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This review is from: George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire (Hardcover)
The author Peter Golenbock is a well known author and should be totally embarrassed with the shoddy final product presented here covering the life of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Any potential reader that is a true sports fan... and not just a dilettante... will find it hard to relax and enjoy this book, as error after glaring error is perpetrated regarding historical facts... locations... and times. As the reader wades through early blunders... even the roughest critics can cast them aside and continue. But as the pages turn and the missteps accumulate it creates a reading atmosphere akin to "a-dog-that's-been-hit-too-much". You find yourself wondering how much of the non-verifiable conversations and situations are not valid either. What makes this literary release so shameful is that in addition to the question of what type of individual proof-read this book... is that with today's infinite amount of data available at your fingertips... so much of these mistakes could be caught with a quick internet inquiry. It isn't like the old days where you would need a roomful of people reading day and night.

*A few shameful examples*

The author says George spent six weeks in basic training at Lackland Air Force base in Houston.

INCORRECT: Lackland AFB is in San Antonio. I know I served there.

The author states that "Hopalong" Cassady of Ohio State won the Heisman Trophy TWICE, in 1954 and 1955.

INCORRECT: He did NOT win the Heisman in 1954, only 1955.

The author states that a trade made that included Roger Maris and Hoyt Wilhelm resulted in both of them making the Hall Of Fame.

INCORRECT: Roger Maris is NOT in the Hall Of Fame.

The author states that Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees for $100,000.00 in cash plus other considerations.

INCORRECT: Babe Ruth was sold for $125,000.00 plus other considerations.

The author says the Yankees won the 1959 American League Pennant.

INCORRECT: The Chicago White Sox won the 1959 American League Pennant and then lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The author says Thurman Munson died in September 1979.

INCORRECT: He died in August 1979.

The author says the 1984 Detroit Tigers who started off the season 35 and 5 were led by pitcher Denny McLain.

INCORRECT: Denny McLain retired after the 1972 season.

The author says that Dallas Green as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies won a pennant and World Series in 1981.

INCORRECT: The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 1981.

This is just some of the incorrect information provided in this book. As the reader becomes apprehensive about the facts being purveyed... perhaps the two most interesting "non-George" segments of the book are the "PREFACE" in which the author details the synergistic chain of events that led him from his goal of being a lawyer... to becoming a published author... which was all started by a "punch in the face by a mugger in the deserted Rahway, New Jersey, train station, and a few days later, in the elevator of the New York University law library, I had a seizure that knocked me out and put me in the hospital." This led to a Forrest Gump like culmination to the author he is today. The second extremely interesting "non-George" character study is that of the Yankee president during the CBS ownership days.... Michael Burke who among other things "ONCE DRANK BOURBON WITH ERNEST HEMINGWAY AFTER PARACHUTING INTO PARIS TWO WEEKS AFTER D-DAY"... and also had war experience in the OSS that was so intriguing that the movie "CLOAK AND DAGGER" was made based on his exploits.

The rest of the book ranges from the expected love-hate relationship between George and his Father... the lies... to almost everyone that crossed his path... his hiring's and firings... wins and losses... his legal problems included... but not limited to... illegal campaign contributions and lying to the federal government... and more lies... but by the half-way mark of the book... there are already so many incorrect statements that you just don't care as much as you did... when you first started.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 5, 2009 12:24:05 PM PDT
I agree that this book is riddled with errorsw which was surprising given the author's prior books. In addition to those listed earlier. Mickey Mantle did not retire in 1967 but 1968. The Denny McClain mistake was a shocker. The book has a feel of being rushed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2009 11:36:50 PM PDT
The end result of this embarrassing product is the feeling the author and publisher wanted a quick monetary score. Get a nice cover picture and layout... a catch-phrase to hook the potential reader... and then no pride... no research... try to slip unverified and incorrect historical data past a percentage of the gullible public .... And as I mentioned there were more mistakes that I didn't list because it was like adding insult to injury and you said it perfect... the exact way I also felt half-way through: When you wrote:

"the number of glaring mistakes were very disappointing. I found myself looking for mistakes rather then enjoying the book. The plethora of errors made the book feel like it was rushed to production or perhaps that a non-baseball person did some of the writing."

And with all the verifiable mistakes you find yourself not staking any credence in the supposed non-verifiable conversations.

Posted on May 12, 2009 3:07:19 PM PDT
You would think the publisher would have hired an editor or a fact-checker. This must be the way that publishers are cutting costs. Too bad because I remember reading Golenbock's Bronx Zoo in 1979 and loving it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2009 3:38:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2009 3:56:09 PM PDT
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Posted on May 12, 2009 6:36:50 PM PDT
Thank you. I completely agree. The book is a disgrace.

Posted on Jul 11, 2009 1:54:36 PM PDT
Catseyepub says:
Just read this book ....what a disgrace...yes, after a while I kept reading it just to discover the next error the author would come up with.

It's a shame since he did such good work years ago, books that I still own such as Balls and Bronx Zoo.

I remember hearing of a fictionalized book he wrote recently regarding Mantle, and some of the crap in that book was trash.
This George book just adds the list of poor work he has done recently and especially in an age where folks can verify info via the internet, he goes ahead and releases a book full of errors, errors that any baseball fan could pick up on. Makes you question the whole damn book.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 8, 2009 1:22:34 PM PDT
Shame on the proof reading and editing dept!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2009 4:17:27 PM PST
Eric Paddon says:
It doesn't surprise me there'd be a lot of bad proofreading because this book is the ultimately lazy exercise by a writer in that all Golenbock is doing is recycling his 1993 book on Billy Martin almost unchanged but for a few variations here and there. This is to account for why the bulk majority of the book covers the pre-Joe Torre period of Yankee history which is the time when writers were forced to reassess their early 1990s views of Steinbrenner and his value to the Yankees. Golenbock was one of those writers who staked his professional reputation on the thesis that Steinbrenner was to blame for every misfortune that happened to the Yankees and that bad managing decisions by Billy Martin etc. were all George's fault etc. etc. and that the Yankees above all would NEVER win again so long as Steinbrenner owned the time. Times have changed, but Golenbock hasn't and thus we have to get the same bromides over again as if this is still 1993 and the Yankee resurgence hasn't happened.
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