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Summary

This inspiring memoir from sports and cultural icon Bill Walton recounts his devastating injuries and amazing recoveries, set in the context of his UCLA triumphs under John Wooden, his storied NBA career, and his affinity for music and the Grateful Dead.

In February 2007, Bill Walton suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse - the culmination of a lifetime of injuries - that left him unable to move. He spent three years on the floor of his house, eating his meals there and crawling to the bathroom, where he could barely hoist himself up onto the toilet. The excruciating pain and slow recovery tested Walton to the fullest. But with extraordinary patience, fortitude, determination, and sacrifice - and pioneering surgery - he recovered and now shares his life story in this remarkable and unique memoir.

Walton grew up in San Diego in the 1950s and 1960s and was deeply influenced by the political and cultural upheavals of that period. Although he strongly identified with the cool people, particularly in music and politics, his greatest role model outside his family was super-straight UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, a thoughtful, rigorous mentor who seemed immune to the turmoil of the times. Although there was always tension and conflict between them, the two men would speak nearly every day for 43 years, until Wooden's death at age 99.

Despite a lifelong stuttering affliction, Walton chose a career in broadcasting after his playing days ended. He eventually won an Emmy Award and other accolades for broadcasting and was recognized as a leading media pundit.

John Wooden once said that no greatness ever came without sacrifice. Nothing better illustrates this saying than the real story of Walton's life. In his own words, Back from the Dead shares this dramatic story, including his basketball and broadcasting careers, his many setbacks and rebounds, and his ultimate triumph as the toughest of champions.

©2016 Bill Walton (P)2016 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Fantastic & Fascinating. Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again!

Bill in all his splendour! If you aren’t aware of Bill’s ups and downs this is a must read. If you are, it’s still a must read!

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  • Holley
  • 01-06-16

My favorite

This is one of my all-time favorite audiobooks. I love hyperbole and enthusiasm and this book qualifies as both. I found myself delighted through the whole book. I happened to be at many of the games referenced so the memories were great.

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  • TK Kerwin
  • 20-04-17

Awesome!

If you could sum up Back from the Dead in three words, what would they be?

What a life!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Back from the Dead?

The best part of the story is actually listening to Walton tell it!

2 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 21-04-16

Interesting, but unrevealing

Bill does a good job reading and his excitement for life is contagious. While this book did give some insight to his personal struggles and beliefs, I finished still thinking there was a lot of substance missing from the stories told. It allows appeal to a broader audience, but as one who has read numerous books on the lives of athletes, I think he left a lot of the details out as to not offend.

However, for Bruins, Blazers, or Celtics, this is a fun ride down memory lane. ...and Bill does make you a better person.... He shares his caring spirit and that compels you to pass it forward.

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  • ABXUUO
  • 29-03-16

UNBELIEVEABLE

A book for anyone who loves basketball and life. Commands multiple listens! THROW IT DOWN

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  • Danielle A
  • 03-03-20

Amazed what he went through

Good story, crazy what he went through. To still have such a positive outlook after so much physical pain is remarkable.

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  • BG
  • 10-01-17

The recitation of all books I have listened to

Would you listen to Back from the Dead again? Why?

I'm an UCLA alumni and a Bill Walton fan. His amazing story was first chronicled by The Great David Halberstam in his book Break of the Game. In this book Bill being extremely modest never speaks of his own greatness in the game of basketball. For that you need to read David Halberstam's book. With the background of Halberstam's book you really appreciate Bill's modesty never mentioning how great a player he was. Bill is a true champion, he never gave up. Reading his incredible struggle with his health is truly inspirational.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved Bill reading the book. His passion is so infectious. It's by far the best read book in my library. I have over 150 books in my library. No other book is even a close second.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene with the found penny.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book

Any additional comments?

Why the hell didn't Charlie Rose interview Bill for his book?

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  • Mark
  • 16-04-16

Ripple in still water

Thanks for sharing your stories in Back from the Dead. You have had an amazing life. Add great narrator to your list of accomplishments. Your friend in the box business.

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  • Tony DiBiasio
  • 23-06-22

Entertaining and Informative

Bill Walton confirmed why he was a 3-Time All-American and a 3-Time Academic All-American back in the 1970s and is still a very large presence today. He is passionate, honest (to a point), and writes as beautifully as he played the game of basketball (when he was healthy). His hyperbole can be overbearing, but it becomes humorous because it is exactly who he is! Being the same age as Bill and a long-time fan of his play and his politics, his mixing of basketball in college and the pros, with his love of music, and then his revelation of his many surgeries, recoveries, and more surgeries weaves an amazing personal story of grit, persistence, and cooperative friendships. It was a wonderful listen!

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  • john lundberg
  • 09-05-22

Bill Walton had a unique place in American history.

This book is a terrific insight into the unique and positive attitude that is Bill Walton. Basketball, while used as the vehicle to tell his story is a small part of his life. This free thinker, athletic BB talent talks about preparation, execution, pain, endurance, philosophy and overcoming the obstacles of life in a positive manner. Walton seems to be the epitome of what all the self help and motivational books speak of. I'd love to have a conversation with Bill knowing that basketball would be a small portion of it. He is a national treasure in many ways. His reading of the book was excellent and I came away thinking "life is wonderful."

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  • International Travelers House
  • 25-04-22

Great Read

Walton narrates an amazing story of his life and by doing it himself really brings it to life