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Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember Hardcover – May 1, 2008
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*Starred Review* Emulating the format of the Kunhardts’ Lincoln: An Illustrated Biography (1992), this volume, with nearly 1,000 illustrations, depicts the 60 years of commemoration following Lincoln’s death in 1865. As explained by historian David Herbert Donald (Lincoln, 1995), little information that is now second nature in Lincoln biographies was publicly known in 1865; consequently, this fascinating work can be appreciated for its presentation of the revelations about Lincoln’s life. Pivotal to these pioneering efforts was the research and biographies by Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon, and by his secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay, who aspired to write definitive portraits. Their publishing efforts, and those of other Lincoln associates, interweave with the Kunhardts’ accounts of other forms assumed by Lincoln celebration, encompassing collections of artifacts, commissions of statues and monuments, birthday observances (culminating in the 1909 centennial), and, most important historically, the fate of his political legacy of preserving the Union and ending slavery. The last, with the failure of Reconstruction to achieve legal equality for blacks, supplies a dampening contrast to the otherwise exalting trajectory taken by Lincoln’s memorializers, the authors making a pointed comparison between a 1908 anti-black riot in Lincoln’s hometown and Springfieldians’ staging of a whites-only centennial banquet scant months later. An engrossing invitation to scrutinize its every page and image, the Kunhardts’ work is sure to be one of the most popular books in the bicentennial effusion of Lincoln volumes. --Gilbert Taylor
"As always, Feinstein guides readers into a world with which fans have only surface familiarity, revealing in the process multiple substrata of nuance and meaning. Baseball fans who read this wonderful book will come away with a deeper understanding of the game in addition to having encountered a pair of fascinating men who just happen to play a game for a living." (Booklist (starred review))
"When Feinstein gets [Glavine and Mussina] talking about the art of pitching, the book comes alive." (New York Daily News David Hinckley)
"An absorbing read. Feinstein takes a pair of opinionated veterans and picks their brains all season about the art of pitching, also relying on the thoughts of teammates, coaches, managers and families to present well-rounded, intimate portraits....What makes the book so engaging is that each pitcher faced adversity during the season, creating unexpected drama that helped give an edge to Feinstein's narrative.....another excellent story, told by one of sports' best storytellers." (Tampa Tribune Bob D?Angelo)
"Strong on human drama-both players come across as noble, bloodied warriors...Feinstein captures [Mussina and Glavine] artfully." (Washington Post Book World Allen Barra)
"Feinstein achieves a double play fans should savor for its scrupulous look at what life is like for the 21st-century major leaguer." (Christian Science Monitor Erik Spanberg)
"This one's about the pitchers Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina, but it is really about the art of pitching and the poetry of baseball. Which is the whole point. Really good sports writing--and no, that's not an oxymoron, like "military music." (Bloomberg.com David M. Shribman)
Top customer reviews
Glavine posts a 13-8 record for the Mets while registering his 300th career win. The Mets choke down the stretch, blowing a 7-game lead with 16 to play. Mussina goes 11-6 for the Yankees, who capture the wild card and lose to the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs.
Although I'm sure author John Feinstein would have preferred for the Mets and Yankees to have met in the World Series, or at least advanced farther in the playoffs, the book still delivers.
Feinstein devotes the first 125 pages to the careers of Glavine and Mussina prior to the 2007 season. I found that part of the book more interesting than I would have thought, particularly since I was fairly familiar with the careers of both players.
Feinstein's discussion of spring training pitching philosophy and workout routines is the best I've read.
Glavine and Mussina share a number of traits: They're intellectual, physically talented, reliable, push themselves to keep improving and constantly make adjustments.
Living on the Black gives readers a better appreciation of pitching and its challenges. You will better understand a pitcher's psyche, frustrations and ups and downs. The value each pitcher puts on his family also comes through strongly.
As Glavine pursues his 300th career win, Mussina attempts to deal with being dropped from the Yankees rotation after not missing a start in 498 turns.
Feinstein is as smooth a writer as Glavine and Mussina are pitchers. Despite its 500-plus pages, the book never lags. And, you don't have to be a Mets or Yankees fan to enjoy this book.
Nice idea but could have been accomplished in about 75 pages. I learned more about Tom Glavine's divorce and re-marriage than about the perspective of a starting pitcher.
Other than those things, this book was fantastic, giving timely insight into what goes on in the pitchers' minds throughout the season. I highly recommend it for any fan of Moose, Glavine, the Mets or Yanks, or any baseball fan in general.
Most recent customer reviews
He cranks out good sports books with regularity.Read more