A skillful mixture of biographies, on-field action, and behind-the-scenes baseball politics in a story with a happy ending...

THEY BLED BLUE

FERNANDOMANIA, STRIKE-SEASON MAYHEM, AND THE WEIRDEST CHAMPIONSHIP BASEBALL HAD EVER SEEN: THE 1981 LOS ANGELES DODGERS

The spirited tale of a unique Major League Baseball championship team.

While less vaunted than the 1927 or 1961 New York Yankees, the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers produced enough fireworks to deserve significant attention, and Turbow (Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, 2017) delivers the goods. He begins with the frustrating 1970s, when the Dodgers continued to win without winning the World Series. He claims that the painful 1978 loss—four defeats after winning the first two games—so demoralized the team that it sunk below .500 in 1979, finishing third in the division. The 1980 season also ended badly when the Dodgers tied for first place only to lose a one-game playoff to the Houston Astros. Many fans remember the 1981 strike, which was inspired by the owners’ distress at free agency. The author’s detailed, blow-by-blow account tells readers perhaps more than they want to know. Far more entertaining were the games themselves, beginning opening day. With starters either injured or unavailable, for the first time in baseball history, a rookie became opening-day pitcher: Fernando Valenzuela, who threw a shutout, proceeded to win his first eight games, launched “Fernandomania,” and became the first pitcher to win rookie of the year and the Cy Young award. With superb pitching and celebrated infielders Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey in the last of their many years together, they led their division when play halted in June. Play resumed in August following controversial rules under which the Dodgers, having won the division in the first round, were guaranteed a playoff position. Perhaps as a result, they played poorly, finishing fourth. Turbow devotes nearly half the book to the postseason, which featured as much grit and luck as heroism but ended well when the Dodgers lost two World Series games to the Yankees but then won four straight.

A skillful mixture of biographies, on-field action, and behind-the-scenes baseball politics in a story with a happy ending for Dodgers fans.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-71553-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 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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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

1776

A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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