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Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top Hardcover – July 1, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The soap opera that is the Boston Red Sox is in full bloom in Mnookin's (Hard Times) tale about how the organization coalesced to finally bring Red Sox Nation its first world championship since 1918. After reviewing the dismal bigoted history of Boston—it was the last team to integrate, in 1959, and somehow managed to snub both Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays—Mnookin, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, explains how the sale of the Sox to a group led by John Henry resulted in changing the direction of the franchise. And like a true soap opera, this one is filled with heroes and villains. There are the ballplayers (Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Curt Schilling) and the executives (owner Henry, CEO Larry Lucchino and GM Theo Epstein). There are the intangibles like Fenway Park—to stay or not to stay, that is one of the questions—and the highly opinionated sportswriters of Boston, Peter Gammons, Dan O'Shaughnessy and the late Will McDonough. There is enough inside stuff here to send the average Red Sox fan into baseball ecstasy—and put the rest of the baseball world into a coma. Part Money Ball, part Ball Four and all Red Sox, this title was written for one audience—Red Sox Nation—and they will love it. (July 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A rare glimpse into baseball's inner sanctum." -- Steve Almond, Los Angeles Times

"A Moneyball-style triumph of smart management over conventional wisdom and a redemptive story of athletic success as an expression of inner strength." -- Lev Grossman, Time

"A revealing . . . account that should engage even readers with little attachment to Red Sox Nation." -- Mark Hyman, BusinessWeek --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743286812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743286817
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In general, I enjoyed this book; Seth Mnookin is a good writer, if a little bland, and the book flowed nicely. But it had plenty of problems. Let's make a list:

The Good

1)It's easy to understand, even if you don't know too much about baseball. I consider myself an avid Red Sox fan and a baseball connoisseur, so explanations of ERA and batting average bored me, but it does make the book more inclusive to a wider audience. It also includes a brief history of the team for those that are less familiar with it.

2)There are plenty of entertaining anecdotes and side stories in here. The sections on Nomar are particularly well-done. I now have more background information on the Red Sox ownership troika than I would have ever thought possible. What an interesting group of people.

3)The section on the sale of the team would make a new book in and of itself, and is very well-done and interesting, providing you have a rudimentary understanding of economics and finance. If you don't, or hate numbers, prepare to be bored silly and skip about 75 pages.

4)There is a lot of new information on the process that brought about the Schilling trade. I found the tale of Jed Hoyer's ugly Thanksgiving stomach virus to be two of the funniest paragraphs in the whole book, though I'm sure Jed would disagree.

5)And, of course, the famous Epstein/Lucchino rift is very well-documented and traced, to the point that I found myself getting frustrated with the characters for not noticing that Theo was acting increasingly bizarre and doing something about it months earlier. If Mnookin noticed, somebody else should have. A very nice job leading into the final explosion.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I was 10 in 1967 when I first joined "The Nation," and your summaries of games of the past is spot on, including things I remember and things I had completely forgotten about. Reading Feeding the Monster was like reading about your immediate family, with parts you want to relive and parts that are painful to think about. I read it through so quickly because I couldn't wait to find out what happened in every chapter, even though I obviously already knew the final results. Then I went back and read it more slowly and savored every page. I'm glad the book sets the record straight for a lot of us about what happened with the team historically, the sale of the team to John Henry, and what goes on now behind closed doors most of us could have never hoped to open. I've never read anything that had such amazing details about a team's makeup, about player negotiations, and about the pressures of playing (and working) in sports (or in Boston). I've also never read such poetic descriptions (and intimate details) about what goes on on the field and how the players do what they do. The chapters on David Ortiz are worth it in and of themselves. I'd recommend it not just to Red Sox fans but to baseball fans, people who want to learn about American business, and people interested in social history. Even Yankees fans will enjoy it.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading all of the hype about this book, I was prepared to be disappointed. Between all the reviews and articles, I thought I had read all of the revelations. I was totally wrong and I've never had a perspective like this one. I've read many, many books about the sport and have never read anything that combined management and ownership and players and the on-field aspect like this one. I think it's probably something I'll go back and read repeatedly as time goes on, like "9 Innings" and "Moneyball" and "Ball Four" combined into one.

Because people are so passionate about the Red Sox and about baseball I suspect there will be lots of different reactions to the book. Already it seems to have angered those who think they're the only "true" fans. Take the review in the Globe, where the writer (a host of a sports show) said he would prefer to remain ignorant (his words, not mine) about what actually happens in the game, or one of the reviews here written by Bill Nowlin, who has written many, many books of his own about the Red Sox (eight since 2004 alone). He makes fun of the title but doesn't say he's good friends with Rob Neyer and took part in research for Neyer's book. He also says this book made a mistake by saying Kevin Youkilis was on the World Series roster, but Youkilis was indeed on the roster, replacing Ramiro Mendoza, who'd proven himself utterly worthless in the ALCS.

I think that's to be expected when writing about baseball and the Red Sox. People feel very strongly about both, regardless of what else is going on in the world. I wasted many hours of my life reading all of the books that came out after the 2004 World Series, and this is one that finally looks at the whole history of the last six years while giving you the behind-the-scenes access and the beauty of the game. If you want to know anything about either baseball or the Red Sox this may be the best book produced in the past ten years, and may be one of the best baseball books ever.
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Format: Hardcover
My husband brought this book home and I could not have been less excited: I'm a Cardinals fan (married to a Yankees fan, which is hard), and I didn't think I ever wanted to think (or read) about the 2004 World Series again. Then I started reading the introduction and felt this was the most amazing book about baseball ever written. It's poetic, gripping, and full of juicy information and so knowledgable and detailed at the same time. The two of us fought over it at night - and neither of us would have expected to read it (or enjoy it!) when we started. Some of the statistical information will seem common sense to fans (like explaining batting average) and some will seem obscure (like talking about "defensive metrics") but that's a tiny thing in a majestic book. I loved it!
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