A superior sports book bound to interest more than just die-hard fans, ranking with classics like Robert Creamer’s Babe: The...

YOGI BERRA

ETERNAL YANKEE

A full-scale biography of the most quoted and, possibly, the most underrated player in baseball history.

From the 1950s cartoon that ripped off his name to the Aflac commercials of recent years, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra has had an identity and impact outside the game greater than all but Ruth, Robinson and Gehrig. A Depression-era child of Italian immigrants, Berra grew up (along with Joe Garagiola, who as a player and broadcaster would do much to burnish Berra’s folk-hero status) on “Dago Hill” in St. Louis with a strong set of values and a surprising certainty about his talent and worth as a player. His New York baseball career began in earnest after the war, and he quickly developed a reputation as a notorious bad-ball hitter and, eventually, a shrewd handler of pitchers. He only occasionally joined his hard-living Yankee teammates—Ford, Mantle, Martin—at Toots Shor’s joint or the Copacabana, preferring instead to go to the movies or attend to a growing list of product endorsements. While there are plenty of stories here to prove that Berra’s popular image is rooted in fact, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul “Bear” Bryant, 2005, etc.) reminds us how truly great a player Berra was—three-time American League MVP and ten-time World Series champion—and how smart a baseball man came disguised in his unlikely body. After his playing career, Berra coached and managed pennant-winning teams in each league. The play about him insists that Nobody Don’t Like Yogi, and while that’s not quite true—ask Willie Mays, Cleon Jones or Tom Seaver—for more than 60 years Berra has been a vital part of the game and a pop-culture icon. Now the worthy subject receives a serious biography that dignifies his baseball accomplishments and still manages to make us smile.

A superior sports book bound to interest more than just die-hard fans, ranking with classics like Robert Creamer’s Babe: The Legend Comes to Life (1974) and Richard Ben Cramer’s Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life (2000).

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06233-5

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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 20, 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...

NIGHT

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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