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Men in Green Hardcover – April 7, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Maybe the best golf book I’ve ever read.” —Bill Reynolds, The Providence Journal

“Until roughly the mid-1980s, the PGA Tour really was a tour, not the geographically-dispersed collection of big-money events that it is today. The players and often their wives drove from event to event or hopped on chartered flights together. . . . In a new book, Men in Green, author Michael Bamberger re-creates that tour through a series of surprisingly candid interviews with players, caddies, wives, and others who were there. It is a world of booze-fueled friendships and feuds, of deep bonds and annoyances, of hurts that still fester and memories that still glow. Braiding it all together is the power and addiction of golf. . . . Bamberger doesn’t flinch at portraying the Tour’s earthier aspects. Drugs, sex, and alcohol, although not sensationalized, take their appropriate place in his narrative. But the book is overwhelmingly a love song. . . . Above all, what comes through is the sense of the Tour back then as an extended family, sometimes dysfunctional but never dull.” —John Paul Newport, The Wall Street Journal

“Michael Bamberger is a hard-boiled reporter with a sly wit, but his bottom-line virtue is empathy. That’s made him the most penetrating and insightful golf writer of our time. Men in Green is Bamberger at his best: revealing secrets, puncturing myths, adjudicating never-settled feuds. His new book has the suspenseful urgency of a detective novel, a cast of characters out of a Fellini movie, and the heart of a Charlie Brown Christmas special. If I could have only one golf book on a deserted island, Men in Green would be that book.”
—John Garrity, author of Ancestral Links

“Compelling . . . This is the golf version of Roger Kahn’s classic The Boys of Summer . . . A fascinating portrait of a time in golf much different than the corporate version of today.” Chicago Tribune

Men in Green is peppered with appealing vignettes—such as Billy Harmon on what Bob Goalby said to himself standing over a four-foot putt on the last hole of the 1968 Masters—but Bamberger has a higher purpose. Identifying legends and trying to find out what makes them tick, he and Donald provide exceptional insight into some of America’s greatest players over the last half-century.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Poignant . . . Consistently entertaining . . . Whether it’s Gay Talese profiling heavyweight boxer Floyd Patterson, John McPhee describing the artistry of basketball great Bill Bradley, or Roger Angell writing anything about baseball, the best sportswriting is about more than the sport that is its ostensible subject. That’s what makes Michael Bamberger’s Men in Green, nominally a book about what Bamberger calls eighteen ‘legends of the game,’ one that will appeal to more than passionate golf fans. Less concerned with birdies and bogeys than he is with exploring the stories behind the lives and careers of his subjects, Bamberger matches a keen eye for the sport that’s been the subject of two of his previous books—The Green Road Home and To the Linksland—with a knack for getting his subjects to share their candid reminiscences in revealing fashion.” —Harvey Freedenberg, Harrisburg Magazine

“To be cherished . . . Will entertain and enthrall . . . A nostalgic visit and reminiscence with those who fashioned golf history.” Golf Digest

About the Author

Michael Bamberger was born in Patchogue, New York, in 1960. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982, he became a newspaper reporter, first for the (Martha’s) Vineyard Gazette, later with The Philadelphia Inquirer. Since 1995 he has been a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. He and his wife, Christine, live in Philadelphia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 7, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476743827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476743820
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes a book comes a long that captures the spirit of its subject perfectly. "Men in Green"is one of those books. Its easy to forget how good quality writing can be (in the age of digital snippets). The quality of writing and the content of this book is surely going to make it a treasured classic amongst golf fans. It was so engaging I could not put it down and after reading it cover to cover continue to dip back to its pages for more. It made me laugh out loud (I'll approach those 4 foot must make putts differently after hearing Billy Harmon's advice), made me sad but mostly made me grateful that such quality writing combined with a topic I love can bring so much pleasure. I highly recommend this book to any golf fan or indeed anyone who admires quality literature.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this book not least because it settled for all time the whispered rumor of Arnie cheating at the Masters. Big tip of the hat to Michael Bamberger for tracking the story down and sticking with it. The book is well written and informative. I particularly liked the sidebar stories of caddies and also-rans. Well written and entertaining. My highest recommendation. Hurry up, Mr. Bamberger, and write another!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Michael Bamberger's golf writing since his book "To the Linksland" which told of his year spent in Europe, caddying on the European tour and traveling around to the great courses (famous and unknown) in Scotland. His new book, "Men in Green," is a joy to read, not only for the wonderful stories of golf legends (famous and unknown) such Palmer, Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Aldophus "Golf Ball" Hull and Sandy Tatum, but for the lucid, well-constructed prose and for the care and generosity he has for his subjects. The trait of generosity...both financial and spritual...is one Bamberger often notices and comments on, whether it is a player who over-tips a caddy or Nicklaus, in defeat by a single stroke, putting his arm around Watson's shoulder as they walked off the green at Turnberry following their legendary Duel in the Sun. His open-mindedness, empathy, fairness, and ability to honestly assess and describe people without judgment demonstrates the type of generosity of spirit that he admires in others. As he travels around the country with his friend and former PGA touring pro, Mike Donald, Bamberger stumbles upon many remarkable intertwining of lives, loves and tournaments over the last 60 years and untangles some mysteries about those people and events along the way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not a bad book, but a little misleading. I thought it would be a close personal look at some of golf's greats. While there are interviews with some of these legends of the game, the book's focus lies heavily on Arnold Palmer, Ken Venturi and Mike Donald (the author's long time friend, traveling partner and former journeyman tour pro) with the others on his list of legends only have chapter dedicated to them, and even then somehow Arnold and Ken managed to get worked in. You do get an interesting look into what life on the tour was like in it's golden age from the players and some caddies, plus there are some thought provoking quotes from some of the subjects.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really hoping this book, Men in Green, would provide some good inside stories on the famous and not so famous “legends” in golf that the book blub promised. Instead the book is a meandering road trip the author takes, mostly with is buddy Mike Donald, that is simply boring and provides very little insight or anything interesting about golf or golf legends. There is way, way too much of the author in this book, and way too little about the players and other more obscure golf legends.

The only redeeming value of the book is the tidbits about Arnold Palmer and Ken Venturi, which were somewhat interesting. His chapter on Jack Nicklaus near the end was also very good. Otherwise this is a forgettable book and mostly a waste of time.
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Format: Hardcover
Presents very interesting perspective on some of golf history's most famous names, their caddies and other people closely surrounding their lives. This book will likely have a greater appeal to PGA fans. The memories and anecdotal stories run a full gambit of emotions for those who have actually attended a PGA tournament, or carefully followed a favorite pro golfer while on tour. You will like the many examples of strong character and decency so many of these sport legends exhibit in their personal lives.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author shares intimate behind the scenes profiles of the famous and less famous players and caddies in the game of golf commencing with his "walk on" caddy career through his current ineraction as a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated and other media participation. He knows the game and the landscape of the pro and amateur world. The reader will gain a perspective of the real person behind the public person. The narative is entertaining and very informative. Anyone interested in golf can really enjoy this read and maybe some of those who just see it from time to time on TV too.
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Format: Hardcover
Length: 2:29 Mins
The title and cover picture of this book misrepresent the content. "Men in Green" suggests the book is about the Masters, especially with the cover photos of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Even though that's not the primary focus of the book, I enjoyed reading Bamberger's latest.

I invite you to watch my video review, which hits what I consider the high points. Best chapter in the book: Interview with Conni Venturi.

Also enjoyable: Description of the famed rules disagreement between Palmer and Venturi on the 12th green of the 1958 Masters.

While I commend the author for devoting pages to some of golf's less celebrated characters, occasionally those sections drag on a bit too much.

Additionally, anyone who has read golf magazines and books for decades, as I have, will consider some of the stories too overworked. Even so, recalling those pioneering PGA players helps us realize that golf had an era before touring pros enjoyed multiple opportunities to become millionaires in their first few years on the circuit. In the 1950s, even Arnold Palmer won the National Amateur while he was a paint salesman, and then spent his early months on the tour pulling a lodging trailer across the country.
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