Readers' Comments

"It is not enough to desire something. One’s desires are only fuel—and then only an abandoned energy without a solid motor of motivation. To experience a sparkling vision of the role of motivation in Man’s life—with all that entails—read Andrew Bernstein’s Heart of a Pagan: The Story of Swoop.

Swoop—an electrifying presence on and off the basketball court—is 'dedicated to being the best.' However, the best is not, for him, fundamentally about his status relative to others.....More

"Last night I finished Andrew Bernstein's first novel after reading it almost continuously the previous two days. The best words I have to describe it are Objectivist Soul Food. My congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Bernstein.

- Russ Shurts
Centennial, CO

"I picked it up and couldn't put it down.  It's a great novel with an ingenious and original plot and theme, is very well written and  keeps the suspense and inspiration up from beginning to end."         
                                                                - Erich Veyhl
                                                                  Concord, MA.

"It came in the mail yesterday and I read it in one sitting!  Couldn't put it down!! It's all Andy (I could hear him in my head), and all wonderful.  And I don't even LIKE basketball. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for publishing it!!!!!!!!

                                                                  - Nancy Laney
                                                                    Bremerton, WA

I have read the book and I loved it!  Although I thought that there was a little too much simile and metaphor in the descriptions of the basketball action, and the use of Greek mythology was a little heavy-handed at times,  these were minor stylistic flaws that did not detract from a story that truly uplifted me.

Bernstein's hero, Swoop, reminds me of another basketball player whose infectious devotion to the game and incredible physical attainments makes him a special joy to watch--Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  In Minnesota, we call Garnett "The Kid."  When he warms up before the games he doesn't walk or jog around the floor, he skips.  That's right, through the  entire pre-game warmup, he skips.  He skips like a six-year-old filled with the guiltless joy of being what he is and doing what he does.

In a game this spring Garnett was injured when he leaped to block a shot in the second quarter of a close game.  As he rose high into the air, he was undercut by an opposing player and landed hard on his head.  The impact opened a large bloody gash in his skull and knocked him unconscious.  He was out for several minutes and it was clear to all, including myself, that he would not be able to continue as he was helped from the arena.

While he was gone, the Timberwolves floundered.  Leading by 3 when Garnett was injured, they had fallen behind by 15 late in the third quarter.  Then, incredibly, there was Garnett back on the bench, demanding to be returned to the game.  He had been knocked unconscious, received 14 stitches in his skull, and yet there he was on the sideline, needling his coach to put him back in.

In one of the gutsiest performances I have witnessed as a life-long sports fan, Garnett picked the team up and carried it to victory by shear force of will.  The man we all thought was done for this game, and perhaps several more, scored 15 points, dished out 4 assists, collected 7 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in a furious fouth-quarter comeback.  The Wolves won by 5.

A recent promotional commercial for the Timberwolves has Garnett standing in the center of a packed arena, raising his arms high and wide, exhorting the crowd to rise and cheer the efforts of the team.  (This is something he does frequently.)  As the crowd stands and cheers the scene cuts to small groups and individuals scattered across the city who stop what they are doing and  rise in response to the power of Garnett's command.

Bankers rise from their desks, cabbies from their hacks, and diners from their tables.  The  crippled and the infirm are seen to discard their wheelchairs and walkers and stand proudly. With chins uplifted and backs straight, the city pays homage to the excellence and drive of a real-life hero they call The Kid and the team he leads.

Readers of Heart of a Pagan will recognize the symbolic parallel.

Rand Corle
Brooklyn Park, MN

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