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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
George Varnell: The Life and Times of a Pioneering Sportsman is a biography in the sports subgenre. It is suitable for the general reading audience and is penned by Jeff Burlingame. A fitting tribute and detailed biographical celebration, this work takes us through the many achievements of George Varnell, celebrated in many different areas of the American sporting scene during the early twentieth century. From his debut at the 1904 Olympic games to his legendary time as a star referee, we learn much about his coaching techniques, journalistic prowess, and his dedication and love for his family and fellow sporting world companions.
Jeff Burlingame writes so engagingly about George Varnell that you don’t need to know anything about American sports to enjoy this book. Aside from being comprehensive in Varnell's technical achievements, there’s such enthusiasm, wit, and passion in this biography that it reads like a novel of a life well lived, making it feel as if an excited and knowledgeable friend is telling you about their favorite person. I was especially impressed by the sense of love, personality, and camaraderie that comes through when Varnell is in his journalism phase and celebrating the achievements of others. Overall, anyone interested in sporting legends or well-penned, passionate biographies is sure to love George Varnell: The Life and Times of a Pioneering Sportsman from beginning to end.