All In: An Autobiography by Billie Jean King - review by Norma Clarke

Norma Clarke

Anyone for Feminism?

All In: An Autobiography


Viking 496pp £20

All In tells the story of a life lived in the public eye, often painfully as well as triumphantly. It’s a cracking read and a well-honed product of the author’s brand (which includes Billie Jean King Enterprises, Team BJK and the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative). The tone is upbeat and the message from this crusader for social justice is about changing the world. Feminism and the campaigns for civil and LGBTQ+ rights are what have shaped her thinking and have driven her activism. The personal became the political in 1981, when she was outed as gay, an experience that nearly broke her.

Tennis success came early. Winning junior tournaments in southern California gave her honorary membership of the Los Angeles Tennis Club, where she quickly noticed ‘the boys got everything, and the girls got crumbs’. Money was a problem. Worse was internalised misogyny. Was it right to beat boys? Was

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