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THE BIG CHAIR

THE SMOOTH HOPS AND BAD BOUNCES FROM THE INSIDE WORLD OF THE ACCLAIMED LOS ANGELES DODGERS GENERAL MANAGER

A treasure trove of characterizations and insights bound to entertain any MLB fan.

The longtime Major League Baseball general manager covers the bases in a chatty memoir.

Alternating among declarations of his unabashed love for baseball, neutral reportage, and score-settling (usually with a smile and a subsequent peace offering), Colletti, whose career on the administration side covered decades with the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Dodgers, provides a variety of insights—among other subjects, about putting out fires as a GM accountable to a wealthy team owner, negotiating contracts with and making trades for players, getting a handle on illegal steroid use, and second-guessing field managers without seeming to interfere. The author, who began his career as a newspaper sportswriter, offers unforgettable, candid profiles of hundreds of players, including Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, and Yasiel Puig. Regarding the last, the immature, reckless behavior of players barely old enough to drink legally is a reminder of how much fans expect of athletes whose brains might not be fully formed yet. Superagent Scott Boras, a legend in his own time for his negotiating tactics on behalf of players, shows up in the text frequently, as do superstar players and managers that Colletti has hired and fired, a list that includes Joe Torre and Don Mattingly. Because the author grew up in the Chicago area, worked for area newspapers, and began his career with the Cubs, the book is larded with Cubs’ anecdotes, including the breaking of the century-plus curse to win the World Series in 2016. During his decade with the Dodgers (2005-2015), Colletti’s teams never won the World Series, but they finished strong during most of those seasons. The author could have broadened his memoir to discuss his mingling with celebrities beyond baseball, but he refrains from doing so except for a section about Frank Sinatra.

A treasure trove of characterizations and insights bound to entertain any MLB fan.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1572-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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NIGHT

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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THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS

FROM MEAN STREETS TO WALL STREET

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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