A HERO ALL HIS LIFE by Merlyn Mantle


A Mantle Family Memoir
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 What makes this already familiar account of drunkenness, infidelity, and remorse so startling is that it's by Mantle and members of his family. It also has some moving details of The Mick's courageous last days. With the aid of Herskowitz (The Quarterbacks, 1990), family members, including Mantle, recount, in alternating chapters, his life against the grim backdrop of their bouts with alcoholism. Mantle's contribution, written after he went to the Betty Ford Center in 1994 (as had his wife and three of their sons before him), discusses his career, his drinking, his marriage, and his regret at being, in his words, a lousy father. ``My view of the world,'' writes Mantle, ``was not much wider than the strike zone.'' He felt useless after retiring in 1969 from his illustrious career with the New York Yankees and was never comfortable with his fame. He became ``drinking buddies'' with his sons--a relationship he would regret as each of them slipped into a cycle of drunkenness and scrapes with the law. The most interesting recollections are those of Mantle's wife Merlyn, who recalls dating the young, handsome star, his enduring relationship with his beloved father, Mutt, and his innocent courtship of her (Mickey hadn't started drinking; they often went to soda fountains on their dates), and his glory years with the Yankees. Merlyn, David, and Danny each address the controversy surrounding Mantle's liver transplant, arguing that he did not receive special treatment because of his stature, that his condition was much worse than they'd revealed to the media. All agree that one beneficial effect of the publicity was that ``millions . . . were now aware of the organ donor program'' sponsored by the Mickey Mantle Foundation. A hard, sad tale, one which removes the varnish from an American legend and paints him in all-too-human colors. (16 pages photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-018363-2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1996


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