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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth Paperback – May 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767919718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767919715
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this day of overamped salaries, statistics, and physiques, it's useful to be reminded of the singular talent and impact Babe Ruth brought to baseball during his career (1914-35). He owned most of the hitting records for decades, including single-season and career home runs--and all this during the "dead ball" era. Even now, the baseball fan can only be awed by what Ruth accomplished, not to mention the adulation he engendered. And if Robert Creamer's highly readable Babe (1974) is still the benchmark biography, Montville (Ted Williams, 2004) brings fresh observations to his subject, one being that Ruth probably suffered from attention-deficit disorder, which accounts for his inexhaustible energy for everything from baseball to food to alcohol to sex, not necessarily in that order. And in his vivid account of the years Ruth spent at St. Mary's orphanage in Baltimore, Montville gives readers the measure of what made the man. Montville has also carefully sifted the factual from the hearsay, leaving us with a volume that's reliable, readable, and deserving of a place in the sports or American culture collection. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A comprehensive look at a gargantuan life.” —People
“Montville is refreshingly nonjudgmental about his superstar subject.  First-rate biography.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Crisp analogies and astute observations, combined with a fluid writing style, are Leigh Montville’s strengths in this definitive biography of the Splendid Splinter.  Montville’s writing is rich and full, like a Ted Williams swing.  He connects solidly. A raw, no-holds-barred view of [Williams’s] life.” —Tampa Tribune
“An engaging, fascinating read.” —San Diego Tribune

Ted Williams is not only a first-rate sports biography, but also a first-rate biography, period.” —Baltimore Sun

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Customer Reviews

I'd highly recommend it to any baseball fan.
Javan W. Rasnake
And the book is especially good and insightful at giving a portrait of the times--the public and private side of life in the 1920s and 1930s.
Thomas Wolf
One really gets to know the real Babe Ruth by reading this.
Joseph Stiger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Craig VINE VOICE on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It takes some nerve to write a biography of Ruth, given that there are already 20+ books in which he's the main focus. However, Montville has done more than find a niche in a crowded field - he has written what should be remembered as one of the best, most comprehensive, and authoritative biographies of baseball's biggest legend.

From the beginning, Montville makes it clear that he's not going to fall into the trap of speculating about Babe's early days, a trap into which too many biographers tend to fall. The opening chapter deals with his time before the famous years he spent at St. Mary's in a creative but no-nonsense manner that sets the tone for the rest of the book.

As he did in his biography of Ted Williams, Montville has done exhaustive research to find voices from Ruth's day, in an effort to create a full picture of that era. He freely discusses past efforts at chronicling Ruth, praising especially Creamer's book, the one to which I would compare this effort. He knows he's not breaking a lot of new ground, and he has obviously done his work about what has already been written.

The book is comprehensive without being boring or overlong, and even those already knowledgable about Ruth's outsized life will likely still learn something. Montville's writing is crisp, and the pages move very quickly for a biography.

This is an oustanding biography worthy of its subject, one that will be enjoyed by even those who aren't normally fans of baseball. Ruth was much bigger than the game, and I think this book will appeal to more than just diehard fans. Montville is now batting a perfect 2-for-2 when it comes to chronicling the biggest names in the game.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Big Mike on May 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After reading Robert Creamer's wonderful biography of The Babe, I didn't truly believe that there would be another one that would ever even approach it. However, Leigh Montville has written and researched a book that comes very close to at least equaling it. Apparently, it was also based upon some recently discovered sources such as letters, etc. There are also many wonderful photographs, some rarely seen or published before in any form.

For anyone who really loves baseball and The Babe, any new material or facts or photos of the legendary, one-and-only Bambino all combine to make The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth a must have for any fan of Babe Ruth, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and baseball itself. Highly recommended!!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Leigh Montville provided us with the definitive biography of Ted Williams, and has now provided us with another masterpiece on Babe Ruth. I have several biographies of Ruth, but this one is the best. Montville does a wonderful job in describing how a crude individual from the city of Baltimore's St. Mary's Industrial School who was denied many things in his younger years was like a beagle turned loose in a swamp when he got out on his own to become a baseball player. The nocturnal delights of the big city were beckoning Ruth to burn the candle at both ends. Oh, but what a wonderful glow! Marriage proved to be a failure for Ruth since he didn't have the self discipline to live up to the vows. The trade to the Yankees to begin the 1920 season provided The Babe with more of the nighttime prowling he enjoyed, but the statistics he garnered proved he was in a league of his own in regard to battering a baseball. The 1925 season was a low point for Ruth as he fought with manager Miller Huggins, and was out of shape due to his off the field activities. He turned over a new leaf to start the 1926 season, and with Lou Gehrig now batting behind him Ruth had his best years still ahead of him. Montville does a masterful job describing the sad decline of Ruth in his post baseball life when no job opened up to him of any consequence with the Yankees or with any other team. Hunting, fishing, bowling, and golf were his passions once his baseball career was over, but he never lost his longing to return to the diamond in a meaningful capacity. That chance, however, never came. The Babe was only 53 when he died on August 16, 1948. On page 355 the author lists Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson as the first inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame in addition to Ruth.Read more ›
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Guy F. Airey on March 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you like historical accounts of baseball, this is a must read for you. There are accounts in this book about the most famous player to ever hit, Babe Ruth, that will make you wonder how he even survived to become the legend he did. Babe Ruth did not get a "cookie cutter" road to becoming the great hitter he became. IN His first years of professional baseball he was taunted, harassed, and insulted by virtually every possible means available to the other players. His nickname cannot even be mentioned in this review because it was so terrible. He was set up and fell for every trick in the book, and was the [...] of every joke because he was so innocent (in those ways of the world). In this book, you learn about the "young man" who becomes a legend, dispite the mean and cruel way he is treated. This young man, from St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys was freed by a Jack Dunn, a baseball guy from Baltimore. Ruth could hit as well as he could pitch. No one really explains where these talents ever develop, but the book mentions this legend (Ruth) as being extremely crude and racially motivated by anything that moved. Far from a gentleman, and never caring about it anyway, gradually he becomes recognized as one of the greatest hitters of all time. This initiation, into a most popular sport in the world's biggest city, turns out to be exactly what he needs to be molded into the world's greatest player. Babe Ruth knew how to live life in and out of baseball. He took everything everyone threw at him, and somehow became the greatest of the greats. This is an amazing tale of how a great one is made through saw dust and blade cutting, unlike say that of Joe D or Mickey. Ruth took all the pot shots, and learned to fire them right back. Nothing got to him, nothing. You have got to read this book, it is fantastic!!!! 10 stars. guyairey
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