Bradley provides entertainment aplenty, though nostalgic baseball fans and Yanks/Sox diehards will reap the greatest benefit.

READ REVIEW

THE GREATEST GAME

THE YANKEES, THE RED SOX, AND THE PLAYOFF OF ’78

Yet another chronicle of the epic New York/Boston rivalry, this time focusing on the legendary one-game playoff for the Eastern Division championship in 1978.

While the current generation of baseball fans may view the epic Red Sox comeback of 2004 as the pinnacle of the long-running Yankees/Sox drama, their acrimonious history has produced numerous other memorable matchups, not the least of which was the Oct. 2, 1978, game to break a first-place tie and determine which team would advance to the playoffs and take on the Kansas City Royals for a shot at the World Series. Within his pitch-by-pitch recreation of the blockbuster duel, Bradley (Harvard Rules: The Struggle for the Soul of the World’s Most Powerful University, 2005, etc.) flashes back to various points throughout the season, telling the individual stories of players involved in the game. Controversial superstars like Reggie Jackson, all-stars including Jim Rice, Ron Guidry and Carl Yastrzemski, and lesser-known players, such as hero-of-the-day Bucky Dent, get mini biographies. At a time when the Curse of the Bambino still loomed large, the author amply conveys Red Sox desperation, embodied in passionate team leader Carlton Fisk and nearly every player’s stated desire to win one for the aging Yastrzemski. There’s little question that the cast of characters—including overbearing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, fiery manager Billy Martin and tough-as-nails catcher Thurman Munson, who would tragically perish in a plane crash less than a year later—warrants an in-depth chronicle, and Bradley’s anecdotal style is perfectly suited to relating the boys-club (mis)adventures of both teams. The author overreaches, however, in his attempts to turn an important baseball game into a transcendent moment in history; the moment-by-moment recounting becomes tedious by the seventh-inning stretch.

Bradley provides entertainment aplenty, though nostalgic baseball fans and Yanks/Sox diehards will reap the greatest benefit.

Pub Date: March 18, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-3438-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2007

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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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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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