The Divine Miss Marble: A Life of Tennis, Fame, and Mystery

Dutton. Jul. 2020. 512p. ISBN 9781524745363. $28. SPORTS
Alice Marble, one of the all-time greats in tennis, won 18 grand slam championships, including wins in both singles and doubles competition. Her best years of competition were between 1936 and 1940 before War World II changed the course of her life. Weintraub (No Better Friend) vividly depicts Marble’s life and times using primary and secondary sources, including the athlete’s own memoirs and correspondence. Beginning with Marble’s childhood in the San Francisco Bay area and how she developed an interest in tennis, Weintraub continues to share how she toured the United States playing in various tournaments and supporting up-and-coming stars such as Billie Jean King and Althea Gibson. The author also recounts her successful and sometimes volatile relationship with coach Eleanor “Teach” Tennant. Marble was a woman of mystery; she claimed in her book Courting Danger she was married to a soldier killed in the war and later, after his death, became involved in a dangerous espionage mission. Weintraub’s research endeavors to shed more insight into her life.
VERDICT An intriguing book about a fascinating woman, and an inspirational story of her overcoming various odds to become a tennis legend. Highly recommended.

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