In a baseball memoir filled with plenty of strikes and balls, Rose offers abundant evidence of why he has become a...

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PLAY HUNGRY

THE MAKING OF A BASEBALL PLAYER

One of the most talented—and controversial—players in the history of Major League Baseball shares his life story.

When Rose (b. 1941) set his on-field records during the 1970s and ’80s, he became famous for his high-energy performances as well as his tough-guy brashness. He opens the book by noting, “my dad taught me that nothing mattered more than winning.” Later, he earned a different sort of renown: for his gambling on the outcomes of games, which led to the sport’s commissioner banning Rose from the game. So far, the ban has blocked his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Based solely on performance, Rose, the game’s all-time hits leader, is one of the most deserving Hall of Fame candidates in history, and controversy about whether his apparently victimless gambling should prohibit his entry might never end. The author addresses his gambling and the ban it yielded in a few pages toward the end of the book, and the tone of those pages is difficult to characterize; it’s a cryptic tumble of sentences that is half apology and half defiance. As for the remainder of the book, Rose builds the explanation of his successes and his quirks around the influence of his father, who held a day job in Cincinnati but became best known locally for his semiprofessional athletic prowess. Over and over the author describes how his father emphasized winning for the team no matter the physical and emotional costs. From his early childhood, Rose felt confident that he would reach professional baseball even though the odds are extremely slim for anyone. Unfortunately, the narrative is marred by an absurd amount of repetition regarding the author’s macho nature and his immodesty about his hard-won skills. But when he tones down the attitude, his recollections about baseball—and life off the field—yield rewards for readers.

In a baseball memoir filled with plenty of strikes and balls, Rose offers abundant evidence of why he has become a touchstone of controversy.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55867-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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