The legendary broadcaster on his eventful life and times, assisted by Esquire writer at large Fussman (After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes, 2007, etc.).
King (How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere, 2004, etc.) discourses entertainingly on his antic life and storied career, vividly evoking his Brooklyn boyhood and adventures in broadcasting in that familiar, avuncular voice, which is practically audible on the page. He admits to restlessness and a short attention span, evincing a passionate, devil-may-care attitude toward life that precludes deep introspection. In lieu of revealing insights into his character or his talent, King breezily states that he is who he is, and maintains that being true to that immutable “Larryness” is the secret of his immense success. As such, he releases a torrent of well-rehearsed anecdotes, corny jokes, dropped names and baseball trivia. It’s an enjoyable ride through an archetypal American life—the Jewish boy made good, a regular neighborhood guy who rises to the top through sheer gumption and force of personality. The most enjoyable sections concern King’s boisterous, Depression-era Brooklyn exploits with a cast of well-drawn characters, some of whom add their own perspectives to King’s version of events in funny sidebars. The author is unfussily candid about the less savory aspects of his life: the many marriages, his tendency to womanize, his serious health problems, the children he fathered but didn’t raise and the financial indiscretions that led to his high-profile arrest for grand larceny in 1971. King’s thoughts on the many celebrities and world leaders he has interviewed tend toward the trite and familiar, and his defense of his famous lack of preparation for these sit-downs is unconvincing. But it clearly works for him, and his autobiography is vintage King—lightweight but compulsively engaging. The man’s a pro.
A genial little tome, short on substance but with personality to spare.