Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Iron Lady (1/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 105 minutes.

OK for children.

This is an execution by experienced assassins. If you want to learn about Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister in British history and the longest-sitting PM of the 20th-Century, this film produced by The Weinstein Company (herein "Weinstein"), starring Meryl Streep, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and written by Abi Morgan (who said, "I remember at university in 1990 there was dancing in the street when she left power, so I knew her legacy and that she was someone who was hated"), is not the film to see. The point of the film seems to be to establish that she's a seriously flawed woman of mental deficiency.

It immediately establishes the fact that Mrs. Thatcher (Streep) is suffering from dementia. There are constant flashbacks and flashforwards to her as an elderly woman communicating with her dead husband and her children when they are little, always reminding us that she's mentally deficient. The first, which flashes back to her "courtship" with husband Denis (Jim Broadbent), shows her as an unpopular, unsophisticated, inexperienced wimp. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The movie belittles or ignores everything she accomplished. Among the things it neglects to mention are the following. She took second honors in earning a degree in Chemistry at Oxford, where she was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. After graduating she worked as a research chemist at various companies. After marrying Denis, she qualified as a barrister and specialized in taxation. She was hardly the naive, clumsy simpleton this film pictures.

It shows nothing of her first campaign. On the day of her first election to the House of Commons, instead of celebrating it as a great victory, it shows her abandoning her small children who don't want her to go, which makes her appear uncaring, selfish, and ambitious.

Then, suddenly, she's a front-bencher, the Education Secretary in Prime Minister Edward Heath's (John Sessions) cabinet. How did that happen? Weinstein is as silent about how she advanced in Parliament as he is about how she got elected. Of course, to explain that would force him to have her appear competent and courageous, which probably explains why he left it out.

Streep's horrible phony British accent makes the film appear a characterization, more like "Julia Childs impersonates Margaret Thatcher," than a factual biopic of this remarkable woman. Bette Davis didn't adopt a phony British accent when she played Queen Elizabeth in Essex and Elizabeth (1939). Nor did Errol Flynn in the same film as Essex, and he was Australian; he wouldn't have had to phony it up. Gene Kelly didn't affect a phony French accent when he played D'artagnan in The Three Musketeers (1948). Actors needn't turn into a Rich Little impressionist when playing actual characters from history. Phony accents detract from the quality of the film, although that's not a problem here because this film is so deplorable it has no quality from which to detract.

How in the world did Mrs. Thatcher rise from a backbencher to become Prime Minister? After innumerable flashbacks and flash forwards of little or no substance, after 49 minutes suddenly she's Prime Minister! How did that happen? How did she win over the party regulars? How did she rise in Parliament? On this Weinstein and Streep are silent, but they certainly emphasize that she developed dementia as the constant flashforwards constantly remind us. The person portrayed by Streep in this film could never have accomplished what Margaret Thatcher accomplished.

Fully 75% of this film shows Thatcher with dementia. It should more appropriately have been entitled Thatcher with Dementia, because that's all it's about. In the few scenes of her as Prime Minister, it shows her to be enormously unpopular and always fighting everyone. This seems totally inconsistent with the fact that she was the longest sitting Prime Minister of the 20th-Century. How could that be if she were as unpopular as Weinstein paints her here? With one exception, the film doesn't show her making big decisions or shaping policy or public opinion. It simply shows her giving occasional speeches. But the film always flashes forward to remind us that she is, after all, of feeble mind.

The one specific political issue with which Weinstein deals is the sinking of the Argentinean light cruiser Belgrano during the Falklands War. Because this movie is such a fiction that it couldn't even use the disclaimer "based on fact," Weinstein allows the viewer to believe that because the Belgrano was steaming away there was no reason to sink her, and buys into the left's allegation that Mrs. Thatcher was a war criminal for this order. This is dead wrong, and Weinstein should know it. The Belgrano had orders to attack. It wasn't "sailing away." It was merely redeploying for its attack. But it doesn't matter in which direction it was sailing. It was in a zone where the British had warned that any ship in the zone would be sunk, regardless of in which direction it was sailing. (If you're interested in the truth of the matter, see the article in the "Daily Mail:" Britain WAS right to sink the Belgrano: Newly released intelligence proves the Argentine ship had been ordered to attack our Task Force: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080490/Belgrano-Britain-WAS-right-sink-ship-attacked-Task-Force.html#ixzz1iKL4doTH). Weinstein paints it as a very difficult decision, but her Minister of Defense, Sir John Nott, later observed: "It was one of the easiest decisions of the whole war."

For this great woman who opened the door wide for women in British politics, who was the first female Prime Minister in British history, who paved the way for the Reagan Era and the end of the Cold War, this film is a cruel disgrace and the people who made it should be ashamed of themselves, but there's fat chance of that. History is not made by those who do the acts; it's made by those who tell the tale. Streep does a fine job of destroying Mrs. Thatcher's reputation, so she is undoubtedly proud of her part in this despicable defamation. Given the political slant in Hollywood, there's little doubt that there's an OscarŽ nomination in store for her as her reward. In a world that honors the truth, however, a RazzieŠ would be a more appropriate award for her and the movie.