The Backwash Squeeze

The Backwash Squeeze & Other Improbable Feats: A Newcomer's Journey into the World of Bridge

In this spirited homage, Edward McPherson recounts the colorful history of bridge and his attempts to master its mysteries in time to compete at the North American Bridge Championships—despite being barely able to shuffle cards. The characters he meets convince him that in a game that pits mind against mind, close attention to the cards often reveals much about those sitting at the table. Insightful and funny, The Backwash Squeeze is an affectionate view of a grand game by an outsider trying to make his way into the inner circle.

“A lively new book…”—The New Yorker

“Mr. McPherson is an intrepid traveler… a charming and literate companion, and he approaches his task with becoming modesty… It is entertaining stuff… One of the few [books on bridge] that can be enjoyed by everyone.”—The Wall Street Journal

“McPherson is an amusing writer who believes that ‘bridge is a battle between fate and chance mediated by skill.’ In this lighthearted book, he relates bridge’s history and tours its contemporary universe… A breezy, absorbing account.”—Publishers Weekly

“A delightful account… McPherson takes the reader inside the world of bridge—the characters, clubs and tournaments that make up the contemporary scene. [He] has a keen eye for detail and an easy sense of humor… Engaging enough to convince even a non-bridge-playing jock to sit down at the table and hazard a few hands.”—Bloomberg News

“Lively and approachable… Alternating extensive gaming history with oddball personality profiles, McPherson’s text underscores the major and minor intricacies of a game known for its ‘mentally-taxing’ complications. His presentation, by contrast, is accessible, chatty and unintimidating.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This entertaining book takes us inside the sometimes-cutthroat world of a card game that can become a way of life… Its devotees (from ordinary citizens to world leaders) run the gamut from a little bit odd to downright spooky, but the author writes about them with affection… Bridge aficionados will enjoy McPherson's lighthearted journey into their world, and readers unfamiliar with the game might find themselves developing a hankering to learn it.”—Booklist

“Packed with humor and some of the most unique characters in recent non-fiction, The Backwash Squeeze and Other Improbable Feats is aces!”—the Strand bookstore

“A breezy history of the game and its players…”—The Christian Science Monitor

“[McPherson] writes with a light, entertaining touch and gives interesting insights into bridge and its players.”—Phillip Alder, New York Times bridge column