Pennington writes a mixture of interviews, biographies, on-the-field action, and fierce front-office politics that will not...

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CHUMPS TO CHAMPS

HOW THE WORST TEAMS IN YANKEES HISTORY LED TO THE '90S DYNASTY

Although the greatest baseball team of the past century, the New York Yankees were the worst for a period 30 years ago. An award-winning sports reporter offers an energetic account of their miseries.

After appearing in the 1981 World Series, the team went into a steep decline, writes New York Times sportswriter Pennington (Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius, 2015). From 1989 to 1992, the team had the worst four-year record since becoming the Yankees in 1913. Observers, Pennington included, blame George Steinbrenner (1930-2010), the Yankees owner from 1973 until his death. An extremely hands-on boss, Steinbrenner fired personnel in droves, interfered in day-to-day operations, and hurt morale by insulting players and coaches. Worse, enamored with free agents, he signed players who didn’t pan out, costing the team picks in the amateur draft as compensation. Added to this was a penchant for trading young prospects (Fred McGriff, Doug Drabek) for aging stars. “By 1989,” writes the author, “the Yankees minor league system, filled with accomplished managers and coaches, had been stripped of talent.” Pennington rightly dates the beginning of the revival to Steinbrenner’s two-year banishment in 1990 for involvement with a gambler, after which manager Buck Showalter and general manager Gene Michael, free of interference, fixed matters. They nurtured slow-maturing but ultimately brilliant prospects—including Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettitte—revived the intense camaraderie that had always been a Yankee trademark, and made intelligent trades. In 1994, the team was leading the league, but a strike eliminated the World Series. In 1995, they won the division but lost in the playoffs, after which Steinbrenner, in his last nasty act, fired most of the staff responsible for the revival, including Showalter. In 1996, the familiar world returned; the Yankees won the Series and continue doing so regularly.

Pennington writes a mixture of interviews, biographies, on-the-field action, and fierce front-office politics that will not put off Yankee haters but will also entertain their fans who know that the story has a happy ending.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-84985-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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