"Everyday minutiae...soon evaporate into a meaningless mist of forgotten busy work." Thus asserts Ron Strothers about contemporary American society in this "tribute to people who have made valuable contributions to society that should neither be overlooked nor forgotten..." The author enlists his hometown of Newark, New Jersey to look at American culture through the lens of sports, music and local leaders in the academic and religious communities. The key sport is basketball and the music is jazz. All are employed by Strothers to underscore his basic theme--the importance of history. Committed to bringing to light, sometimes back to light, the histories of gifted ballplayers from the 1950s and 60s, Strothers is exacting and insightful. His premier figure is Cleo Hill, an extraordinary basketball and baseball player from Newark, whose personal basketball story is told with deep respect and admiration. Hill, the author states, was an incredible talent whose professional career came to an abrupt end "through no fault of his own." It is suggested Hill was equal or superior to any professional playing today. Many others from that time are also saluted. Though the book cover shows Hill and two other players holding a basketball, the author insists this is not a "basketball book." Prominent jazz musicians, local and national, are featured as well as key figures outside of the sports world. Throughout, Strothers emphasizes the gravity of history and why everyone, from the famous to the obscure, no matter in what sphere of life they toil, should honor and be honored through legacy and heritage. The Salt Mine is an homage and manifesto of the sanctity of forerunners.
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Published December 16, 2010