A thoroughly enjoyable re-creation of the gusto, guts, glory and grime of the game’s early days.

READ REVIEW

THE SUMMER OF BEER AND WHISKEY

HOW BREWERS, BARKEEPS, ROWDIES, IMMIGRANTS, AND A WILD PENNANT FIGHT MADE BASEBALL AMERICA'S GAME

An accomplished baseball historian reminds us when a go-ahead Western city and an upstart league turned the country “base ball mad!”

Only 20 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, professional baseball had already been around long enough for corruption scandals to have almost killed it. To compete with the staid and stained National League, the newly formed American Association slashed ticket prices and offered beer sales and Sunday baseball to appeal to immigrants and the working class. These innovations, plus a rough-and-ready brand of ball, spiffy uniforms, and remodeled and well-regulated ballparks, all helped to set new attendance records and smooth baseball’s entry into the 20th century as America’s national pastime. Providence Journal deputy editorial pages editor Achorn (Fifty-Nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had, 2010, etc.) tracks the hard-fought 1883 pennant race, focusing particularly on the St. Louis Browns—the first iteration of today’s Cardinals—and their mercurial, Steinbrenner-esque owner, Chris Von der Ahe. Among many colorful characters, the Browns featured the young Charlie Comiskey (who’d have his own brush with scandal as owner of the 1919 Black Sox), manager “Ted” Sullivan, who first used “fanatics” to describe the game’s passionate supporters, and Arlie Latham, whose swift base running led his language-challenged owner to exclaim that he could run “like a cantelope.” Achorn mixes in stories about other league standouts: the doughty pitcher for the eventual champion Philadelphia Athletics, Bobby Matthews; their minstrel performer turned owner, Lew Simmons; their Yale man, Jumping Jack Jones, whose unorthodox delivery baffled hitters; and Louisville’s Pete “the Prince of Bourbon” Browning, whose bespoke bat made apprentice woodworker Bud Hillerich wealthy. Scheming owners, rampant racism, hard-drinking players, beleaguered umpires, crazed spectators and lurking gamblers—all these were also part of the league and of Achorn’s unblinking but still admiring presentation.

A thoroughly enjoyable re-creation of the gusto, guts, glory and grime of the game’s early days.

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61039-260-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

OPEN BOOK

The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

Did you like this book?

more