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A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred [Kindle Edition]

George Will
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (217 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $12.01 (48%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“George Will on baseball. Perfect.”—Los Angeles Times
 
In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history?
 
Winding beautifully like Wrigley’s iconic ivy, Will’s meditation on “The Friendly Confines” examines both the unforgettable stories that forged the field’s legend and the larger-than-life characters—from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks—who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs’ future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility.

In the end, A Nice Little Place on the North Side is more than just the history of a ballpark. It is the story of Chicago, of baseball, and of America itself.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, turns 100 this season. Will, a lifelong Cubs fan originally from downstate Illinois, steps back from politics to indulge his passion for the generally hapless Cubs (last World Series win in 1908). In the context of Wrigley’s centennial, Will offers a rambling, gently amusing history of the team since it moved in. With few triumphs to write about, Will focuses on some of the dominant and/or quirky personalities associated with the team through the years. He has a particular fondness for Ernie Banks, aka Mr. Cub, who performed heroically for some atrocious Cub teams from 1953 through 1971, laying out the case that Banks, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, hasnt lingered in the minds of todays fans the way he should have done. Will also delivers brief but revealing examinations of longtime team owner P. K. Wrigley, players Phil Cavarretta and Hack Wilson, and manager Leo Durocher. Will, who has a Pulitzer for commentary on his mantel as well as a roomful of other awards, is one of the nation’s most visible Cub fans; this ode to the team and its home field will make a very pleasant read for baseball fans in general and Cub fans in particular. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Expect lots of television and other media promotion for this one, tied to various Wrigley Field celebrations. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

Praise for George Will and A Nice Little Place on the North Side

“Fond yet surprisingly hard-hitting…an intelligent, tough little book.” –USA Today

“George Will is as serious about baseball as he is about the Constitution or foreign policy…. A Nice Little Place on the North Side is replete with the amusing trivia that in baseball constitutes lore.”—Wall Street Journal

 “America’s leading poet of baseball” –Chicago Tribune, Printers Row Journal

“George F. Will’s wonderful book A Nice Little Place on the North Side reads like a history of a ballpark, but it’s really a fan’s interrogation of the most harrowing riddle: Why can’t the Cubs win?...[Will is] one of the great baseball writers.” –Commentary

“Will’s bow-tied, button-down prose wears quite well in this, his third insightful book about baseball, after Men at Work and Bunts. His eye for the game remains warm and acute, as do his conservative instincts.” –New York Times Book Review

“George Will is the most elegant of today’s political essayists, and with 'Men at Work,' 'Bunts' and this tribute to Chicago, the ballpark that graces it, and the fans who pack it to root for its hapless team, he can be counted among the best baseball writers to come down the pike…” –The Washington Times

“[Will’s] latest, A Nice Little Place on the North Side, will sit solidly on the bookshelf with his previous baseball classics…. As is always the case with Will, readers are treated to a mix of history, anecdotes, vignettes, cultural analysis, various informative diversions, and much wry humor.”—The American Spectator

“George F. Will is as eloquent on baseball as he is on politics.” –AARP Bulletin

“Required reading” –New York Post

Product Details

  • File Size: 3230 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (March 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FIN0UT0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,032 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“In baseball, the difference between excellence and mediocrity is usually not the blockbuster signing of this or that free agent. Rather, it is the cumulative effect of management’s attention to scouting, player development, and so on—which—requires time, effort and, always, money. Because Cubs fans fill so many seats no matter what is happening on the field, there is a reduced incentive to pay the expense of organizational excellence.” -- page 136

And that, according to author George Will appears to be the gist of the problem. For baseball fans in the Windy City and for people all across the fruited plain Wrigley Field has become something akin to a shrine. There is a certain mystique about the place that attracts both avid fans and curious tourists, some of whom have little interest in what was once the national pastime. As Wrigley Field turns 100 in 2014 George Will thought it might be an appropriate time to recall its fascinating and sometimes bizarre history. He has scribbled his thoughts into a neat little book he calls “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred”. This is a book destined to be great summer reading for sports fans, history buffs and general readers alike. Will conjures up a ton of fun facts, interesting tidbits and unforgettable yarns. As a lifetime baseball junkie I must tell you that I had a difficult time putting this one down.

Having been an ardent Cubs fan since 1948 George Will has pretty much seen it all—everything that is except his beloved Cubs playing in a World Series. In “A Nice Little Place on the North Side” Will recalls many of the memorable events and incidents from the sixty plus years he has been following the team.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Cubbies January 24, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What we have here is a light little read about Wrigley Field. Well, sort of; it's really not too well focused. It has many diversions, some of them pleasant and some of them tedious, into such wide-ranging fields as history, economics, psychology, neuroscience, architecture, sociology, and urban planning. (The section on the surprising importance of beer to the formation of the first civilizations comes fairly close to being worth the price of admission in and of itself.)

The problem is, the book is very scattered. It's anecdotal; in addition to the above mentioned digressions, it offers stories by the dozen of memorable Wrigley games, memorable Cubs, memorable opponents, etc etc. I managed to shake a handful of baseball trivia questions loose (Who was the only Major League player who was a contemporary of both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron? True or false: Major League teams have never combined for fifty runs in a single game.) Still, while190 pages of potpourri is not an unpleasant way to while away a few hours, I had expected more from Will.

There's something of a thesis to the book, one mentioned now and again in desultory fashion. It has to do with the idea that Wrigley Field's unique position as a stadium where the goal of making game day a pleasant experience regardless of the score has led to decade upon decade of leadership with no incentive to improving the team, thus leading to the poor Cubbies' never-ending futility. It's an interesting point, but it's lost in the general structure of a meandering yarn.

An okay baseball book.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let’s Read Two! February 9, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The measure of a good book, perhaps a great book, is when I finish the last page, I’m sad to see it end.

This Wrigley Field tribute, lovingly crafted by George Will, is a gem—but I still had five days of vacation left. Surely Will could craft a second book for us hopeless Cub fans. Misery loves company.

Another measure of a great book—I can read numerous paragraphs out loud to my wife, and she’s not annoyed. And no wonder—she converted me into the religion that is Cubs misery in 1968, a year before we married.

“Is 1984 in the book?” she asked, sadly.

I assured her that the heartbreak of 1984 was duly noted—plus other dates and fates: Leon Durham, Steve Bartman, 100 years of Wrigley Field, and dozens and dozens of other Cubs moments to inspire depression.

So why read this? Because the sadness is frequently erased with Will’s dry wit, intelligent analysis, and sidebar wisdom and humor:

--“For most teams, 0 for 30 is called a calamity. For the Cubs it is called April.”

--“What does a female bear taking birth control have in common with the World Series? No Cubs.”

Will quotes sportscaster Red Barber who once said, “baseball is dull only to dull minds.” Exactly. That’s why Cubs fans clearly have higher I.Q.s. We find meaning and solace in the nuanced explanation of win/loss records.

But this is far more than a tribute to Wrigley Field, host to more than 140 million fans since 1913. Will’s wisdom shines in hundreds of one-liners:

--For immigrants, “Learning to talk baseball was part of the catechism of the civic religion.”

--“Chicago was just the place for a man with Cowperwood’s high ratio of energy to scruples.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Our grandson loved his Christmas gift.
Published 4 days ago by Barbara A Hucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Will is a Master Wordsmith
Even if you are not a baseball fan, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Great history, anecdotes, and trivia seamlessly woven together.
Published 14 days ago by Joe Gaeta
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I gave this as a gift.
Published 21 days ago by Joy from Indiana
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history book every Chicagoan and Cubs lover should read
George Will is a unique writer bringing in many pieces of history into a great overall story. I never knew he loved Wrigley field so much. Read more
Published 22 days ago by DDasburg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another fine piece by George Will
Published 24 days ago by mitch mcdermott
5.0 out of 5 stars George Will has a wonderful way of presenting
I learned about the Wrigley Field history. George Will has a wonderful way of presenting information
Published 24 days ago by Harry Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described and a great value.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Westfall
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for baseball history buffs.
Very good read!
Published 1 month ago by Janet Kniht
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!
Enjoyed this wonderful stroll through America's past time. Loved visiting rickety Wrigley but learned about it here. What fun and lots of laughs. George Will is a gift.
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Blumenthal
5.0 out of 5 stars ... a gift for a baseball fanatic relative who thoroughly enjoyed it.
I bought this as a gift for a baseball fanatic relative who thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by C. Solomon
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