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Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry Between the Yankees and Red Sox, From the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse Paperback – May 9, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
of history and the present is well done and kept me interested throughout. Recommended for fans of either team. Entertaining and informative.
The main negatives I saw in the book were a slightly overdramatic prose style (he uses a lot more words than necessary, and certainly tends to overstate things) and some factual errors (for example: he states the Pedro threatened to hit Posada in the head during Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, which was an inaccuracy stated by Tim McCarver on the air but later proven inaccurate). Still, for any fan of either side of the rivalry, even those who have been around a while, I recommend this book.
What got me interested in purchasing this book to begin with was hearing the audio version on Book Radio (SiriusXM). I realized that if it could capture my attention (not a baseball fan), then it would surely pull fans in who can truly appreciate the rivalry between these two teams.
Vaccaro does a very good job of that. While reading this book, it's easy to forget that he's a writer for a NY newspaper. That's saying something. The only problem with the book? It's fewer than 400 pages, and tries to cover 100 years worth of history. It can't be done. It can't be done in the sort of detail one might like. So, when you need to skim over history like that, you stick to the basics. Many of the stories were familiar to me. Which, I suppose, is a credit to Vaccaro that I still enjoyed the book. He didn't use a chronological retelling, and made it work. He shifted back and forth through history telling similar stories that happened over the years. It really showed how the rivalry was really one big story. It was a great read.
For example, most takes of this rivalry include a focus on the Red Sox being "cursed" and the Yankees winning all their titles in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. This book, though, only touches on the games actually played between the two warring clubs (e.g. I don't believe Bill Buckner is discussed at all in the text, besides in a passing reference). Whether it is the beginning of the rivalry in 1904 (with the New York Highlanders playing the Boston Beaneaters), the heated games of the late 1940s and mid-70s, or the jump-start in 2003-2004, Vaccaro's ability to keep his focus on just the two teams led to the unearthing of some information that was new to me (or at least I hadn't remembered in a very long time).
Of course, "Emperors and Idiots" spends the requisite time focusing on the '03 and '04 seasons and playoffs, which is a topic that can be read over and over by baseball fans and never really get old or stale. Sure, there is some talk of "ghosts" and "curses" and such things, but they play second-fiddle to what the book really tries to do: Try to understand the New York/Boston rivalry from the perspective of the fans, the front offices, and the players.
Until reading this book, the co-authored text "Faithful" (Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan) was what I considered to be the authority on this subject...but that really only told the story from the die-hard Sox fan's perspective. This book gives equal time to each side in its quest to try and understand why the rivalry is perhaps the greatest in the history of sports.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rented this on CD as a part of a long road trip. While giving SOME new insight, this is more like a summary of boxscores turned into a book. Read morePublished on September 22, 2009 by Bryan Geruntho
Took almost 4 weeks to receive these two books that I ordered. Missed being able to give one as a birthday gift, due to the lateness.Published on August 29, 2009 by K. Fowler
A must read for diehard followers of The Rivalry--Yankees vs. Red Sox. An entertaining compilation of the observations and emotions from the point-of-view of various fans on both... Read morePublished on April 3, 2008 by Joseph Gregorio
Enjoyed listening to EMPERORS AND IDIOTS by Mike Vaccaro,
the story of the 100 year Yankee-Red Sox rivalry . . . Read more
Author Vaccaro obviously did a careful demographic study and then sat down with his accountants and decided to cash in on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Read morePublished on April 15, 2005 by Pumpsie Greenberg