The scandal was a game-shattering event and cleansed baseball for a moment. Fountain writes of it with professional élan,...

THE BETRAYAL

THE 1919 WORLD SERIES AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN BASEBALL

An investigation of one of the most long-lived and still-living sports scandals: the possible throwing of the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds.

In this fine, stylish piece of reporting, Fountain (Journalism/Northeastern Univ.; Under the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training, 2009, etc.) aims to get to the truth, which is vexing. “Telling the story of the Black Sox [the Black Sox were the White Sox, who got the boot from the commissioner, though they were never found guilty by the grand jury] means acknowledging incompleteness and determining how best to deal with indeterminacy,” writes the author. There is just too much archival data missing; there are too many stories, and too many of the storytellers are dead; and contradictions are all over the evidence. What Fountain does so well is provide the surrounding circumstances—the background to the sport, the gambling, the owners’ greed, the timorous baseball front office, the shafting of the players, all the temptations that coax players to do wrong to gain an edge and make more money—at once shedding light on what is known but especially what has been ignored or underappreciated. The game-fixing routines—which date back to the Civil War—are stories in themselves, and Fountain reports it all. His profiles of the players, clubhouse men, gamblers (from Boss Tweed to Arnold Rothstein), and facilitators are meaty, informative vignettes. The author also includes the gripping story of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who "never played shoeless because he couldn’t afford shoes,” was no bumpkin, actually got along with Ty Cobb (a feat for any player of that era), and wound up with $5,000 without flubbing anything.

The scandal was a game-shattering event and cleansed baseball for a moment. Fountain writes of it with professional élan, which means letting the facts not speak but sing.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-19-979513-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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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 Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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