Queen of the Court: The Many Lives of Tennis Legend Alice Marble

Atlantic Monthly. Aug. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780802128324. $30. BIOG
Alice Marble’s (1913–90) performance as one of the first women stars of tennis was all it would have taken to earn her place in history books, but she wasn’t content to be solely an athlete. Pulitzer Prize–winning Blais (journalism, Univ. of Massachusetts; In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle: A True Story of Hoop Dreams and One Very Special Team) illuminates the icon’s life in this biography that details not only her rise in the sport of tennis but also her work as a writer, fashion maven, and civil rights activist. Marble’s life intersected with names that readers will certainly recognize; she played tennis with Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich, and she even gave tennis lessons to a young Billie Jean King. Drawing inspiration from Marble’s life and her two fantastic—and somewhat fantastical—autobiographies (The Road to Wimbledon and Courting Danger), this book reminds readers that this sometimes forgotten figure earned her place in the chronicled events of tennis as well as in the annals of women’s history overall.
VERDICT An informative and intriguing story of the life of a formidable woman. An essential read for anyone who loves learning about the women whom history threatens to forget or erase.
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