A top-notch sports biography.

THE COLONEL AND HUG

THE PARTNERSHIP THAT TRANSFORMED THE NEW YORK YANKEES

Many baseball fans think it was Babe Ruth who elevated the fledgling (and flagging) New York Yankees team. In this authoritative new work, Steinberg and Spatz (1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York, 2010) shine a light on the indispensable contributions of two behind-the-scenes magicians.

Surely the Sultan of Swat has secured his place in the record books, but less is known about the owner and manager of those teams: Col. Jacob Ruppert Jr. and Miller Huggins, known colloquially as the “Colonel” and “Hug.” Ruppert inherited his father’s successful brewery and increased its profitability to become one of New York City’s wealthiest men, and in 1915, he bought the Yankees with partner Til Huston. Huggins was a diminutive ballplayer-turned-manager tasked with the impossible job of managing the heavy-hitting egotism of the 1920s Yankees, led by Ruth. Despite leading his loaded team to unprecedented success, Huggins suffered through naysayers, negative press, temperamental players, and a nervous breakdown. Regardless, Ruppert regarded the hiring of Huggins as “the first and most important step we took toward making the Yankees champions.” This relationship between owner and manager is what shines throughout the narrative. Though they were from two different worlds, they combined their efforts to change the game of baseball. Every anecdote contributes to a better understanding of these two men and their importance to sports history. The book is not only a thorough dual biography; it is also a lucid, well-written reminder of why we love baseball. “Baseball never operates in a vacuum,” write the authors, and they assemble a well-researched treasure of a book that not only chronicles the two men behind the game’s most iconic team, but the nation they helped shape as well.

A top-notch sports biography.

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8032-4865-6

Page Count: 520

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more