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A Failure on All Counts
on August 21, 2013
I was so excited to get this book, especially after all the reviews from the nation's top book reviewers which promised that it was one of the best books about baseball...an insightful look at a legendary manager...an appealing portrait of a likable, hard-working man...a lively chronicle...compelling... fascinating reading...and Joe Torre was billed as the author. What an utter disappointment and loss of credibility those book reviewers have suffered in my opinion.
This book is appallingly bad. It was not written by Joe Torre. Mr. Verducci adds quotes from him from time to time but they are not well integrated with the material, but only seem to have been added because Mr. Torre's name is on the book. Mr. Verducci doesn't write particularly well, although he goes on and on and on. The entire 512 pages are more like reading sports news clips patched together without much thought beyond catchy chapter titles. There is no real theme to the book, no insight or chronicle, much less an appealing portrait, of Mr. Torre. I know no more about him after having read this than I knew before...and I have to admit that the choice of quotes does nothing to give a favorable impression of Mr. Torre. I've always had a sense of him as thoughtful and wise but this book certainly didn't paint him as either...but I suspect that's the result of sticking in a quote on a topic instead of actually exploring the issues being discussed. The book was far from compelling--I only finished it--and it was the hardest read I've ever had--because I couldn't believe that all those reviewers had it so wrong. I kept hoping that the next page would bring a glimmer of what they promised but it never did. One of the chapters is titled "Broken Trust" and frankly, that's how I feel about this book--the reviewers, the publisher (Doubleday), Mr. Torre and Mr. Verducci have all broken the trust with readers. I hope they are at least enjoying some laughs on the way to the bank.