An enjoyable tale of a storybook season.

A fond remembrance of a legendary baseball team and the teammates who kept in touch throughout the ensuing decades.

On Oct. 16, 1969, the New York Mets defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series. Playing in right field for those Mets was Shamsky (The Magnificent Seasons: How the Jets, Mets, and Knicks Made Sports History and Uplifted a City and the Country, 2016), who—along with sportswriter Sherman (Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ’86 Mets, 2016, etc.)—offers a narrative of that season and later memories anchored by the teammates’ 2016 trip to visit ailing pitching ace Tom Seaver. On paper, the 1969 Mets were average. Outfielder Cleon Jones finished third in the National League in batting average, yet no one on the team hit more than 26 home runs or drove in more than 76 runs. The team succeeded because of two main factors: the guiding hand of their manager, Gil Hodges (“Sixty-nine would never have happened if not for Gil Hodges,” says Jones), and the fact that these Mets, in the words of first baseman and World Series MVP Donn Clendenon, “epitomized the word team.” Thus Shamsky, who hit .300 that season, split time in right field with Ron Swoboda, who made a key catch in Game 4 of the World Series. Neither Clendenon nor Swoboda had played a single game in the National League Championship Series. The narrative of the season itself, which takes up two-thirds of the book, is informative and entertaining, and Shamsky effectively places the team’s magical year within the social and political contexts of 1969, including the moon landing, the Vietnam War (shortstop Bud Harrelson missed time to fulfill his military obligation), and the now-all-but-forgotten rioting in York, Pennsylvania. Moreover, the author persuasively argues that the team helped unify New Yorkers during a turbulent time. However, the reunion itself is somewhat anticlimactic, and Shamsky probably overstates his case that the ’69 Mets inspired the nation as a whole.

An enjoyable tale of a storybook season.

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7651-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019


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


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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