A simple gem for baseball fans.



A baseball icon’s rediscovered memoir, enhanced with biographical material by the independent scholar who found it.

While researching another topic, Gaff stumbled upon a series of newspaper columns by Major League Baseball legend Lou Gehrig (1903-1941). Those columns, published by the Oakland Tribune in 1927, constitute 90 pages of this book, with Gaff’s brief biography of Gehrig and other related material comprising the rest. Gehrig was only 24 when the columns appeared. They chronicle his youthful years in New York City, unlikely metamorphosis from an awkward wannabe athlete into a Yankees icon, and wide-eyed insights into becoming teammates with, among others, Babe Ruth, who “was the first one to give me advice about keeping in condition.” Divided into nine chapters, the newspaper serial portrays a seemingly uncomplicated young man whose gratefulness for meteoric success contains no hint of jadedness. He lauds baseball at all skill levels as a tonic for American youngsters. Although Gehrig decided not to complete a college degree because the Yankees offered him a contract that he couldn’t turn down, Gehrig advocates for “college men” to consider professional baseball as a career: “I believe [they] can contribute much to the good of the game—and it’s a certain cinch that baseball can contribute much to the welfare and the benefit of the college man.” Gaff’s biographical essay contains strong research and clear prose; his account of Gehrig’s rapid development as a talented slugger is especially inspiring. In 1939, as his athletic skills visibly diminished, Gehrig was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a relentless neurological disorder that is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In addition to the biographical information, Gaff also includes some material that will be a treat for Gehrig devotees, including “Lou Gehrig’s Tips on How To Watch a Ball Game” as well as Gehrig’s lifetime statistics and a roster of “the careers of the many players in Lou’s narrative who are now largely unknown.”

A simple gem for baseball fans.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3239-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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