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All In: An Autobiography

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An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of a champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. Billie Jean King was only seven years old when she told her mother, I'm going to do something great with my life someday. But the world she wanted did not exist yet, so she set out An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of a champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. Billie Jean King was only seven years old when she told her mother, I'm going to do something great with my life someday. But the world she wanted did not exist yet, so she set out to create it. In this spirited account, King details her life's journey to find her true self. She recounts her groundbreaking tennis successes that came at a breathtaking pace--six years as the top-ranked woman in the world, twenty Wimbledon championships, thirty-nine grand-slam titles, and her watershed defeat of Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes. King poignantly recalls the cultural backdrop of her career and the profound impact on her worldview from the women's movement, the assassinations and anti-war protests of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and, eventually, the LGBTQ+ rights movement. King describes the myriad challenges she hurdled, including entrenched sexism, an eating disorder, near financial ruin after being outed, and accepting her sexual identity. It was not until the age of 51 that she began to publicly and unequivocally acknowledge, I am gay. Today, King's life remains one of indefatigable service. She offers insights and advice on leadership, business, activism, sports, politics, marriage equality, parenting, sexuality and love. She shows how living honestly and openly has had a transformative effect on her relationships and happiness. Hers is the story of a pathbreaking feminist, world-class athlete, and an indomitable spirit whose impact has transcended her achievements in sports.


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An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of a champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. Billie Jean King was only seven years old when she told her mother, I'm going to do something great with my life someday. But the world she wanted did not exist yet, so she set out An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of a champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. Billie Jean King was only seven years old when she told her mother, I'm going to do something great with my life someday. But the world she wanted did not exist yet, so she set out to create it. In this spirited account, King details her life's journey to find her true self. She recounts her groundbreaking tennis successes that came at a breathtaking pace--six years as the top-ranked woman in the world, twenty Wimbledon championships, thirty-nine grand-slam titles, and her watershed defeat of Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes. King poignantly recalls the cultural backdrop of her career and the profound impact on her worldview from the women's movement, the assassinations and anti-war protests of the 1960s, the civil rights movement, and, eventually, the LGBTQ+ rights movement. King describes the myriad challenges she hurdled, including entrenched sexism, an eating disorder, near financial ruin after being outed, and accepting her sexual identity. It was not until the age of 51 that she began to publicly and unequivocally acknowledge, I am gay. Today, King's life remains one of indefatigable service. She offers insights and advice on leadership, business, activism, sports, politics, marriage equality, parenting, sexuality and love. She shows how living honestly and openly has had a transformative effect on her relationships and happiness. Hers is the story of a pathbreaking feminist, world-class athlete, and an indomitable spirit whose impact has transcended her achievements in sports.

30 review for All In: An Autobiography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Olive Fellows (abookolive)

    While reading tennis legend Billie Jean King’s unflinchingly honest new autobiography, “All In: An Autobiography,” one message becomes clear: To inspire change, you have to first make a racket. Now in her late 70s, the former No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world, who long ago proved her reach extends far beyond the tennis court, doesn’t hold back, declaring, “Even if you’re not a born activist, life can damn sure make you one.” Click here to read the rest of my review in the Christian Science While reading tennis legend Billie Jean King’s unflinchingly honest new autobiography, “All In: An Autobiography,” one message becomes clear: To inspire change, you have to first make a racket. Now in her late 70s, the former No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world, who long ago proved her reach extends far beyond the tennis court, doesn’t hold back, declaring, “Even if you’re not a born activist, life can damn sure make you one.” Click here to read the rest of my review in the Christian Science Monitor!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    ( Left to right: Carole Caldwell Graebner, Julie Heldman and Billie Jean King in Turin, Italy, holding the Federations Cup 1966 won against West-Germany national women's tennis team. First published in the Italian newspaper Stampa Sera on 16 May 1966.) "Don't let anyone define you. You define yourself." ~Billie Jean King An autobiography of an athlete isn't something I would normally read. I'm not interested in sports. Walking through the sporting goods section on my way to books, crafts, or grocer ( Left to right: Carole Caldwell Graebner, Julie Heldman and Billie Jean King in Turin, Italy, holding the Federations Cup 1966 won against West-Germany national women's tennis team. First published in the Italian newspaper Stampa Sera on 16 May 1966.) "Don't let anyone define you. You define yourself." ~Billie Jean King An autobiography of an athlete isn't something I would normally read. I'm not interested in sports. Walking through the sporting goods section on my way to books, crafts, or groceries is the most involvement I have with sports -- and even that is boring. I watch the occasional gymnastics or figure skating (maybe once every few years), enamored by the beauty and aching as I imagine doing any of it myself.  I was a bit surprised that I wanted to read Billie Jean King's autobio. My partner loves sports as much as I dislike them and I watched "Battle of the Sexes" (about BJK) with her, surprised by how much I enjoyed it. So I guess it's not that weird that I wanted to read her bio. There's a lot about sports and individual matches. That got tedious. However, there's also a lot about how Ms. King fought for women's equality in tennis and that I enjoyed. I also loved reading about her activism and support for transgender and intersex athletes.  I was also very interested in what she wrote about her sexuality and how she felt she had to stay in the closet in order to have a career in tennis. I ached for her, knowing how lonely that is, and terrifying. Worrying what would happen if people knew - if she lived true to herself - took its toll on her health and relationships.  Eventually she was outed by a past lover and, though I wasn't surprised, I was saddened and angered by how this affected her career and endorsements (this was in 1994). Throughout the years, Billie Jean King has been outspoken on social justice issues. She has lent her support to the Civil Rights movement, LGBTIQQ2+ equality, anti-war efforts, and equal rights for women. I appreciated her pointing out that women's rights has to include ALL women, not just straight white cisgender women. The last section of the book has a lot about her activism, and how she continues to be involved with human rights and social justice. Along with reading about her sexuality, I found this to be the most interesting part of the book.  Through it all, Billie Jean speaks openly and engagingly about her life, her struggles, her wins, her hope for a better future for all. I admire her strength and fortitude, her willingness to speak out when others would remain silent, her compassion. I am glad I decided to read this book, and wonder if now I might even be interested in watching a tennis match. Maybe I will.... after I read another chapter of my book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    Oh, Philadelphia freedom Shine on me I love you Shine a light Through the eyes of the ones left behind Shine a light shine a light Shine a light won't you shine a light Philadelphia freedom I lo o ove you Yes I do Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John/Bernard Taupin Hobnobbing with famous musicians was not something Billie Jean Moffitt ever dreamed of as a girl growing up in Long Beach, California. She was the oldest of Betty and Bill Moffitt’s two children. Her parents were conservative Methodists, and b Oh, Philadelphia freedom Shine on me I love you Shine a light Through the eyes of the ones left behind Shine a light shine a light Shine a light won't you shine a light Philadelphia freedom I lo o ove you Yes I do Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John/Bernard Taupin Hobnobbing with famous musicians was not something Billie Jean Moffitt ever dreamed of as a girl growing up in Long Beach, California. She was the oldest of Betty and Bill Moffitt’s two children. Her parents were conservative Methodists, and both parents were athletic. Her younger brother, Randy, Moffitt, went on to pitch professionally for three Major League teams in a 12-year career. As a young girl, Billie Jean played softball, but once she realized that there the only “acceptable” sports for females were tennis and golf, she found a local tennis instructor. And the rest, as they say, is history. In her autobiography, All In: An Autobiography, Billie Jean King describes the ups and downs of her tennis career. She recounts in great detail her many years of learning to play the game, and she credits so many mentors who encouraged her, pushed her, and helped motivate her to improve her skills and her understanding of the game and its strategies. In the beginning, there were many more downs, than ups, of course. It was a battle just to raise the money for tournaments, and even at an early age, she became all too aware of the inequities between men and women’s tennis. Males had far more opportunities and fewer restrictions than females, not to mention prize money. Equality is one of the central themes of the book – and of Billie Jean King’s life. If you followed tennis in the late sixties and early seventies, you will love Ms. King’s recap of the players she faced and some of the key events she played and won, or lost. It’s a lot of detail, even for a sports fan. If you’re not a tennis fan, I would encourage you to stick with the book anyway because mixed in with the serves and volleys is a lot of Billie Jean’s personal history and her outlook on life. She has referred to several women in this book as “sheroes” – well, Billie Jean King, I hope you know that you are a shero to many, many people too. She led the fight for fairness in pay and to access to tennis events for women. Male tennis players, many of them stars, were adamantly opposed. Yet, she persisted. She eventually helped found the first women’s professional tennis tour. She pushed for a women’s players union and became its first president. With her husband Larry and other backers, she helped found World Team Tennis. It is her team, the Philadelphia Freedoms, for which Elton John wrote his song. They met not long after her famous “Battle of the Sexes” and became fast and lifelong friends. About that “battle.” I remember it. I was beginning my sophomore year in college, and the TV lounge in my dorm was packed with members of my volleyball team, other women whom I knew to be physical education majors, and a bunch of guys. What a fun party that was! I wasn’t aware of all the national hype that had been happening for weeks before this match, but I certainly did not want to see Billie Jean King lose to that bold, brash, chauvinist Bobby Riggs! The women in that room were not disappointed! Billie Jean writes a lot about the weeks leading up to that extravaganza, her thoughts, her preparation, and her strategy. I really enjoyed her replay of the match too. It’s evident that she is quite proud of her many accomplishments on the tennis court: 12 Grand Slam Singles titles, 11 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles, and 16 Grand Slam Doubles titles. This is only the four major tennis events: French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. There were many other victories, plus team tennis. She had to overcome a number of knee surgeries, illnesses, and other injuries, much as other athletes contend with throughout their careers. She also struggled with her sexuality throughout her marriage, and she writes very openly and honestly about that. She acknowledges that her concern about the backlash against her would not just take its toll on her tennis game, but that it would also destroy all the gains women had fought so hard for in tennis. So she basically took one for the team – until finally the ball was no longer in her court. She writes of the torment she went through during the infamous palimony suit. It’s easy to think, “if only... She went through a lot, and so did her husband. To his credit, he was able to stick by her, and throughout the book, she credits him for assisting her with legal and business affairs as well as support in many other facets of their relationship. The most interesting parts of the book to me, however, were her impressions, viewpoints, and experiences with human rights issues. She was an early advocate in the tennis world for breaking the color barrier, welcoming Althea Gibson and later Arthur Ashe. She writes time and again about the privileges white players have from the time they are young, and she applauds the arrival of younger Black and Asian players in the game today. Her wife is a white South African, and Ms. King tells of her first trip to that country as being eye-opening to her. Later, her account of their meeting with the great Nelson Mandela is awe-inspiring. Another thrill was receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2009. As a child, I’ll bet she never imagined meeting these magnificent leaders. Billie Jean has accomplished much in her 77 years. She writes of the physical, financial, and emotional struggles she’s gone through. She was known for her fiery demeanor on the court and her dogged pursuit of equity and justice off the court. With her hard-earned success and happiness, she’s paying it forward, generously. She’s an advocate for equality for people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and nationalities. Billie Jean Moffitt King is a champion in every sense of the word. 4.5 stars rounded up

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Blankfein

    For tennis lovers, athletes, sports fans, equal rights activists and history buffs...this one is for you! So many wonderful stories - I needed tissues - was overwhelmed with emotion....Loved it! Full review to come on Book Nation by Jen.

  5. 4 out of 5

    brettlikesbooks

    thank you SO MUCH @knopf — i was thrilled to receive this advance copy of: ALL IN by billie jean king (autobiography) this honest, fascinating account chronicles king’s life and how she used her brilliant, well-honed tennis skills, her exceptional work ethic, and her dogged determination to be the best in the world, and how she parlayed her role as a champion on the court into a force of change in not only women’s tennis, but for the equality and inclusion of all people + if you are a female who thank you SO MUCH @knopf — i was thrilled to receive this advance copy of: ALL IN by billie jean king (autobiography) this honest, fascinating account chronicles king’s life and how she used her brilliant, well-honed tennis skills, her exceptional work ethic, and her dogged determination to be the best in the world, and how she parlayed her role as a champion on the court into a force of change in not only women’s tennis, but for the equality and inclusion of all people + if you are a female who plays/played high school sports (when i played high school tennis in the late 80s it never occurred to me that just a few years earlier i may not have had that opportunity!) or if you enjoy watching women’s college or pro sports (such as, i don’t know, like the american women winning more medals than the men at this summer’s olympics maybe) then you owe a debt of gratitude in no small part to @billiejeanking + i’ve played and loved tennis since i was 10 years old and won the first tournament i played in (swipe to see the look of pure joy on my face as i stared at my trophy 😆) and no one has done more for girls & women in tennis —and indeed any sport— than BJK. when i saw her some 15 years ago in the lobby of our hotel in disney world, i was stunned stupid. i somehow managed to approach her and ask for a photo (—>) yet was still awestruck enough that i couldn’t articulate to her my admiration and appreciation. i hope she reads this so at least now i can say ‘thank you’ @billiejeanking 🎾 “I told myself that day that I would spend my life fighting for equal rights and opportunities for everyone, so no one felt scorned or left out. I believed our church’s teaching that I was put on this earth to do good with my life. Now I had a better idea what my calling could be: I could bring people together through tennis. If I was good enough and fortunate enough to be No. 1 in the world, tennis would be my platform.” 🎾 you can grab your copy TOMORROW, august 17! 🎾 instagram book reviews @brettlikesbooks

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Gulde

    To me, this is not a book about tennis, although tennis is in it. This is not a book about Billie Jean King, although she wrote it. This book is about Women, and the people around them.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I don't think you can appreciate Billie Jean King unless you grew up in the 1950s and 60s when girls didn't play sports, and being queer was such an alien concept it didn't even register as a possibility. Although that was BJK's reality, she revolutionized women's tennis and women's sports in general, fighting centuries of tradition and male privilege for equal treatment and equal pay. All In is a very enjoyable if slightly long-winded autobiography, and King is brutally honest about the mistake I don't think you can appreciate Billie Jean King unless you grew up in the 1950s and 60s when girls didn't play sports, and being queer was such an alien concept it didn't even register as a possibility. Although that was BJK's reality, she revolutionized women's tennis and women's sports in general, fighting centuries of tradition and male privilege for equal treatment and equal pay. All In is a very enjoyable if slightly long-winded autobiography, and King is brutally honest about the mistakes she made largely because of the homophobic 1970s when she was at her professional peak. She continued to deny being a lesbian, even when she became the target of an infamous "galimony" suit by her former lover. I didn't even realize that she has been in a committed relationship for 40 years, but I'm glad she has found the love and happiness she deserves. King is very gracious about most of the people she has dealt with in her life, even the ones that openly opposed her efforts to have women's tennis be taken as seriously as men's. The book is strongest when she discussed her personal life, including the revelation that she was treated for an eating disorder. I'm not a tennis fan, but I appreciated the interesting play-by-play of her most notable matches. At times she provides unnecessary history lessons about civil rights and other major events that have taken place in the 70+ years of her life. And although the ending drags as she lists all of the organizations she has founded or contributed to that support athletics for girls and youth from low-income families, I don't begrudge her the opportunity to claim her legacy. Best of all, she describes her relationship with Elton John and the story of "Philadelphia Freedom," surely the only number one hit inspired by a professional tennis team. If I were BJK, that would be my proudest accomplishment.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    The best book I’ve read so far this year. Two reasons: 1) Her life is a truly incredible story for what she accomplished on and, more importantly, off the court , and 2) This self-reflection is well done with moments of brutal honesty. Also, enjoyed the little and little-known details, such as Elton John dedicating ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ to her. BJK is making my top 5 dream dinner party guest list after this book (:

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    What an amazing woman! My knowledge of BJK was that she was a tennis player but I am not really a tennis fan so knew about her life peripherally. But damn, what a bad ass warrior she has been for women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. I had no inkling of this. I nearly didn’t read this because of the tennis angle. But that was a springboard to launch her as a true activist who’s made a difference in the world. And that is how I’ll always think of her now.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Just.a.badass. Such an inspiring read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Hall

    The memoir from this living legend is a fascinating account of her life. From her early childhood in Long Beach where she first picked up a tennis racquet and through her life at nearly 80 years of age, I was riveted by her story (doesn't hurt that I'm an avid tennis player and a very avid fanatic of the men's and women's pro tour!). As a naturally gifted athlete who excelled in all sports as a child, King quickly discovered that in 1950s America, sports minded girls had very few opportunities a The memoir from this living legend is a fascinating account of her life. From her early childhood in Long Beach where she first picked up a tennis racquet and through her life at nearly 80 years of age, I was riveted by her story (doesn't hurt that I'm an avid tennis player and a very avid fanatic of the men's and women's pro tour!). As a naturally gifted athlete who excelled in all sports as a child, King quickly discovered that in 1950s America, sports minded girls had very few opportunities and were treated very differently compared to boys. She recalls an early episode in her life when she was not allowed to pose for a tennis team group photo because she was wearing shorts instead of a tennis dress. Along with her determination to become the #1 tennis player in the world, she comes of age in the 60s and 70s and documents her recognition of social injustices, which leads her into lifelong activism for equality -- gender, racial, sexual, financial, political. In addition, the women's tennis pro tour as it exists today owes its origin to her pioneering work. Though her public persona has always been one of strength and perseverance, King writes of her struggles with her sexual orientation and the emotional toll it took before coming out as gay in her early 50s. She writes with heartfelt honesty in assessing her successes as well as her failures, professionally and personally. Since retiring from tennis, King has continued her relentless activism and in this memoir, is the inspiring story of an elite athlete's extraordinary journey in helping to usher in equality in sports, gender equality and human rights.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    Just listing all the records and accomplishments that Billie Jean King has garnered in her lengthy career could be a book of its own. In ALL IN, her autobiography written with Johnette Howard and Maryanne Vollers, we see an overarching theme to King’s life and career: work hard and play fair, not only at tennis but in life. It’s an intimate look at the people and moments that shaped King both on and off the court. The young bespectacled girl from Long Beach, California, who was once told by a coa Just listing all the records and accomplishments that Billie Jean King has garnered in her lengthy career could be a book of its own. In ALL IN, her autobiography written with Johnette Howard and Maryanne Vollers, we see an overarching theme to King’s life and career: work hard and play fair, not only at tennis but in life. It’s an intimate look at the people and moments that shaped King both on and off the court. The young bespectacled girl from Long Beach, California, who was once told by a coach, “You’ll be good because you’re ugly,” went on to revamp amateur and professional sports for women, winning 20 Wimbledon championships --- 39 Grand Slam titles overall --- and scoring 90 million viewers who tuned in to watch her beat Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” match. In the parlance of today, she is a badass. Both King and her younger brother, Randy, were into sports at an early age. But from the moment she first stepped onto a tennis court, she knew this was what she wanted to do with her life, even going so far as to tell her mother, “I’m going to be No. 1 in the world.” She saved up her money from odd jobs to buy her first racket. But even with her incredible determination and talent, King would soon come up against the inequality of the sport. She was barred from posing in a photo of junior tennis players at the Los Angeles Tennis Club in 1955 because she opted to wear the white shorts her mother made her rather than the traditional tennis dress. Undeterred, King focused on improving her game and quickly rose in the ranks of local and regional titles, turning pro in 1959, continuing to play while she attended college. In 1961, she and her partner, Karen Hantze Susman, became the youngest pair to win the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon. In 1965, she married her longtime boyfriend, Larry King, who was attending law school. They made a great team, establishing a life together while she continued to advance her game. But it didn’t take long for King to come up against the politics of the sport: “I got a big taste of tennis’s insider politics almost immediately. When the USLTA board convened…I was forced to share the 1965 top spot with Nancy Richey, who had been bumped down to No. 2. It was the first time the ranking committee had been overruled in eighty-one years.” (This effort was led by the organizer of a midwestern tournament that King had to skip that year, so the ruling was payback.) However, King did not let these glitches hold her back. In the mid-to-late ’60s, she started picking up titles left and right. The young girl from Long Beach made good on the promise to her mother to become No. 1 in the world, which she did in 1966, and held the top spot for five additional years. King saw the inequality in tennis and other sports, not to mention the archaic rules, and it didn’t make sense to her: “When I looked around tennis, I thought the USLTA’s treatment of women and its stance on amateurism were both outdated. Lawn tennis started in the English countryside as a social pastime for wealthy Victorians, and women had always been part of the tradition. And yet we were treated as second-class citizens, even if we played on the same size courts and in many of the same tournaments as men. To a lot of us, merely allowing women in the door wasn’t good enough.” Always lobbying for equal pay for female athletes, King --- along with eight other female tennis players --- joined the Virginia Slims Circuit in 1970. The following year, she became the first female athlete to make over $100,000 in prize money. At the height of her career in 1973, she used her ranking to leverage the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association and became its first president. To further prove her point that people were just as interested in seeing female athletes as their male competitors, King accepted Bobby Riggs’ challenge to play the “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973 at the Houston Astrodome. The 55-year-old Riggs claimed that the female game was inferior, and she agreed to the circus-like event to prove a point. King beat Riggs in straight sets: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. After the match, she said, “I could finally exhale…. I had to win to protect and advance the hard-won progress women were making everywhere by then, not just in tennis.” King was used to garnering headlines on the court, but in the 1980s, it was her private life that was put under a microscope when her relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett, was revealed. For years, she dodged answering questions about her sexuality, but after her divorce from Larry in 1987 (the two continue to have a close friendship), she met and fell in love with her doubles partner, Ilana Kloss, and they have been together ever since. Always an advocate for equality and social justice, King added LGBTQ+ issues to her scope of awareness-raising charity work. Considered by many to be the “mother of modern sports,” Billie Jean King remains active as a coach, commentator and advocate for women’s sports and other social causes. In 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open, was renamed the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. During the dedication ceremony, John McEnroe called her “the single most important person in the history of women’s sports.” After reading ALL IN, a thorough and detailed testimony of her passion, perseverance and heart, it’s easy to see why. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller

  13. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    Billie Jean King is the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A tennis star from Long Beach, California, King was known as Billie Jean Moffitt when an amateur player. The biography of Ms. King is first a story of the services rendered by King in the sport of tennis. The book secondly explores questions of gender equity and equality as a social construct in America and South Africa, along with King‘s personal experiences with these items personally and from an activis Billie Jean King is the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A tennis star from Long Beach, California, King was known as Billie Jean Moffitt when an amateur player. The biography of Ms. King is first a story of the services rendered by King in the sport of tennis. The book secondly explores questions of gender equity and equality as a social construct in America and South Africa, along with King‘s personal experiences with these items personally and from an activism perspective. The force for change is a central focus of Billie Jean King‘s 'All In: An Autobiography' written with Johnette Howard and Maryanne Vollers. Billie Jean King first and foremost had tremendous tennis skill that, with much effort aligned by men and culture to deny the mechanisms of compensation, worked diligently to make it possible to have professional tennis tours featuring women. Where things are today involves professional tours, singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and even tennis leagues that support the game. When Billie Jean King, then Billie Jean Moffitt, was an emerging player, there was slim space for amateur play for women. The story of the service King offered in developing the professional tennis opportunities for a sport she loved and grew within, and the support of the likeminded, proved successful when an audience came along for the ride. Billie Jean King adopted the last name King after marrying attorney Larry King, a man completely distinct from the one-time employee of the Cable News Network (CNN). Both shared a similar sensibility around the notion of what was fair in the tennis world and other places for women, which translated to support in the face of unfounded and refuted in court palimony claims raised at a personal level by Marilyn Barnett, a one-time romantic interest of Billie Jean King. The circumstances for how Ms. King revealed her personal romantic interests in women, including Barnett and later Illana Kloss, were shared at length in 'All In: An Autobiography'. The 1973 Battle of the Sexes match between Bobby Riggs of Los Angeles, California and Billie Jean King took place at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. The event ostensibly was initiated by Riggs under the auspices of proving that women’s tennis could not compete at a professional level alongside or near men’s tennis. The notion that there wasn’t a potential market for women’s topflight tennis with the infrastructure to support women as girls in developing towards such goals was a point that King wished to refute in accepting the contest. King would defeat Riggs in three straight sets to win the event, garnering 50 million viewers in the United States and 90 million viewers worldwide. In this review, I have offered some flavor of the subject matter that you will encounter in Billie Jean King‘s 'All In: An Autobiography'. There is much nuance and compelling story to keep you interested and engaged in the larger narrative of the life and times of Ms. King, should you be interested in the book. I give 'All In: An Autobiography' 4-stars on a scale of 1-to-5.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Guy Pujol

    The autobiography nicely weaves together BJK's personal journey, professional career, and social consciousness. She seamlessly flows from a play-by-play account of a particular match--most notably the 1973 Battle of the Sexes--to the historical, social context of a match or tournament. Gender inequality and her work to transform women's tennis (if not all of women's sport) drive the narrative. There is a lot of name-dropping in this book, which is really fun, as she recalls stories of crossing p The autobiography nicely weaves together BJK's personal journey, professional career, and social consciousness. She seamlessly flows from a play-by-play account of a particular match--most notably the 1973 Battle of the Sexes--to the historical, social context of a match or tournament. Gender inequality and her work to transform women's tennis (if not all of women's sport) drive the narrative. There is a lot of name-dropping in this book, which is really fun, as she recalls stories of crossing paths or developing lifelong friendships with such people as Muhammad Ali, Gloria Steinem, Elton John, and Nelson Mandela. The last few chapters of the book were clearly written at a later time than the rest of the book. The narrative style changes along with the level of introspection. Chapter 30 is shoehorned in and reads like an annual report of Billie Jean King Enterprises; it is the one chapter a reader can skip without missing anything. The "All In" story naturally concludes before the book itself ends, but this does not detract from the story of an amazing life of an inspiring person.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Audiobook narrated by BJK herself. Like a lot of memoirs, the early chapters about her childhood were pretty boring. And even the stuff about some of her biggest matches wasn’t that interesting. Where her passion shined through was when she started reflecting on her activism, her mental/weight/identity struggles, and eventually her legacy. There are several moments in the back half of the audiobook where you can hear how choked up she gets. I am glad they went with those takes; they add so much Audiobook narrated by BJK herself. Like a lot of memoirs, the early chapters about her childhood were pretty boring. And even the stuff about some of her biggest matches wasn’t that interesting. Where her passion shined through was when she started reflecting on her activism, her mental/weight/identity struggles, and eventually her legacy. There are several moments in the back half of the audiobook where you can hear how choked up she gets. I am glad they went with those takes; they add so much to underscoring what she’s accomplished for women everywhere.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy Andrews

    Oh don't mind me, just sobbing over a sports memoir. Billie Jean King has, is, and will always be, one of my biggest heroes. An icon of one my favourite sports, an icon of the LBGTQ+ community of which I am a member. An icon of equality of all kinds. Just an icon all round let's be honest. Treat yourself to the audiobook of this one. Who wouldn't want to have an 18 hour conversation with the legend herself? Oh don't mind me, just sobbing over a sports memoir. Billie Jean King has, is, and will always be, one of my biggest heroes. An icon of one my favourite sports, an icon of the LBGTQ+ community of which I am a member. An icon of equality of all kinds. Just an icon all round let's be honest. Treat yourself to the audiobook of this one. Who wouldn't want to have an 18 hour conversation with the legend herself?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adriane Bailey

    I truly enjoyed this preview copy of Billie Jean King's autobiography. From her early years to her more recent endeavors, she has always been uniquely her own. This book was engaging, and I enjoyed her tails of Wimbledon and those of her family. A must read for tennis fans! I truly enjoyed this preview copy of Billie Jean King's autobiography. From her early years to her more recent endeavors, she has always been uniquely her own. This book was engaging, and I enjoyed her tails of Wimbledon and those of her family. A must read for tennis fans!

  18. 4 out of 5

    WM D.

    All in by Billie Jean king was a good book. It helped me understand what a person Billie Jean king was really like. A must read for anyone who likes non fiction books

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    A mesmerizing memoir. The audiobook narration by Billie Jean King is a delight. I am so glad to have read this book. It will stay with me for a long time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    BookTrib.com

    ALL IN is well written and reveals many social changes in our country over time. This new autobiography is a real treat. Read our full coverage here: https://booktrib.com/2021/09/13/all-i... ALL IN is well written and reveals many social changes in our country over time. This new autobiography is a real treat. Read our full coverage here: https://booktrib.com/2021/09/13/all-i...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    I listened to the audiobook version of this, which Billie Jean King reads herself. I loved hearing her voice telling her personal story, combined with the story of her role in the fight for equal rights. It was so very good, it made me cry, which I never do, and actually left me with some hope for us all. Highly recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Miskell

    What an amazing woman and activist.

  23. 4 out of 5

    C.M.B.

    A MF QUEEEEEEENNN! A life well lived for herself and for others.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 rounded up. What an amazing life! Billie Jean’s autobio of her struggles of equal pay for men and women in the tennis world and beyond including the battle of the sexes match with Bobby Riggs have been well documented. Her prep and work ethic are inspirational. Extortion of hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (who clearly had psychological issues) that resulted in outing BJK with her lawsuit where she revealed letters BJK had sent her. We do get more details about long time lover and now wife South 3.5 rounded up. What an amazing life! Billie Jean’s autobio of her struggles of equal pay for men and women in the tennis world and beyond including the battle of the sexes match with Bobby Riggs have been well documented. Her prep and work ethic are inspirational. Extortion of hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (who clearly had psychological issues) that resulted in outing BJK with her lawsuit where she revealed letters BJK had sent her. We do get more details about long time lover and now wife South African Ilana and complicated marriage with Larry King (objected to the Mrs Larry King at Wimbledon) whom she did love and how grappling with her sexual identity and keeping the secret affected everything as she was known for her honesty and yet was living this lie. I think it is difficult to fully understand her conflict if you are a millennial or GenXer (i) since homosexuality is accepted so much more easily now and (ii) are unfamiliar with the stigma that was associated with homosexuality. The other thing I thought was interesting about Larry was how he encouraged her feminism and pointed out inequities to her. She was actually quite traditional in many years eg she changed her name from Moffit to King. She was heavily involved with Title IX, started world team tennis as she loved team sports and a tennis magazine. Now she’s involved with the Dodgers, the LA women’ pro soccer team and women sports. The litany is loooong. Enjoyed reading about her mentoring young people and how she fostered relationships with reserved Chris Evert and sexist Jack Kramer with whom she eventually mended fences. Fun to hear about her relationships with Gloria Steinem & Elton John among many others. Therapy over her bingeing eating disorder and recognizing it’s symptomatic and how powerful social conditioning (and love) are. She refers to Rapinoe who is much more aggressive. I think her way was more effective (the whole honey and vinegar thing). It made me wonder if she would still do it same way? I think her strategy of changing minds was effective. It’s a bit long since given her position, she has met some amazing people like Mandela, Obama etc. and she delves into civil rights history and veers toward politics at the end — Trump and gun control etc. Moffitt to King, homosexuality v bisexuality; Doing things differently a la Rapinoe. -If they think I’m so great, why am I so miserable? -pointers for inner and outer success Problem solve and innovator and be part of solution Never stop learning and how to learn Relationships are everything

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie Buckles

    What a gift! I listened to this on Libro.fm which means I listened to Billie Jean King tell me the history of women's tennis and sports (Title IX, equal pay), social justice movements, gay rights, women's liberation, and of her life. To use one of her words—amazing! She not only was the best tennis player in the world for more than a decade, not only did she beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, but she was an activist—and led women's tennis to where it is today. She has met, talked, and What a gift! I listened to this on Libro.fm which means I listened to Billie Jean King tell me the history of women's tennis and sports (Title IX, equal pay), social justice movements, gay rights, women's liberation, and of her life. To use one of her words—amazing! She not only was the best tennis player in the world for more than a decade, not only did she beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, but she was an activist—and led women's tennis to where it is today. She has met, talked, and worked with Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Gloria Steinem, and Arthur Ashe, to name just a few. And had great friendships with Chrissy Evert and Martina Navratilova and so many other players. She tells, with a crack in her voice, the story of being outed in the 1980s and how it drove her deeper into the closet—and how at 50 years, she finally faced the question of her own sexuality head-on. There is so much to learn from her. And how perfect that I finished the book the day before the U.S. Soccer Federation took a major step regarding equal pay concerns for its men's and women's national teams. This is an autobiography, not a memoir so it is comprehensive. Billie Jean King is careful to dole out credit where credit is due. To name names of the people who contributed to her game and the game in general (including the people who chipped in for her to travel to play in the early days). She has no axes to grind—and is mostly interested in talking about the change that still needs to happen, and her legacy. I will now forever have her voice and her laugh in my head. What a gift that is. As an aside, Billie Jean King talks about the movie, Battle of the Sexes—and because she was pleased with it (some parts are fictionalized—"but that's entertainment," she exclaims) and talks about its impact on star Emma Stone, I watched it and loved knowing all the people I had learned about from her book. Read the book first!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Billie Jean King's ALL IN is a grand slam among sports autobiographies. One of the greatest tennis players of all time has written a memoir so revealing, honest and reflective that she has once again set the highest of bars for those who follow. In 1966, 22-year-old King was the number-one tennis player in the world. Using her spotlight, she fought inequities between men and women in tennis and helped create the Women's Tennis Association. She vividly recalls the media blitz when she and Bobby Ri Billie Jean King's ALL IN is a grand slam among sports autobiographies. One of the greatest tennis players of all time has written a memoir so revealing, honest and reflective that she has once again set the highest of bars for those who follow. In 1966, 22-year-old King was the number-one tennis player in the world. Using her spotlight, she fought inequities between men and women in tennis and helped create the Women's Tennis Association. She vividly recalls the media blitz when she and Bobby Riggs competed for $100,000 in the "Battle of the Sexes" exhibition match in 1973. The media was even more aggressive in 1981, when King was outed as a lesbian when her personal secretary slapped her with a "galimony" lawsuit. Against her management's wishes, King held a press conference and admitted the affair. But her attempts to avoid tarnishing women's tennis and save endorsements led her to equivocate, which she now deeply regrets. "Who turns being outed into a way to burrow deeper into the closet?" King writes. "But that's what I did." Her husband of 16 years publicly stood by her. Behind the scenes, their marriage had been amicably ending for years. Also unknown at the time, King had started a serious relationship with tennis pro Ilana Kloss (a union that continues more than four decades later). King's remarkably candid and meditative memoir captures the excitement of her high-profile career and human rights advocacy. Like an exciting tennis match, All In is brisk and nimble and will leave fans cheering. Game, set, match: Billie Jean King has written one of the best sports memoirs ever--it's briskly paced, exciting, honest and reflective.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cyndie Adamski

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved the autobiography . Only gave a 4 because I thought it got a bit long..It was like stepping back in time for me. I can remember when most of the things she wrote about were in the headlines. As an athlete during the time period Billie Jean was one of our hero’s that we all looked up to. I remember the SCSU Womens basketball team going over to the student union to watch the BJK vs Bobby Riggs match. Our coach O’Neal reserved a room with a tv and what a great time when she won!! I would assum Loved the autobiography . Only gave a 4 because I thought it got a bit long..It was like stepping back in time for me. I can remember when most of the things she wrote about were in the headlines. As an athlete during the time period Billie Jean was one of our hero’s that we all looked up to. I remember the SCSU Womens basketball team going over to the student union to watch the BJK vs Bobby Riggs match. Our coach O’Neal reserved a room with a tv and what a great time when she won!! I would assume she must have kept a journal or diary to remember all the names,dates, outcomes and things ripped from the headlines. She had a hand in shaping womens tennis in the survival of their lives. Also she was pivotal in equal pay for female tennis players. I did not know how unequal it was at that time . I remember Virginia Slims became the biggest sponsor of the tour. That was risky since smoking and sports was an issue. Many athletes at that time did smoke which is not the case today. Besides equality for female athletes she also eventually became important to gay rights. Outed by her ex partner while she was still married to Larry King was scandalous at the time. I give him credit for sticking by her and helping her to form a PR strategy. They had always been honest with each other about her attraction to women but I don’t think either thought it would be such an explosive way the world would find out.. if you were involved in tennis or Womens sports during the late 60’ thru 80’s this would be a great book to read !! Thank you Billie Jean for the walk down memory lane!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Billie Jean King is only about 10 years older than me and I vividly remember her contributions to tennis and culture. She was and is an advocate for fairness and inclusion and I looked forward to reading her biography. With celebrity memoirs, I like to listen to the audiobooks version if they narrate as I feel the story is more personal so I preordered this title when it was available; what a mistake. She may be a wonderful person but she’s an awful narrator. I’d read somewhere that the book req Billie Jean King is only about 10 years older than me and I vividly remember her contributions to tennis and culture. She was and is an advocate for fairness and inclusion and I looked forward to reading her biography. With celebrity memoirs, I like to listen to the audiobooks version if they narrate as I feel the story is more personal so I preordered this title when it was available; what a mistake. She may be a wonderful person but she’s an awful narrator. I’d read somewhere that the book required heavy editing as she’d noted nearly every person she’d ever met. At nearly 500 pages, it requires even more editing to eliminate much of the minutia like who pushed an elevator button simultaneously. Much of the book is quite interesting, particularly the areas where she covers the fight for women players to be recognized and paid appropriately and the mistreatment and harassment they faced. However, some chapters are so bogged down with details that I skipped ahead and scanned only those that seemed more exacting. Her uneven tone and poor narration makes what could have been an exemplary memoir all the worse and would have been better with significant further editing. What a missed opportunity.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Writemoves

    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, I was not that big a fan of Billie Jean King. I was more inclined to be a fan of Chris Evert, Tracy Austin or Evonne Goolagong. I became more of a fan of Billie Jean King after she defeated Bobby Riggs in a special challenge match held at the Houston Astrodome. I have to give Billie Jean her props – – she was a great tennis player and maybe more importantly a great pioneer for women's sports in general and for the LBGT community. Her autobiography details the incredi Back in the 1960s and 1970s, I was not that big a fan of Billie Jean King. I was more inclined to be a fan of Chris Evert, Tracy Austin or Evonne Goolagong. I became more of a fan of Billie Jean King after she defeated Bobby Riggs in a special challenge match held at the Houston Astrodome. I have to give Billie Jean her props – – she was a great tennis player and maybe more importantly a great pioneer for women's sports in general and for the LBGT community. Her autobiography details the incredible pushback that she received in promoting women's tennis. I was very surprised and disappointed to read that Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith were two of the male players opposed to more equal pay for women. This book details her moxie, courage, judgment and passion to not just be the number one tennis player in the world but to actually improve the fortunes of women both in sports and outside of it. Billie Jean also suffered because of her sexuality – – she had hidden her relationships with women so not to disrupt her tennis career and outside interests. A very candid book. An ideal sports book for women. An ideal book on overcoming personal struggles for everyone.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Carlson

    First Female Athlete Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Founder of the Women's Sports Foundation, past board member of the Elton John AID Foundation, legendary tennis player Billie Jean King bares her soul in All In; An Autobiography (pp. 496). As a tennis player I'm always interested to learn what drives the professional players who have a national platform. Obviously, there is a great deal of tennis talk here so it may not appeal to everyone. What will appeal to most is King's ten First Female Athlete Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Founder of the Women's Sports Foundation, past board member of the Elton John AID Foundation, legendary tennis player Billie Jean King bares her soul in All In; An Autobiography (pp. 496). As a tennis player I'm always interested to learn what drives the professional players who have a national platform. Obviously, there is a great deal of tennis talk here so it may not appeal to everyone. What will appeal to most is King's tenacity which was evident since she was a young girl when she worked to buy her first tennis racquet. It has been one of her strongest gifts throughout her life. The real saint in this story is her ex-husband Larry King. He stood by her side through everything even when it was clear King was not faithful in their marriage. There's details of the woman who outed her, her friendships with a variety of people-my favorite was Peanut's creator Charles Schulz. I would say King has succeeded on so many levels of creating a world in which she clearly has a distinguished place in history of accomplishments and a world where she can continue to make a difference.

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