Book review: Skating in America

"Skating in America: The 75th Anniversary History of the United States Figure Skating Association", by Benjamin T. Wright, chronicles the 75 year history of the United States Figure Skating Association. It begins with a survey of skating in the U.S. prior to the formation of the USFSA in 1921. This very brief section summarizes information available from a number of other sources in greater detail, but sets the stage for the story of the founding of the USFSA. Following this introduction, "Skating in America" describes the early growth of the USFSA and the development of skating in the pre-war years. This section of the book, although brief, provides essential details on the formative years of the USFSA not generally covered elsewhere.

"Skating in America" greatest strength is in its coverage of the post-war era, up through the present. During this era Mr. Wright has been active in skating on a national and international level as a national accountant, national and international judge, national and international referee, past President of the USFSA, past ISU representative, and current historian of the USFSA. Throughout his distinguished career in skating he has kept journals of his experiences and observations which have provided invaluable first hand source material for his detailed description of the skating world over the past 50 years. In addition to detailing the usual personalities, events, and results found in typical histories of skating, attention is also given to lesser known events, activities, and personalities, and to the development and evolution of the USFSA over the years.

At 535 pages of tightly set type, "Skating in America" can be a bit of a tough read at times. Nevertheless, for those interested in the development of skating in the U.S. and its relation to skating internationally, it is a unique and essential resource. 43 pages of appendices are also included. Beyond the ubiquitous lists of National Champions found in many skating histories, these appendices also include thorough lists of former USFSA officers, officials, directors, committee chairs, and committees not found elsewhere. "Skating in America" is available through USFSA headquarters in Colorado Springs.

"Skating in America" - 535 pages, 17 appendices, 8 1/2 X 11 soft bound, b & w photos. Published by the United States Figure Skating Association, Colorado Springs.

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