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This review is from: Stan Musial: An American Life (Hardcover)
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Vescey's new book on Stan Musial is not so much a linear biography as it is a mosaic of The Man's life and times. It initially shuttles back and forth in time and place, laying a tile here and a tile there for the first 50 or so pages before settling into a more or less chronological order as it presents its snapshots from Musial's life.
Closely following on the heels of last year's Stan the Man: The Life and Times of Stan Musial, which I have not read, it seems more interested in building upon interest in this amazing, but often overlooked giant of the game than in opening any new windows into his life. As a ballplayer, he had few equals. As a man, Musial comes across as decent, gracious, thoughtful and kind - both on the field and in his life off, and after, it. He comes off as almost entirely admirable. There are only vague hints at any real complexity to the man. Virtually everyone speaks highly of him, often repeatedly.
This makes for a terrifically rewarding real life, but as the subject of 300+ pages, it makes for a rather two-dimensional companion. It is a difficult task for an author: to paraphrase (poorly), all happy families are alike; all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. As a personality, Musial seems to have been admirable, but after a while, not all that interesting.
It makes for a conundrum of sorts for the reviewer, too. Certainly the book is interestingly put together - the mosaic style keeps it lively. It is well-written and well-researched. Along those lines, Musial is the rare sports star who is attended by nary of whiff of scandal or controversy - the sort of man who recognized his stature in the game while recognizing that he played a game. We could all aspire to be more like him in many ways.
He just isn't all that fascinating to read about past the first 200 pages. What a world...