. Since then, he’s become more known for what he’s given: a kidney. After years of watching his one-time teammate and longtime friend Ron Springs being whittled away by diabetes, and losing hope in the wait for a life-saving kidney transplant, Walls, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, donated his to Springs early in 2007.
“In ‘A Gift for Ron,’ a memoir . . . Walls described to me in detail the moving story of how he shed selfishness as a star athlete to become a selfless organ donor. In doing so, Walls became the first pro athlete to donate an organ to a teammate. With Springs, he co-founded The Ron Springs and Everson Walls Gift for Life Foundation.
“Two years ago . . . Springs, having risen from a wheelchair on the strength of Walls’ kidney, walked into a Dallas hospital to have a cyst removed from his arm. He is still there. Upon being anesthetized, Springs lapsed into a coma from which he has yet to awaken.
“Springs is awash in constant prayers and visits from his family and friends who underscore even more so now the importance of what Walls did, which was to save a life that is still here.”
Columnist Rick Gosselin wrote, “Walls has a compelling story to tell and Blackistone, a former colleague of mine at The Dallas Morning News, had the savvy to keep it as compelling in print.”