Sally Sparrow

Bobby Wolff tells all!

I don’t know if you folks have heard the buzz about Bobby Wolff’s new book, The Lone Wolff, yet, but I have had the opportunity to take a look pre-publication (one of the perks of working in the publishing industry). In fact, I’ve been laying it out in good ol’ QuarkXPress. Little did I know, while I toiled away, focusing only (I thought) on the nitty-gritty of page layout, that the content would slowly seep into my brain and win me over.

Now, I should perhaps take a moment to explain that I am not a "bridge person" per se, having not played a hand in many years, and I certainly don’t know a lot about the world of bridge (though I am coming to learn, bit by bit). One might think, then, that I wouldn’t be the audience for this book – which is why it surprised even me that I found myself enthralled by it (a testament, I think, to its quality).

One of the things that immediately caught me about The Lone Wolff is Bobby Wolff’s style – he writes in a forthright way, doesn’t mince words, and keeps the tone conversational. Because of his firm opinions (and unapologetic manner – at one point he quotes someone as basically saying that Wolff has no political skills whatsoever) he’s bound to irk some people, but that’s what makes the book so engaging: It’s refreshing to read someone unafraid to speak his mind.

Yet, he is also candid about his flaws (his willingness to cite – and agree to – the quote above is an example), which I think will help even those who don’t share his views to see Wolff’s discussions as an invitation to dialogue, a challenge to think seriously about the important issues in bridge and speak out about them. Throughout, his tremendous passion for the bridge world comes through, bringing an energy and vitality to the book.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his wealth of experience. He has so many stories to tell, ranging from the past — such as his experiences with renowned celebrity bridge players Omar Sharif and George Burns, his ups and downs with the Aces, his firsthand account of the Facchini/Zucchelli foot-tapping debacle — to the present — such as his take on the USA 1 Women’s Venice Cup team’s anti-Bush statement at the Shanghai 2007 World Championships and the state of the ACBL.

Enriching his tale are stories about his personal life, including his early bridge days with his brother Walter as partner, the trials and tribulations of his partnership with Bob Hamman, his cherished time with his second wife Debby and her lost fight with cancer, and his newfound happiness with Judy Kay-Wolff.   

As you can see, there is a lot to be gained from a read of The Lone Wolff – even for a bridge outsider. Bobby Wolff is a strong character, much renowned in the bridge world, and this book is the culmination of his experiences. Sure, it will rattle some cages, but that’s what makes it entertaining, involving, exciting, and a darn good read.

The Lone Wolff is due out in February, 2008 from Master Point Press.

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