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Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BRONX IS BURNING

and other Notable Reads      


The time is circa 1977. The place is New York City. The subject matter – as articulated in the book’s sub-title: “Baseball, Politics and the Battle for the Soul of a City.” The read is just terrific.

Published by Farrar. Straus. Giroux, priced at $25.00, running a hefty 358 pages, Jonathan Mahler’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BRONX IS BURNING” is an important book, a riveting read about a pivotal time in the history of New York City splayed out against the backdrop of such as Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, a much more rambunctious George Steinbrenner, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, John Lindsay, Bella Abzug, Son of Sam, the Blackout, and a president of the United States named Ford uttering that manic and odious phrase to the city and millions of dwellers: “Drop dead!.”

As a native New Yorker who lived (and suffered through that time) and the co-author of “It Happened in Manhattan,” a lot of what Mahler chooses to focus on is well remembered.

There is the emerging gay scene with all its energy, Plato’s Retreat, punk rock, Studio 54, the looting and arson during the Con Ed blackout 25 hour power failure.

There are those who say you had to be there - Jonathan Mahler was not there. He moved to New York City in 1990. But he may as well have been there – as he is a master in evoking that time and place. Lots of baseball, lots of urbanology!

“The Baseball Rookies Encyclopedia” by David Nemec and Dave Zeman ( Brassey’s, $24.95, 386) is a long overdue guide to most things one would want to know about first year major leaguers. Stats, trivia and narrative merge nicely. Also from Brassey’s is Floyd Conner’s “Baseball’s Most Wanted” ($12.95, 388 pages) – an oddball catalog of the baseball weird. And finally from Brassey’s “The Masters” by David Sowell ($17.95, 288 pages) is an entertaining and insightful history of America’s golf classic.

“Cubs Nation” by Gene Wojciechowski (Doubleday, $22.95, 417 pages) is a day-by-day account of the 2004 season. The author virtually took up residence at Wrigley and spoke to the “Nation” from top to bottom. Highly recommended (of course) for fans of the Cubbies.

 

HIGHLY NOTABLE: "Memories of a Ballplayer" by Bill Werber and C. Paul Rogers III (Cushing-Malloy, 241 pages) as one sage noted is "an exciting collection of anecdotes that will compel you from from start to finish; close your eyes and you will think you are in a time machine."

The ballplayer in the title is Bill Werber, and he wanders down through the baseball he experienced in the late 20s, through the 1930s and early 1940s with the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants.

Probably the last person to have contact with the '27 Yanks, Werber talks about that time, the characters he met, the magical moments he had as a top third baseman in that long ago era.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
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on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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