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Fine, tasty fare for dedicated baseball fans.

A former senior editor for Sports Illustrated returns with a highly detailed account of a bizarre 1979 game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs: The final score, in 10 innings, was 23-22.

In this comprehensive narrative, nothing gets by Cook (Electric October: Seven World Series Games, Six Lives, Five Minutes of Fame that Lasted Forever, 2017, etc.). After a bit of background and history—the two teams, baseball in general, Wrigley Field—the author takes us through 20 swift chapters, each devoted to a half-inning of this weird game at Wrigley on May 17, 1979. In each chapter, he focuses on a player or two—or a manager—and provides a brief biography and a discussion of how he ended up at Wrigley that day. Many of the names will be familiar even to casual baseball fans: Bill Buckner, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Tim McCarver, Dave Kingman; others, not so much, except to fans of the teams or to devoted fans of the game—e.g., Jerry Martin, Bill Caudill, Ray Burris. Cook weaves their stories in and out of the narrative, thereby enriching his well-researched tale as he proceeds. Following the last out in the 10th, the author concludes with explorations of what happened to the teams and to some of the principals afterward. We learn more about Buckner’s famous error in the 1986 World Series, Pete Rose’s fall from grace (gambling), and catcher Bob Boone’s remarkable family (his sons played in the major league as well). But the most disturbing story involves Cubs’ reliever Donnie Moore: He was a talented pitcher but was a serial abuser of his wife; his abuse grew grotesquely grim when, in a rage in 1989, he shot her several times (she survived) before killing himself.

Fine, tasty fare for dedicated baseball fans.

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-18203-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 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...

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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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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