Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Ira Berkow  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1940 in Chicago, Illinois

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-- Ira Berkow on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Berkow was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. He earned his MA from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Ira Berkow is a Pulitzer Prize-winning sports reporter and columnist. After 26 years at the New York Times, he retired in 2007. He has also written articles for many magazines including but not limited to ''Esquire'', ''The New York Times Magazine'', ''Art News'', ''Chicago Magazine'', ''The Chicago Tribune Magazine'', ''Readers' Digest'' and ''Sports Illustrated''.Berkow shared a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2001 and was a Pulitzer finalist for Commentary in 1988. He is the author of numerous books, including ''The Corporal Was a Pitcher'', ''Rockin’ Steady'', and ''Summers in the Bronx'', the bestsellers ''Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar and Red: A Biography of Red Smith'', as well as two memoirs, ''Full Swing'' and ''To the Hoop''. He was the coauthor and editor of ''Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life'', which was a primary source for the award-winning documentary ''The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg''. He now lives in New York City.

Published Works

  • Beyond The Dream, Occasional Hero of Sports, Atheneum, 1975
  • The DuSable Panthers, Atheneum, 1977
  • Maxwell Street, Survival in a Bazaar, Doubleday, 1978
  • Red, A Biography of Red Smith, Times Books, 1986
  • Pitchers Do Get Lonely & Other Sports Stories, Atheneum, 1988
  • Hank Greenberg, Hall of Fame Slugger, Jewish Publication Society, 1991
  • The Gospel According to Casey, St. Martin's Press, 1992
  • To The Hoop, Seasons of a Basketball Life, Basic Books, 1997
  • Court Vision, Unexpected Views on the Lure of Baseball, William Morrow, 2000
  • Minority Quarterback, Ivan R. Dee, 2002
  • Full Swing: Hits, Runs and Errors in a Writer's Life, Ivan R.Dee, 2006
  • The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Coursge of Lou Brissie, Triumph Books, 2009
  • Summers In The Bronx: Attila The Hun And Other Yankee Stories, Triumph Books, 2009
  • Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool, Triumph Books, 2010 - written with Walt Frazier
  • Autumns in the Garden: The Coach of Camelot and Other Knicks Stories, Triumph Books, 2013
  • Summers at Shea: Tom Seaver Loses His Overcoat and Other Mets Stories, Triumph Books, 2013
  • Wrigley Field: An Oral and Narrative History of the Home of the Chicago Cubs, Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2014
  • Counterpunch: Ali, Tyson, the Brown Bomber, and Other Stories of the Boxing Ring, Triumph Books, 2014

Selected Titles At Your Library

Beyond the dream :
ISBN: 0803215959. OCLC Number:

University of Nebraska Press,. Lincoln :. 2008.

The DuSable Panthers :
ISBN: 0689306121. OCLC Number:

Atheneum,. New York :. 1978.

An account of the 1954 Illinois High School State Championship basketball game between the DuSable Panthers, the first all-black team to make the finals, and a team from Mount Vernon High School.

Maxwell Street :
ISBN: 0385067232. OCLC Number:

Doubleday,. Garden City, N.Y. :. 1977.

Maxwell Street is an open-air market on Chicago's West Side, the center of a ghetto about a mile square, where thousands of Jewish immigrants fleeing pogroms and persecution in Eastern Europe settled and first set up business in America between 1880 and 1924. This engrossing, lively and richly illustrated chronicle recreates the color, the diversity and the personality of Maxwell Street both through the author's recollections of his own childhood experience and the actual stories of many for whom Maxwell Street was the first taste of America.

Red :
ISBN: 0803260407. OCLC Number:

University of Nebraska Press,. Lincoln :. 2007.

Pitchers do get lonely, and other sports stories /
ISBN: 0140120459. OCLC Number:

Penguin Books,. New York, N.Y., U.S.A. :. 1989, ©1988.

Hank greenberg :
ISBN: 0827606850. OCLC Number:

Jewish Publication Soc,. Philadelphia :. 2001.

To the hoop :
ISBN: 1566635489. OCLC Number:

I.R. Dee,. Chicago :. [2004]

Court vision :
ISBN: 0803262299. OCLC Number:

University of Nebraska Press,. Lincoln :. ©2004.

"Ira Berkow presents a unique look at America's premier sport - and its fans - through interviews with a remarkable cross section of widely known and extraordinarily accomplished individuals in a variety of fields, who explain what the lure of basketball is for them. Berkow talked with Chris Rock, Woody Allen, Tom Brokaw, Saul Bellow, Johnnie Cochran, Jr., Walter Matthau, Nikki Giovanni, Donald Trump, Julia Child, Frank Stella, Erica Jong, Grover Washington, Jr., Seiji Ozawa, and Sharon Stone, among others, to uncover fresh, funny, controversial, and often surprising opinions about the teams and players who make the game intriguing."--Jacket.

The minority quarterback, and other lives in sports /
ISBN: 1566635020. OCLC Number:

I.R. Dee,. Chicago :. ©2002.

In addition to his celebrated story of a white quarterback at an all-black college in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Berkow looks at a variety of sport's winners and losers, funny and tragic and inspiring, from the ballpark to the boxing ring.

Full swing :
ISBN: 1566637554. OCLC Number:

Ivan R Dee, Inc.,. Chicago :. 2007.

The corporal was a pitcher :
ISBN: 1600781047. OCLC Number:

Triumph Books,. Chicago, Ill. :. ©2009.

"Doc, I'll take my chances." With those words, Lou Brissie turned down what was described as the only way of saving his life, the amputation of his leg after a World War II artillery barrage. This is the moving story of a veteran's determination to pursue his dream of pitching in the big leagues, no matter how difficult the rehabilitation and how slim his chances. Library Journal Reviews.

Summers in the Bronx :
ISBN: 1600783929. OCLC Number:

Triumph Books,. Chicago, Ill. :. ©2009.

Forty years of Yankee columns from one of New York's most popular sportswriters. Berkow captures the spirit of the Bronx Bombers in this collection of opinions and stories, guaranteed to delight fans of all ages.

Rockin' steady :
ISBN: 1600785263. OCLC Number:

Triumph Books,. Chicago, Ill. :. ©2010.

For millions of basketball fans in the 1970s, Walt "Clyde" Frazier defined the word cool. One of the greatest point guards in NBA history, Clyde guided the New York Knicks to their only two championships with a style and flair that was wholly his own. Back in 1974, Clyde and New York Times sportswriter Ira Berkow collaborated on a book that has become an iconic and much-sought-after piece of basketball history. Now, three decades later, Rockin' Steady: A Guide to Basketball & Cool is back with an all-new introduction, afterword, and everything that made it one of the most unusual sports books.

Autumns in the Garden :
ISBN: 1600788661. OCLC Number:

Triumph Books,. Chicago :. 2013.

Featuring 25 years' worth of columns from one of New York's most popular sportswriters, this collection is guaranteed to delight Knickerbockers fans of all ages. These unforgettable opinions, stories, and observations from New York Times columnist Ira Berkow capture the spirit of the Knicks, from memories of Red Holzman and Earl Monroe to reflections on Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin. As the 2013 team celebrates the 40th anniversary of their 1973 NBA championship, this book enlightens fans on the entire colorful history of the franchise.

Summers at Shea :
ISBN: 1600787754. OCLC Number:

Triumph Books,. Chicago, Illinois :. [2013]

Culled from 50 years' worth of columns from one of the country's most popular sportswriters, this work stands as a remarkable collection of opinions that is guaranteed to delight Mets fans of all ages. Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow captures the spirit of the Mets in this unforgettable collection of opinions, stories, and observations from his long and distinguished career as he interviews and comments on the team. From memories of inaugural franchise manager Casey Stengel and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver to reflections on ace Johan Santana and the superstar David Wright, this collection combines Berkow's eye for detail with the comedy and drama revealed by the subjects themselves, bringing to life Mets' personalities from the last half century.

Wrigley Field :
ISBN: 1584799153. OCLC Number:

. .

This tribute to the one and only, written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ira Berkow, is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field in 2014. Wrigley Field brilliantly and beautifully documents the stadiums entire career through a decade by decade account, a priceless collection of historical photographs and memorabilia, and vivid first person reminiscences of the people to whom this great place has meant so much. Notable fans interviewed for this book include Barack Obama, Scott Turow, Joe Mantegna, Sara Paretsky, Jim Bouton, and George F. Will, among others.

Counterpunch :
ISBN: 1600789730. OCLC Number:

. .

"Spanning the period between 1967 and 2005, this compilation includes 84 of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ira Berkow's columns on boxing. Readers will meet some of the greatest names in the sport's history in the pages of this book, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Louis, and Mike Tyson. Among the unforgettable stories gathered in this collection are the heated rivalry between Ali and "Smokin' Joe" Frazier, Tyson's infamous "Bite Fight" in 1997, and the will-he-or-won't-he retirement saga of Sugar Ray Leonard. Written in Berkow's gripping prose, the columns included in Counterpunch chronicle the most important moments in boxing over the last four decades"--


Ira Berkow received the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his article

The Minority Quarterback

in the New York Times series

How Race is Lived in America

. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1988 for Distinguished Commentary.

The Man Who Robbed The Pierre

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)