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KNOPF TO PUBLISH MAJOR NEW BOOK BY ARTHUR ASHE

 KNOPF TO PUBLISH MAJOR NEW BOOK BY ARTHUR ASHE
 NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Knopf has entered into a


publishing agreement with Arthur Ashe, tennis champion and social activist, whose courageous battle against AIDS has drawn worldwide attention. The announcement was made today by Sonny Mehta, president and editor-in-chief of Knopf.
 The book, the manuscript of which is due in March 1993 for publication by Knopf that summer, is already well under way. The acquisition was made by Knopf jointly with One World, an imprint of Ballantine Books, which will publish the mass market paperback edition a year later.
 Mr. Ashe is writing his book with Arnold Rampersad, director of the Program in American Studies at Princeton University and author of an acclaimed prize-winning, two-volume biography of Langston Hughes. The editor at Knopf will be Jonathan Segal.
 "We are tremendously pleased to have become Arthur Ashe's publisher," said Mr. Mehta. "His book will serve as a summing up, as he approaches his 50th birthday, of the career of one of the most renowned tennis champions in the history of the sport -- a story of triumph, of grace under pressure, and of endurance in the face of despair. It is also the story of his second career -- one of increasingly active involvement with racial issues both in this country and around the world."
 The book will begin with an account of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Ashe's announcement in April that he had contracted AIDS. Discovered during a brain operation in 1988, his infection with the AIDS virus resulted from a transfusion of contaminated blood during a double- bypass heart operation in 1983.
 "People sometimes ask me whether I don't think of myself as a victim," said Mr. Ashe. "They say, you must often ask yourself, 'Why me?' I never do. If I ask 'why me' about my troubles, I would have to ask 'why me' about my blessings. Why me winning Wimbledon? And why me marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child? I take the good with the bad, and I try to face them both with as much calm and dignity as I can muster."
 It is these qualities that have sustained Mr. Ashe in the course of an extraordinarily eventful life, and which will inform the pages of his book: his childhood in Virginia and the death of his mother when he was six; discovering tennis, a white man's sport, in the segregated South; gaining recognition as an athlete during his years at UCLA; representing the United States at the Davis Cup matches in 1963, at a time when the nation was exploding with violence over civil rights; deepening political awareness, including his protesting the U.S. military presence in Vietnam and opposing apartheid in South Africa; winning the U.S. Open in 1968; joining the professional circuit; winning Wimbledon in 1975.
 He will write about his emerging concerns for African-Americans, Africans, and other Third World citizens; his quadruple heart bypass operation at the age of 36; five successful years as Davis Cup captain; recollections of colleagues and competitors -- McEnroe, Connors, Navratilova, King; his second heart operation, a double bypass in 1983, which would eventually lead to AIDS; the decision with his wife Jeanne to have a child, despite a history of illness on both sides; his feelings about the role of celebrity in America and about the press, which forced the premature announcement that he had AIDS; his lifelong involvement with the condition of Black America which intensified in the wake of the Los Angeles riots; and the formation of the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS.
 The book will end with Ashe's reflections on where America and the world are headed -- on his strong faith in God and in human nature. A fitting conclusion to this work by a man as renowned for his decency, integrity, courage and grace as he is for the talent that has secured for him a place among the all-time greats of modern sport.
 -0- 9/22/92
 /CONTACT: William T. Loverd, vice president/director of publicity of Knopf, 212-572-2103/ CO: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated ST: New York IN: PUB SU: PDT


GK-AH -- NY057 -- 2226 09/22/92 13:26 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1992
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