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Last Hero Paperback – July 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439181225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439181225
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,382,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mantle, who played for the New York Yankees from 1951 to 1968, was in large part responsible for the 10 pennants the team won during those years. One of the best switch-hitters of all time, he was most famed for his "tape-measure" home runs, one of which may have gone 565 feet, and for his willingness to play when injured and in pain. Raised in rural Oklahoma, Mantle (1931-1995) was greeted skeptically by baseball fans when he arrived in the majors because he was 4-F in the draft owing to osteomyelitis and did not fight in Korea. But the disapproval turned to love and, when his career ended, he was the darling of the fans. Mantle's personal life was far less successful: he was an alcoholic and a womanizer and paid little attention to his wife and five sons, all of whom also developed problems with alcohol. Additionally, he was unsuccessful in business when his playing days were over. Falkner (The Last Yankee) is deeply sympathetic toward Mantle and convincingly suggests that he may be a tragic figure.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The Mick. Thirty years after Mickey Mantle's retirement, as he battled cancer, sportscasters still invoked his image with the abbreviated version of his first name. That's all they needed; such was the virtually unprecedented fame Mantle enjoyed and endured. Falkner, the celebrated biographer who has illuminated the lives of sports figures as disparate as Billy Martin (Mantle's teammate and drinking buddy) and Sadaharu Oh, Japanese baseball's version of Babe Ruth, here recounts Mantle's often tumultuous life with an unashamed sentimentality. This isn't intended to be the definitive biography; Falkner is unconcerned with re-creating every day in Mantle's life. Instead, he emphasizes how Mantle the ballplayer and Mantle the man affected both those around him and also the world at large. The oft-told facts set the stage: the humble Oklahoma origins, young Mick's tutelage at the hands of a father who named his son after baseball great Mickey Cochrane; the country-boy-in-the-city years; the stardom; the injuries; the decline; and the drinking. Don't forget the drinking. It's what eventually killed Mantle, and it's also, Falkner argues, what elevated his image as a hero in his last days. Mantle publicly acknowledged his alcoholism and held himself up to kids as a real-life role model: "Don't be like me." Mantle could never recapture a life he felt he had wasted, but over the last few years, as he struggled with his weaknesses and finally achieved sobriety, he became a more enduring kind of hero. This deeply moving biography of a genuine American icon reveals both the cost of fame and the power of redemption. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Last Hero the book about Mickey Mantle was on of the better books that I have read about Mickey. I like the way it talks about childhood days, and how he progressed through his years of baseball. Actually I thought the book was a little touching, it touched my heart. I just wish Mick would have taken better care of himself or he just might be alive today. Now I'am only 18yrs old so I never did get to see Mickey Mantle play baseball, but I have read many of the books about him, and just from reading different books on him I have realized that he was a true baseball player. Since the first time I heard about Mickey he has been my hero and will always be my hero no matter what any one says about him. To me Mickey is the best ballplayer ever the play the simple of baseball.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The book is chock full of original research on Mickey's childhood. You understand his immortal line, "If I knew I would have lived this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Falkner, rather than rehash old stories, talks with Mickey's teammates and unearths new gems. It is shame the world has lost this giant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By zack on October 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this book you see all the struggles this young star goes through at an early age and all through his career. You get a look at what he was dealing with everyday as an american sports hero. This book makes Mantle appear as if he starts out as an average sports star all over the limelight. But shows more of what a monster he became as his career and life progressed. Mantle was truly a national hero and this novel spotlights the qualities Mickey possesed to fully fit the part the people saw him playing. From his small life as a young boy to the big life in New York, playing for the Yankees. This book is one of the quality works of Author David Falkner. As a sports fan and an athlete i admired the life of Mickey Mantle because of the way he presented himself during all events. He was humble and seemed as if he would not harm even a pestering fly. It is my believe that to truly appreciate this book, you must first realize the grasp sports had on our culture and what athletes face while in the spotlight, after seeing that you must read this book as if you had never read a biography on a person living a perfect live, because Mantle was unable to do this. At that point you will be able to read this book and totally understand what the author and Mickey wanted to relay through writing it. In conclusion this book is one of the best books i have ever read and a must for all sports fans and followers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I've read about Mickey Mantle and its a very good read. There are some very moving stories about the twilight years of Mickey's career and the respect and reverence felt for him by opposing teams. One act of respect - no bunting on Mickey because of his bad knees. And one opposing team pitcher deliberately threw Mickey a home run pitch just to see him hit it out of the park.
This book goes back to Mickey's childhood, and how his father would come home after working all day in the mines, go out back with Mickey and neighborhood friends and play baseball until dark. Mickey was right-handed, but his father would make him hit left-handed to teach him how to be a switch hitter (which Mickey hated having to do at the time).
This book is full of interesting stories and antedotes about Mickey's life. One thing this book did not answer for me that I have questions about: Mickey lived with another woman the last 10 years of his life, but never divorced Merlyn, his first and only wife. Why did he never divorce and remarry this woman? Why did he stay married to Merlyn? What were the reasons that Merlyn never left, or Mickey didn't?
All in all, a great book if you are wanting to learn more about Mickey Mantle.
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