Harnessing Anger: The Inner Discipline of Athletic Excellence
With Tej Hazarika
To Peter Westbrook, "harnessing anger" means controlling one's fury and channeling it in a positive direction. Westbrook's success in what he once called "that strange white sport" is really just one expression of the self-discipline that has led him to beat the odds, again and again.
Peter Westbrook is listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the all-time winnin American record holder in U.S. National Sabre championships. In 1995, at the age of 43, although the average retirement age for world class tournament fencers is 34, Westbrook won two gold medals for the U.S. at the 1995 Pan American Games. In 1996, he was one of only three American sabrists chosen to compete for the gold in the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, his sixth Olympic Games, an incredible twenty-year Olympic career.
In Harnessing Anger, Westbrook tells how he came to be the first African American to win a national gold title in sabre fencing. The son of an African-American father and a Japanese mother, Peter was aised by his mother alone in poverty in a Newark ghetto. Becoming a fencer at an early age gave him the confidence and the discipline to use an ancient martial art to his advantage both in swordplay and when facing the vicissitudes of daily life in the inner city.
The autobiography of this 6-time Olympian, 13-time U.S. National champion and the only book on his amazing life, Harnessing Anger tells us how Westbrook has overcome strong adversaries on and off the fencing mat.
"Westbrook may not be a household name among the general public, but in fencing circles, he is legendary … Young athletes-fencers especially-will benefit from Westbrook's motivational message and enjoy the exciting match accounts. The rest of us can identify with-and learn from-a man who had to keep the very quality that led to his success from becoming a negative factor in his life. An outstanding sports autobiography." –Booklist, Starred Review
"Written in a simple, honest, and direct voice, this is an inspiring memoir about being poor and biracial; learning confidence and self-control; understanding the cultural differences within our country; and mastering the psychology and politics of competition and winning. Westbrook is living proof of the tremendous difference that harnessing anger through the discipline of sport can make." –Publishers Weekly
"Westbrook's book leads the readers into a world where the discipline of fencing not only brought him national and international championships, but inner peace and self-awareness." –The Newark Star-Ledger
"The most influential fencer in New York today is Peter Westbrook." –The New York Times