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Issue Date: November 2011

Required Reading

Barry Goodrich

Scott Raab's Cleveland is a place of loss, suffering and, ultimately, betrayal. As a boy, he watched the Browns throttle the Baltimore Colts to claim the 1964 NFL title and still carries around the ticket stub in a Ziploc bag to prove it. Yes, this is a book about LeBron James' duplicity, but it is also part memoir and meditation on being a Cleveland sports fan. Much like Frederick Exley's classic A Fan's Notes, the book is both harrowing and heartening. The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James (Harper, $25.99) paints James as a magnificent athlete and a colossal fraud. Raab, a veteran Esquire writer, sits with a fiery and uncensored Dan Gilbert at the start of last season and follows James to Miami, where American Airlines Arena officials revoke his media pass. In the end, Raab cautions that his blind devotion to Cleveland sports teams and his loathing of James is a cautionary tale for us all: "What another sees in you will reveal that person. What you see in another reveals yourself. We are — each of us and all of us — mirrors."

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