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Red Sox Rule: Terry Francona and Boston’s Rise to Dominance Hardcover – March 25, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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About the Author

MICHAEL HOLLEY is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Patriot Reign, Never Give Up (with Tedy Bruschi), and Red Sox Rule. He was a Boston Globe sportswriter for ten years, and he is the cohost of The Big Show on Boston sports radio station WEEI. Holley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; First Edition edition (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061458546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061458545
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,569,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After two World Series championships in four seasons, it's hard to reach back into the days of reversing the curse. It seems like something that our grandfathers had to deal with. In fact, the subject never comes up any more.

Instead, Jordan's Furniture came on the air to announce yesterday that if the Red Sox win the World Series in four straight in 2008 you will be reimbursed for your furniture purchases. It sounds crazy, but in 2004 and 2007 the Red Sox won in sweeps.

As I write this, the Red Sox are behind against the A's in Tokyo. Dice-K is all the rage and left with a no-decision.

I picked up Red Sox Rule to help get me into the mood for the new season. I was pleasantly surprised to learn new things about Terry Francona, Boston's championship manager. His job interview with Theo Epstein (the young GM) included two examinations! I also didn't know much about Francona's career as a player . . . nor his experience as manager of the Phillies.

When Francona was selected, I couldn't figure out why anyone would have chosen him. Having seen his work from the bench, I've been impressed by his heart, his discipline, his even-keeled personality, and his defense of the players. Francona is the right manager for Boston.

I had also forgotten that Francona had been Michael Jordan's manager while MJ was a baseball player. It was good to be reminded.

Those are the highlights of the book. Most of the rest is filler.

I found several aspects of the book to be disappointing:

1. The 2004 season is ignored.

2. The 2007 season is described too briefly.

3. You don't get much of a sense about how Francona combines old school instinct and new school statistics although Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are very few books about the recent history of the Red Sox that I consider must-haves. This book, unfortunately, is not one of them. It took me an hour to barrel through: I am normally a really fast reader, but this book just didn't have much substance. The best parts were the autobiographical sections about Terry Francona as a child and early in his baseball career, periods I really didn't know much about. His pulmonary embolism episode was also a gripping read, and I found the description of his managerial interview with the Sox really fascinating. The rest of the book felt really rushed. As a previous reviewer noted, there was very little on the actual process of managing a game, and the glossing over of the 2004 playoffs and several other memorable episodes, such as Theo Epstein's resignation, was troubling. I also wanted a lot more on the 2007 playoffs instead of some quick summaries at the end. It made me think that Holley just didn't want to take the time to write all of it thoroughly so he could get it out before the 2008 season. Well, he was successful at that, but the price is unsophisticated, incomplete writing that will frustrate many fans and bore others.

Buy this book for the sections on Terry Francona's life, which are indeed very good, and don't expect 200 pages of meat. It's a solid book and an easy read, but hard core fans probably won't be satisfied and I didn't feel I got my money's worth.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Michael Holley writes a book that seems unclear as to what it is trying to do. Is it trying to profile the new dynasty of the Red Sox as the title suggests or is it trying to show what type of management style works best in baseball as the work suggest or is it trying to do something else? I find this book to oftentimes be muddled and confusing as to what it is trying to do exactly. I agree with a lot of the other criticism that the book lacks focus and also seems to lack a frame other then when it suites the immediate need of the story

I also find interesting that Holley managed to write this book without hardly a mention of Curt Schilling. Schilling is in there when discussing Terry Francona in Philadelphia and of course when he pitches in the playoffs, but other than that there is hardly a mention of him.
All in all I think Red Sox fans will enjoy this book but in my mind it provides very little insight into the team.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read countless books on baseball, covering everything from the 1919 Black Sox scandal to right this minute - and this book makes my top five. I found myself canceling plans to read it - and I put it away in two days and was sad to be done.

Baseball makes great fodder for writers because the sport is so inherently nuanced - and yet too often writers try too hard and overdo it, lapsing into cliche and clumsily zapping all the magic.

Not Holley. His writing is brilliantly, poetically restrained, letting the rich and riveting facts and analysis shine through. What results is a truly shaded portrayal of a truly compelling man. A digestible read that is not forgotten once the final page is turned. A book that is eminently informative - but also subtly moving.

I learned things I never knew about my favorite team, about Terry Francona, and about managing in baseball generally. But this provocative work also left me thinking about life, love, the passage of time. Just like the sport itself.

Kudos to Michael Holley, whose work I have long admired, for this satisfying addition to the canon of great sports writing.
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