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In a stunning feat of meticulous reportage, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ben Cramer ultimately puts to rest the "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" question with iconoclastic bravura. In Cramer's evaluation, the hero America held onto so desperately for so long was really a creation of a nation's communal imagination. The Joe DiMaggio that America tried so hard to believe in was never really here at all.
There was, of course, a Joe DiMaggio, and he had a splendid career in Yankee pinstripes--once hitting safely in an unimaginable 56 consecutive games--and a troubled marriage with Marilyn Monroe, each augmenting the other in our national mythology. But myths tend to be skin-deep, and Cramer's biography thrives in an internal geography well below the surface. The map he charts is of a cold, small, often nasty, uncaring, resentful, self-centered man, a man of public grace and private misery who broke friendships, shunned family, and chased money with the same focused energies he once harnessed to run down fly balls. It's not a pretty picture.
Scrupulously researched and elegantly written, The Hero's Life is filled with stories and reminiscences, both on and off the field, from others--not surprisingly, DiMaggio offered no cooperation--that both illumine the man and, more fascinatingly, explain our very need for him. Amid all the success and adulation, there was little joy in DiMaggio's life, and few moments--beyond the real heartache he felt over Monroe--of connection with others beyond Joe's personal need for others to serve him. "No one really knew what it meant to have spent a half-century being precisely and distinctly DiMaggio," Cramer writes, "what we required Joe DiMaggio to be. No one knew, as he did, what it cost to live the hero's life. And no one knew, as he did, precisely what it was worth." It seems our nation turned its lonely eyes to a proud, but empty shell; Cramer's superb book helps us understand why we did, and how DiMaggio was able to take all the good will extended him and give so little back. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Listening to Cramer read his biography of Joe DiMaggio feels as though you are sitting in a bar talking baseball with a friend, only to have a grizzled regular overhear your conversation and interject pejoratively, "DiMaggio, eh? I'll tell you about DiMaggio." With a tough, throaty accent and straightforward manner, Cramer sounds as if he's telling the whole tale with his arms crossed over the back of a turned-around chair and a toothpick dangling from the corner of his mouth. And for a story about a kid rising from a large Italian family in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf to wealth and fame as a superstar for the New York Yankees, the style fits perfectly. Cramer (What It Takes) balances the Hall of Fame outfielder's well-documented highlights--his 10 World Series titles in 13 major-league seasons, astounding 56-game hitting streak and marriage to Marilyn Monroe--with attributes the public never saw: seedy connections, loose morals and a tight fist. Cramer has ably taken his controversial text and pared it down to provide a strong audio performance that will keep his audience engaged right up until closing time. Simultaneous release with Simon & Schuster hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 16, 2000).
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
One of the best biographies I have ever read. In addition to the story of DiMaggio's life it's a gripping account of the United States and the sport of baseball during his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Markfromark
WOW WHAT A DEMON HE, WAS GREED ,WOMEN NEVER SPENT A BUCK,BUT HELD HIS VALUES FOR HIS FAMILY.Published 3 months ago by Vito Caruso
Richard Ben Cramer captures the true personality of Joe D as it evolves through his years and in the face of so much turbulence and personal anguish. Read morePublished 4 months ago by John von Brachel
Great book! This is the first proper DiMaggio biography I've read and it's shown me how an icon can be perfect in his chosen career and yet deeply flawed outside of that arena.Published 4 months ago by Neels van Rooyen
This biography was pretty good until it hit the halfway mark. Then, it became bogged down as the author gave what was practically a play-by-play of several ball games, which was... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jack M. Walter
Not for kids, but this highly detailed book is very well done. A little too much sex talk but Cramer covers it all.Published 5 months ago by Edward Seiler
I love baseball and history of the 30s, 40s and (early) 50s so this book was a natural for me. It is extraordinarily well written, a page turner. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Paul Montognese