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Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil (Icons of America) Hardcover – March 8, 2011
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
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"Jerome Charyn applies his considerable skills as a novelist to exploring the gnawing mysteries surrounding a man who 'was brutal in his devotion to the game.'"—Sam Roberts, New York Times (Sam Roberts New York Times)
About the Author
Jerome Charyn is the author of The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson and The Seventh Babe, a novel about a white third baseman on the Red Sox who also played in the Negro Leagues.
More About the Author
Charyn's popular crime novels, featuring homicide detective Isaac Sidel, inspired a new animated drama series. 'Hard Apple' debuts on the small screen in 2017, helmed by Hollywood insider James Gray (The Immigrants) and illustrated by famed artists Asaf and Tomer Hanuka (Waltz with Bashir.) Click on the teaser video below.
Now in bookstores: Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories. Bronx-born Charyn brings to life the pre- and post-Robert Moses world of New York's northernmost borough in thirteen bittersweet stories. *Nominated for Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and Kirkus Prize in Fiction.
Coming March, 2016: Charyn's groundbreaking and highly-anticipated study A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century - the subject of a new documentary narrated by Cynthia Nixon.
Charyn lives in New York and Paris.
Top Customer Reviews
Bios tend to emphasize the drama of their subject's struggle to fame and its eventual realization but in "Vigil" it was interesting to discover Charyn's emphasis on the years after, which were just as tumultuous for DiMaggio, internally at least.
Always private in life and ready to end the glare of the camera by retiring with grace, you nevertheless get a feel for how addictive fame can be (Jay-Z's own lyrics from "Lost One": Fame is / The worst drug known to man / It's stronger than, heroin) by the lack Joe felt once the public glare had left him. This was obviously not helped by marrying a woman who (arguably) became and still is the most famous woman in the world: Marilyn Monroe.
Having read pretty much every Marilyn Monroe bio there is, it was cool to read Charyn's take on the man's side of the story, as regards to their marriage. Losing overwhelming public adoration, while your hot wife is on the exact opposite swing, rising to icon status, seemed to be more psychologically damaging for poor Joe than dealing with the pressure of being a sports star. And yet, ironically, while getting into fits over how unhealthy all this mass attention on his wife was, he was equally obsessed and besotted with her.
The author goes so far as to describe the ex-Yankee as a regular stalker: Even after MM openly declared her love for Arthur Miller and when they were courting at New York's Waldorf Hotel, Joe would "wait in the alleys" outside, hoping to see her come out.Read more ›
While most of the books over the years -- especially those written in a long-ago time, when athletes were always heroic rather than mortal like the rest of us -- concentrate on the his accomplishments on the field, this year's offerings (the other being Kostya Kennedy's 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports), take a different and darker approach.
The subtitle The Long Vigil can be viewed in more than one way. In one, it represents DiMaggio's need to maintain his status as "The Greatest Living Ballplayer," a title officially bestowed upon him when baseball celebrated its centennial in 1969.
The dust jacket offers another angle.
Rather than the image of the Yankee Clipper in Yankee pinstripes, the photo -- taken by John Vachon for LOOK magazine in 1953 -- represents the main "accomplishment" of DiMaggio's post-career: his love affair with Marilyn Monroe, which continued long after their divorce and even past the Hollywood icon's death.
DiMaggio does not look especially happy in the photo, even though Monroe is smiling, perhaps whispering some loving nugget into his ear. There are no other photos in the book, as if Charyn did not want to intrude further on DiMaggio's notorious demands for privacy.
One word is repeated through The Long Vigil: "brood." Charyn portrays DiMaggio as a man who was never comfortable in his own skin, always wanting to be the best. He sought the accolades of an adoring public with one hand, but pushed them away with the other. Was that separation born of aloofness or an innate shyness/inferiority complex?Read more ›
Yet how did such an awkward, insecure man marry Marilyn Monroe? Charyn feels that the relationship was created as the ultimate public relations move. A nude calendar of Marilyn had surfaced and she wanted to rehabilitate her image by staging DiMaggio as her real life leading man. No one was viewed as more stable or reliable than The Yankee Clipper. What she never expected was that he would literally become obsessed with her.
The book is not a straight biography. Charyn inserts his own opinions and at times writes in the first person. At under 150 pages of text, it is not an overwhelming read. Instead it is a unique look at a man whose iconic status is tempered by very human flaws. His unbreakable concentration on the ballfield left him mentally drained and physically exhausted. This intensely driven quest for perfection was unendurable, yet it was a pattern he followed throughout his life. His sense of discipline was unmatched, but it lacked the heart and emotion that would allow others to connect with him. By keeping himself aloof and distant, Charyn describes DiMaggio as being above the world around him and not part of it.
A poignant passage revolves around DiMaggio's most legendary achievement - his 56 game hitting streak in 1941.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this book, the author does far more than simply recount the details of DiMaggio's life that a simple Google search could yield far more easily, quickly, and cheaply, but instead... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Micah Wimmer
Shortly after I graduated from the old Dick and Jane reading primers, my folks gave me a book, Lucky To Be A Yankee, by Joe DiMaggio. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by crafty lefthander
Charyn's treatment of DiMaggio is sensitive and poignant. Until an improperly treated bone spur in his foot shortened his career Joe was a master of all aspects of the game. Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer
Besides being one of the greatest players to ever grace the diamond, "Joltin'" Joe DiMaggio was also one of the most mysterious men to ever walk this planet. Read morePublished on September 1, 2012 by Zachary Koenig
"Jolt'in" Joe DiMaggio ruled center field for the New York Yankees from 1936-1951, and during that time he was revered by all as perhaps the greatest center fielder of all time. Read morePublished on July 24, 2012 by kone
I was never a big fan of Joe DiMaggio; he always seemed a bit of a whiner to me. I much preferred the Charlie Gehringer/Al Kaline type of baseball hero: show up, play, win or lose,... Read morePublished on August 8, 2011 by Richard S. Dixon Jr.
Jerome Charyn (The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson) once again succeeds as a thorough and thought-provoking writer. The Long Vigil delves into Joe D., the baseball great vs. Joe D. Read morePublished on May 3, 2011 by kathleen gerard
In Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil, you can appreciate the admiration author Jerome Charyn had for Joe DiMaggio the New York Yankees baseball player. Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by Lady Loves Pinstripes
Are there days you daydream? Your mind wondering around looking to escape? Well I have been in that state the last few days. Did you miss me? Read morePublished on May 2, 2011 by Lynette355