Both subtle and opinionated, a densely layered portrait of the Yankees late-20th-century dynasty and the enduring impact of...

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THE LAST NIGHT OF THE YANKEE DYNASTY

THE GAME, THE TEAM, AND THE COST OF GREATNESS

A well-mulled, highly atmospheric, and richly versed story of the Bronx Bombers’ great 1996–2001 ride.

When you win four World Series out of five, the word “dynasty” understandably begins to take shape. The Yankees were in position to take a fifth in 2001, in the funky, gray days that marked the aftermath of 9/11, but it was to be the end of that dynasty. ESPN sportswriter Olney, whose dispatches for the New York Times were a pleasure to read in the years leading up to the contest with the Arizona Diamondbacks, pivots this around the climactic seventh game in 2001, rolling away from it time and again as a batter might from an inside fastball, but returning to face its consequences. Much had gone into the making of the Yankees by this point, and Olney tracks the arc of the team’s great levitation: the truly superb players and the strategic rebuilding of the franchise with high on-base percentage hitters and pitchers with gas and chutzpah. As he moves through the innings of the seventh game, Olney provides crisp profiles of players, from Chuck Knoblauch’s dwindles to the ever-sad Darryl Strawberry, Paul O’Neill’s pressure cooker to Derek Jeter’s self-effacing conviviality and good humor (which will come as a surprise to people tired of his ubiquitous face). George Steinbrenner’s odious personality is given a wicked knife job for how he treated those who worked for him, for the uneven playing ground he inflicted on the game, and for the price it took on his players. Joe Torre, by contrast, is rightly credited for his “social genius” in tending to “the minds of his players.” In that, he is much like Olney, choosing the right words, keeping pace, moving from frame to frame without jarring the continuities.

Both subtle and opinionated, a densely layered portrait of the Yankees late-20th-century dynasty and the enduring impact of that commercial and competitive juggernaut. (16-page b&w insert, not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-051506-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich...

PERSIMMON WIND

A MARTIAL ARTIST'S JOURNEY IN JAPAN

A reflective and entertaining journey through Japan, as the author seeks to reconnect with his martial arts sensei.

Lowry is a student of koryu (not to be confused with kendo), a style of Japanese classical swordsmanship. Koryu is a medieval art, like Noh and the tea ceremony, a style of combat born on the battlefield–but more importantly, it’s a way to address the world (though an esoteric one: Lowry may well be the only American practicing the art in the United States). Indeed, present-day practitioners refrain from exercising its fatal possibilities. Lowry’s sensei left the U.S. to return to Japan, urging Lowry to follow. Though his life headed in a different direction, he never forgot his training–when the time was ripe, he journeyed to Japan to join his sensei. The narrative revolves around this pivotal decision, and it provides a warm center from which the author expounds on such topics as the glories of a Japanese bath; the evolution of the Samurai caste; the peculiarities of Japanese landscape architecture; the elements of proper sandal-tying; the custom of the premarital shenanigans called yobai; and the teachings of mikkyo Buddhism. He also includes the vital story of the sword–what it reveals about Japanese life and technology, social structure and aesthetic values, etiquette, apprenticeship and the process of education. Lowry’s seriousness lends an earnest cast to the proceedings, but he’s not without a sense of humor–commenting upon his accomplished slurping of noodles, a friend’s wife notes, “He really sucks!”

A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2005

ISBN: 1-890536-10-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

THE RUDY IN YOU

A GUIDE TO BUILDING TEAMWORK, FAIR PLAY, AND GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP FOR YOUNG ATHLETES, PARENTS, AND COACHES

An uplifting guide to sportsmanship. The subtitle says it all.

Using the example of Ruettiger, whose experience as a Notre Dame football walk-on inspired the 1994 film, Rudy, the authors rail against disrespectful behavior in sports, at any level. They argue that kids, parents and coaches are part of a matrix that can either create a joyful youth sports environment, or a nasty stew of overweening pride, gross expectations and antisocial behavior. With an old school bluntness, they plainly state how participants should act: Kids should have a clear sense of what they want to do, develop strategies for achieving their goals, listen and learn, show respect to all, cultivate a strong work ethic, be positive and helpful and trustworthy, and finally, be patient. Parents should be involved, too, but should always "remember to be the adults. Let the kids be kids." This means not projecting your own aspirations onto your children, while encouraging self-esteem and confidence. Coaches must know their sport (even if they are only volunteers), exemplify personal excellence, challenge the kids, earn their trust, be open to feedback and get everyone involved. The authors’ straightforward advice may seem obvious, but Phillips, Leddy and Ruettiger go further, providing solid examples of how to put these principles into practice. And for all the character building, they also appreciate that kids just want to have fun.

A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2005

ISBN: 1-58348-764-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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