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Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,969 ratings  ·  224 reviews
Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. In his twenty-seven years of managing, ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published April 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bob Schmitz
I like sports but have never been a follower of baseball. It has seemed boring to me. In my one year as a 9 year old little leaguer I would sit down in the outfield because nothing was happening. Baseball lovers have contradicted me on this opinion and this book settles the question once and for all not in my favor. I had no idea how complex, complicated, subtle the game was. 3 Nights in August chronicles a 3 game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs sometimes pitch by pit ...more
Zach Herman
Buzz Bissinger is a tremendously unlikable author, and Tony La Russa is an equally unlikable baseball manager. But somehow, Bissinger's book about La Russa is likable -- or, at least, entertaining enough to fill the afternoons of a chilly offseason.

The buzz upon its release pegged "Three Nights" as a fawning tribute to La Russa's tactical and philosophical genius, but this is not a hagiography. Bissinger clearly admires La Russa and agrees with most of his old-school baseball principles, but he
I give this 4 stars because the stars are about subjective reaction and I enjoyed reading it. On the other hand, I can definitely see you getting less mileage out of this book if aren't a fan of LaRussa, the Cardinals, or baseball, or even if you know a lot about the game. I also don't see this as having much staying power over time.

That being said, I think I would describe this book as "effectively wild" a term he uses to describe Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood. There are plenty of overwritten sentenc
Jason Phillips
You should buy this book for what it is, and not for what many of these reviews say it is. It is not anti-Moneyball, it is an insiders look at a baseball game in the context of the baseball world and the career of one man, Tony LaRussa. Sabermaniacs have brought a deeper understanding of baseball to the layperson, and have challenged conventional thinking about our great game. This book does not set out to refute ther tenets of sabermetrics, in fact, Moneyball is mentioned only three times in 27 ...more
If you are (as I am) a Cubs fan, this book won't be much fun to read. And yet, although I'm sure part of my dissatisfaction with this book stems from the fact that it's an unabashed shrine to Tony La Russa and all things Cardinal, I think we what really bugged me about it was how blatantly biased it is. Certainly, La Russa is a great manager. Any Cubs fan will agree. The problem here, though, is that the author is so genuinely in the tank for La Russa that every move described in the book frames ...more
Before the glossing over of Tony La Russa's reputation inevitably takes place when he is enshrined in Cooperstown, it is important to note that he was perhaps the most polarizing manager in baseball during his career (with Dusty Baker also being a strong candidate in my mind).

3 Nights in August chronicles a 2003 Cardinals-Cubs series near the end of the season. However, the book does not solely focus on those three games, as it also chronicles La Russa's career with the Carlton Fisk and Tom Seav
Tony LaRussa is one of the greatest managers in the history of Major League Baseball. This book offers a unique glimpse into the mind of a baseball genius.

"Buzz" Bissinger, the author of the football classic turned box office hit "Friday Night Lights", follows TLR and my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, around during a series against the much-maligned Chicago Cubs towards the end of the Cardinals extremely disappointing 2003 season.

I admit that I am totally biased in giving this book fiv
Willie Deuel
I finally got around to reading this great book. The subtitle, "Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Mamager" is surprisingly accurate. The reader gets a great behind-the-scenes look at baseball strategy and the decision-making processes of a baseball manager who has to deal with player injuries, egos, temperaments, strengths, vulnerabilities, and even tragedies.

As a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I already had emotional ties to many of the events described in this book. I remember watc
Jack Cheng
I am not a "Sports Guy" although I like to read good sports books (I guess that makes me a "Book Guy"). I loved Friday Night Lights, the book written by Bissinger, and decided I was a fan of his writing. Then I read his admission that he is addicted to buying Gucci leather goods ( and I decided he is deranged.

Three Nights in August is about a three game series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs in 2003. It began as a collaboration with Ca
Robert Ballinger
The author’s purpose of writing this book was to show how hard it is to coach and be a family person at the same time. This author wants to show how Tony La Russa saw the game through his eyes during their 3 game series against the Chicago Cubs. The author also wants to portray the strategy, heartbreak, and the joy inside the mind of a manager and show what kind of hard decisions he has to make to win baseball games.
What was the theme of 3 Nights In August? The theme of this book was to show y
Corbin Tullis
I think the purpose for Buzz Bissinger writing this book is to help us understand what happened during the series of the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals in 2003. Bissinger describes the series through the eyes of St Louis Cardinals manager Tony Larussa.

There are many themes to this book. One common theme in this book is strategy. Tony Larussa is probably the best strategist that the game of baseball has ever seen. The Cardinals and Larussa needed a great strategy to beat the Cubs in this cr
Joshua Jacobson
This was a fantastic read. It was made even more fantastic because I started reading it within minutes of putting down "Moneyball." This is a great contrast to "Moneyball" in that it focuses much more on the beautity and historic love of baseball. It's about players and managers and how they go about their daily lives in the game. Just a great read about classic baseball.
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in baseball. As a Cardinals fan I loved it. I really understand much better what the role of a manager is. I don't think that someone who doesn't care for baseball would enjoy it, but I think that even a casual fan would get a lot out of it. Buzz Bissinger's style is easy to follow and entertaining to read.
Somehow this book was on my books to read list. I am not a baseball fan, but the author's writing was engaging enough for me to finish the book. The book is about Tony LaRussa, the manager at the time of the St. Louis Cardinals. The book details the three game series between the Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs in 2003. The book gave me a better understanding of baseball, and a respect for intricate strategies and the complex study of statistics used in each game. I learned about the importance of ...more
A must-read for anyone who considers themselves a real baseball fan, especially if they followed the game closely in 2003.
I've always been a Cardinals fan, dating back to when my dad took me to games when I was still in my single digits. I lost interest in college and only started wearing a Cardinals hat because I had moved to Chicago after college. I figured that I'd have to know my stuff if I was going to parade around in THE rivals' cap. This book not only got me back into baseball, it taught me about the intricacies of the game, the countless decisions that need to be made in a game, and the unique, computer-li ...more
Beautiful. Just beautiful baseball.
Matt Fitz
I've grown up a Cardinals fan since the 70s and my fondest memories of the sport all center around the Cardinals, through the Whitey Herzog era, the Torre Era and the LaRussa years. All great eras in baseball for different reasons.

That's my bias on this book. If you are not a Cards fan, you'll have wished it was another team. If you want to learn some of the "inside baseball" aspects of actual inside baseball, this is a great look into the mind of one of it's greatest...a true baseball man who r
Sam Perlin
Dec 18, 2013 Sam Perlin marked it as to-read
Nights in August, by Buzz Bissinger, is a fantastic book based on a very tough series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. I’m a huge Cardinals fan, which is the main reason I loved this book, but one of the other reasons I loved this book is because it connects with me. I’m a pitcher, every pitcher wants to know how fast they’re currently throwing. Its just a common thing throughout all pitchers. Bissinger quoted, “La Russa once ordered the speed section of the scoreboard juiced ...more
I'm a lifelong Cubs fan, which means that I can't really be objective here, but that clearly didn't stop Bissinger, so why should I let it stop me? He's obviously in the bag for LaRussa, which ... well, it is LaRussa's book, so I can't really fault him too much. And yet. It's almost as though Bissinger is throwing his bias in the reader's face, daring us to call him on it. The players he doesn't like, be they Cubs, or just lazy slacker spoiled athletes, are drawn with all the subtlety of Snidely ...more
Rob Kirbach
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a true behind the scenes book, Bissinger had great access to Tony LaRussa and did an excellent job of telling the story of the 3 game series against the Cubs by interweaving a back story for the key situations that happened in the actual game. It was neat to hear the story of a reliever coming in from the bullpen in a close game when you knew the context in which he was coming in (his previous struggles in his career, the season, at home and against particular opponents).

The most inter
William Johnson
Mar 24, 2012 William Johnson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers who read in spurts, baseball fans
This one is a weird one. It took me well over a month to finish this and I took about two long 'not even touching this' breaks during the process to read other things but not because of a lack of interest.

The book isn't exactly long (not even 300 pages), nor is it tedious. Compared to John Feinstein's atrociously dull 'Living on the Black' (of which I read 310 pages and had to stop), Three Nights in August is very fun and quick paced.

But those expecting a page-turning, focused masterpiece like B
Buzz Bissinger's writing nears poetic at times during Three Nights in August; I'm not surprised he won the Pulitzer. I appreciate his brutal truths of the cost of baseball for Tony La Russa and although he is a legend in the baseball world, he has far too many regrets and lapses at home.

The way he analyzes, or some may say over-analyzes, the match-ups such as between Pujols and Prior is remarkable. But even better is the depth he goes into Cardinal recent history and analyzes La Russa players (
Bissinger takes sports writing up a notch. Yes, you can see the typical sports metaphors mixed in here, but there are more erudite ones as well. I enjoyed the stories, but was a bit surprised at how Bissinger jumped around. Some at bats are described in incredible detail over the three game series, while sometimes whole innings are mentioned in a sentence. And a lot of the text is about events that happened prior to the games in focus. While I understand writing some background stories, my only ...more
Bissinger's book, "3 Nights in August," about the Cubs-Cardinals series in 2003 give some clues to his mindset after being hit in the head, using Sammy Sosa as an example:


"When the Cards faced him in May, it was pretty clear to Duncan and Mason, watching the DVD on him, that he was going through something. He was flinching on curve balls as if he were afraid he might get hit, and he began to develop a sizable hole in his swing on pitches down and aw
I'm just not a fan of Bissinger - his writing is so over the top, and it sure doesn't seem intentional. His affection for La Russa is nauseating, and while he intends to make a case for the importance of the manager's job in baseball (often dismissed, compared to the lead role in other sports) I found that his storytelling here had the opposite effect on me. There are a million different ways to position your outfielders? Really? Well, this might be literally true if you're measuring inches, but ...more
I read Friday Night Lights and liked it. Since Alan is such a fan of baseball, I wanted to learn a bit more.

I listened to this book, which ended up being tough. As I don't know enough about baseball or the players, it was really hard for me to follow what they were talking about and who the people were.

For example, there was a section that talked a lot about the strategy of a "hit and run." To me this just sounded like trying to get a single. Alan was able to add some additional detail.

I also
Adam N.
Three Nights in August
A baseball book
Is baseball really more than a game? Well in the book Three Nights in August you will learn all about it. The author of the book is Buzz Bissinger. The genre of this nook is informational. This story takes place in 2005 right in the heart of the season at the new Busch Stadium. Some of the main characters are the manager of the Cubs, Dusty Baker and the manager of the Cardinals, Tony LaRussa. This book takes you through the joy heartbreak and strategy of a ma
Matt Mccutchan
I found the book 3 Nights in August, by Buzz Bissinger to be very good. Buzz Bissinger was the perfect person to write this book about the manager of the St. Louis, Tony La Russa. He has written books about different people and La Russa called Bissinger because he wanted him to write the book. They based the book on a three game series in August, but also had a lot more background. Bissinger had permission to go in the club house and talk with all the players during this three game series. He go ...more
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H.G. Bissinger has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the National Headliner Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel for his reporting. The author has written for the television series NYPD Blue and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in Philadelphia.
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“Because Cards' fans are the most knowledgeable and loyal in all of baseball, they booed almost reluctantly, polite as booing goes, what would have passes as a standing ovation in Philly.” 4 likes
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