DiMAGGIO by Joseph Durso


The Last American Knight
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 New York Times sportswriter Durso (Madison Square Garden, 1979, etc.) adds a tepid volume to the lengthy shelf on the fabled Yankee Clipper. This book was almost an autobiography: DiMaggio thought the time was right for his own version of his oft-told story, and a publisher was willing to give him and Durso a $2 million advance. But when DiMag realized that he would have to discuss his marriage to Marilyn Monroe, he pulled out of the project; Durso decided to proceed without him. Durso's tome opens promisingly with a chapter on DiMaggio's return to the public eye in the early 1970s as a TV spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank and, later, for Mr. Coffee. This fascinating material reveals a side of the reclusive hero that few know; Durso perceptively notes that DiMaggio was a shrewd businessman who proved a natural pitchman, projecting great sincerity on the small screen. Unfortunately, subsequent chapters add little to the familiar saga of this first-generation Italian- American kid from San Francisco, the fisherman's son who become not just a great baseball player but an American icon. Durso rehashes the tale: high school dropout, sandlot player who joined the Triple-A San Francisco Seals at 18 and tore up the Pacific Coast League, 13 seasons with the Yankees, the 56-game hitting streak, the Homeric comeback to win the pennant in 1949, the 274-day marriage to Marilyn. It's all been told before and most of it has been told better. If you have never heard of DiMaggio, this will give you the basics. Otherwise, nothing special. (b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 7th, 1995
ISBN: 0-316-19730-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995