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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,030 ratings  ·  74 reviews
He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sp ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2006)
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Steven Peterson
This is a riveting biography of the life of Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, the Big Bam (one nom de guerre that I had never heard before). The author uses notes from a series of researchers, a number of whom wrote their own biographies of Babe Ruth. Hence, he appears to have a rich vein of material from which to mine nuggets on the life of Babe Ruth.

The focus of the book (page 5): "This book is an attempt to tell the story again for the Sports Center generation. . . . The approach is not so much
Jason Koivu
Good choice if you need a concise bio on the Babe. Compact and streamlined, The Big Bam covers his entire life in as much detail as the casual baseball fan needs. Biography buffs will want something that digs deeper into his personal life, while rabid baseball fans will desire more in depth analysis about his career, and for those in the middle with little-to-no knowledge of the man beyond the basics that everyone and their grandma already knows, this will be just right.
Dave Gaston
A credible and focused recap of all that has been written and researched on the Babe. However, I fault Montville for not going much beyond his main character. He briefly colors his myopic biography with local events but fails to tell the social science study of why Ruth became so much more in the eyes of a troubled nation (War, Depression, etc.) I bet he described the infamous infidelity of Ruth 500 times... but alas, no details. If you are going to be preoccupied by a character flaw, dive into ...more
The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth is a very interesting book which talks all about the beautiful life of Babe Ruth. It goes in depth about how Babe Ruth suddenly arose to fame in the 1920’s and how that era started being called The Roaring Twenties. The book follows Ruth from his younger days when he was in the orphanage and includes the first time he ever played baseball with his friends and hit a homerun. Then it goes on to his early days with the Red Sox when he was a very young bu ...more
I never had any particular interest in Babe Ruth, and thought of him as "just a baseball player". Reading this book gave me a whole new perspective and an incredible amount of respect for Ruth's accomplishments. He led a life of excess in all departments (alcohol, women, gambling), yet still delivered on the baseball diamond, year after year. Ruth was such a great all-round athlete that in 1933 he pitched a complete game for the Yankees (and won), almost two decades after he first entered the ma ...more
I love these kids of biographies about the old sports heroes of long ago. the Big Bam----obviously about Babe Ruth----was very well-researched and written. the author did a great job of humanizing a guy who, over the years, has taken on an almost myth-like status. Ruth was a very good ball player---pitcher as well as the hitter he was most known for. He came from humble beginnings and worked his way to the top of his profession. On one hand he was always that kid who was plucked out of that scho ...more
Andy Miller
The author, Leigh Montville, starts this biography of Babe Ruth by describing at length the spate of biographies written about Babe Ruth in the mid seventies almost apologetically foreshadowing that his biography will not have anything new to add aside from at times a quirky narrative. One quirk that grew more irritating as the book went on was his repeated references to the "fog" that surrounds much of Ruth's life, anytime Montville discussed an interesting part of Ruth's life, he would end by ...more
In the mid-1990’s while on an extended vacation to New York City one of the places I made the pilgrimage to was the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The HOF is an amazing place to be sure but the stand out moment and the memory that has stuck with to this day was when I weaved my way through the museum to Babe Ruth’s display or should I say room.

I’m a confirmed Non-Yankee Fan but the instant I walked into the room with Ruth’s memorabilia my mouth fell open in awe and goose
carl  theaker

In our elementary school classroom we had a collection of the
orange bound biographies, on presidents, inventors, explorers, patriots.
The only marking on the memorable covers was the name. Among the
several I read, one was labeled 'Babe Ruth'. The next year or so in
fourth grade, despite misgivings from the librarian, I checked out a
grownup bio on the Babe. Well, she was right it was too tough for me
to get through it.

My Mom & Dad had stories and opinions on the Babe, though they would
have onl
Tyler Jones
Like many people my age who only follow baseball casually, my knowledge of the life and times of Babe Ruth is fuzzy. I knew he was a pitcher with the Red Sox before going to the Yankees. I had heard the story of the kid in the hospital that he promised to hit a home run for, as well as the story of him pointing to the bleachers with his bat just before smashing a homerun to that spot during the World Series - but I had no idea if either story was true. Of course I knew he was the dominate player ...more
Riveting. If Ruth wasn't bigger than life, he certainly was bigger than baseball. It's strange, because he was a regular guy, loaded with vices and LOUD about them. The writer's back then didn't look to destroy him as they would today. Rather they wrote their stories with the sordid details missing, and the readers were left to fill in the blanks. The readers did so, and the Babe's life became a tapestry of myth, legend, and fact.

And by the way, for all the Tiger Woods, Micheal Jordan, and other
Big Bam
366 Pages

Babe Ruth was a unknown person, with people not knowing about his life and even his existence... until he got to the high school. This was a big step in Babe "Big Bam" Ruth's life. He went from a mediocre St. Mary's baseball player to a starting Boston Red Sox Pitcher and then a Batter (Because of his talent and all-around skills).

Babe was such a great all-around baseball player that he threw a No-Hitter and hit 30 Home-runs in the same year! He was the Miguel Cabrera of his tim
Aug 29, 2007 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: baseball fans
***Finished*** The book indeed picked up around page 170 (of 400+ pages). I can't figure out why it took so long to heat up - there wasn't a lot of information about Ruth's formative years, so maybe that's it. Or, perhaps I just liked reading about the glory years of Ruth alongside Gehrig and hearing about what baseball was like in the Great Depression. The most frustrating part of this biography was the lack of, well, biographical info. Ruth rarely talked about his past, his family life, etc. R ...more
Leah (packfan20)
Though I'm a big baseball fan, I don't know too much about Babe Ruth. I had no idea he started as a pitcher! The man was quite the ball player!

That being said, he really wasn't that nice of a guy. I wonder why authors want to write books and books and books about people just because they are famous. There really wasn't much to like about Babe Ruth. I haven't read anything else about him but this book was filled with holes in his life. The author more often than not said "this area of his life is
Jeff Dickison
Good biography of Babe that doesn't pull very many punches. It paints him as he was, a gambler, a womanizer, an overgrown kid. The author doesn't treat his women (his two wivers, his two adoptive daughters) with kid gloves. He gives a great description of Babe early in the book: A kid with a 15-year old mind that never grew up. Fascinating.
The thing I take from a book like this is while Babe Ruth may have been a little over the top during his playing days, he is a sympathetic figure in a lot of ways. He was a boy without a family, raised in a school for "wayward boys", and then thrust into the spotlight as the nation's greatest baseball player. For all the money he made as a player, the revenues he generated was much greater than that. All he wanted to do was show that he could manage in the majors, and like much of his career, he ...more
Baseball's most Legendary Athlete explodes from the pages...A Biography that captures the Complete Story...from Ruth's Hard Scrabble days as an orphan thru his meteoric rise as perhaps the most iconic Figure in the Game of Baseball....Truth eclipses Fiction as the story comes alive thru a thorough exploration of the Man, Myth, and Legend...The headlines everyone has come to be familair with...PLUS a behind the scenes exploration into his Vices; and those hidden commentaries regarding the REAL re ...more
This is a superior book about one of the most famous sports figures of the last 100 years in America: Babe Ruth. The author tries to dispel the fog surrounding many details of the Babe's life, especially his early years. Also, there is a great deal about the media developing in the 1st half of the 20th Century from simple reports of each game, to the practice of reporters travelling with teams, to players submitting ghost-written articles, to the beginning of radio, and finally the televising of ...more
Bill Glover
Do the opposite of what your health teacher told you and become an American Icon. Or, orphans had nothing much to do outside playing baseball.
Donald Gallinger
Leigh Montville's The Big Bam is an exhaustively researched book on the life and times of Babe Ruth. Even for the non-sports fan, this book reads like the best of fiction, with a huge personality at its center and a fascinating exploration of how that personality influenced a generation of post war Americans. Entertaining and informative, Montville never shirks from probing into the faults and flaws of this iconic athlete. The book's triumph is in its evocation of supreme glory fading away with ...more
Jacen Call
Nov 14, 2013 Jacen Call rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: friends and baseball players
Recommended to Jacen by: my brother nate
This book is good for anyone who likes sports books, or baseball in general. This book is for a more mature reader because there is vulgar language in some of the chapters. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I personally loved this book but I could get a little board at times. the author of this book is Leigh Montville, this book has 366 pages, and 23 chapters. I would recommend this book to any one of my friends, but anyone who doesn't get or is not interested in sports trivia I would p ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans
A great book for any baseball fan that wants to see Babe Ruth as he really was, a philandering, carousing, gluttonous hedonist, who was the center of the public eye during a time that the press ignored the personal flaws of public figures. Yet in spite of all this, his love of the game, his impact on the game, and his immense ability and devotion to the game, somehow transcends his many flaws, and he emerges as a loveable if not admirable individual, most certainly the most talented man to ever ...more
An informative look at the life of the Babe and some insights to the character of the country at the time. I love Montville in general, but after reading this book I felt I still didn't have a connection with who Babe Ruth really was. There was a lot of information about him, but it felt more like a picture being put together rather than a real feel for what was in the Babe's head. This is a limitation of the information available, I think, rather than the writer.
Apr 19, 2010 Charles added it
Shelves: q3
this book was great. its about the best baseball player who ever lied and practically own yankee stadium. this book show you how his life was when he was young until he became a pro baseball player. he was a ery bad kid who always got into trouble and he didnt really care about school. babe ruth also created the yankees redsoxs rival because at first he was a redsox and then the yankees signed him so ruth became a yankee. really good book
Babe Ruth, like Ty Cobb, is one of the best and most interesting baseball players of all times. This is a very detailed account of his life. In fact, I could have taken a little less of the baseball details, but I loved the personal stuff on him. His earlier life is very sketchy, but that is because it's not really known. Records were not great at that time and it seems if the Babe chose not to remember his earlier life.
Dec 19, 2012 Sean rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sports
One of the best bios I've read in recent years, about a fascinating man. The "Big Bam" was one of those true "rags-to-riches" figures, from Baltimore orphanage to one of the greatest sports figures in American history. Even though I knew how it would end, my heart still hurt when reading about his early death that had nothing to do with all the excesses he'd indulged in. I'll now look around for other Montville titles.
May 07, 2009 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a servicable biography of the Babe
Bill "Spaceman" Lee has always spoken well of Leigh Montville, but not having great access to the Boston press, my exposure to him has been limited to his Ted Williams biography, which I flat out could not get into. He does a better job here, but, except for using the word "fog" over and over again, adds nothing to Creamer's definitive work. It is engaging and well written. Maybe I'll give the Williams bio another go.
I'm a little obsessed with Babe Ruth. I think he's clearly the US's greatest athlete, and I love learning about the myth of his career. There are so many amazing antidotes and this book does a great job of sharing a few. It also does a very good job of giving as much insight into the Babe's childhood and family as is possible from the evidence we have but not taking liberty to suppose what we don't really know.
Interesting subject, but the author spends a lot of time telling what we DON'T know, and kind of skips over his own conclusions in an... well, an inconclusive manner. A frustrating book.
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Leigh Montville is a highly respected sportswriter, columnist and author. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.Montville is married to Diane Foster and has two children. He lives in Massachusetts and is an ardent supporter of the Boston Red Sox.
More about Leigh Montville...
Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero Evel The Mysterious Montague: A True Tale of Hollywood, Golf, and Armed Robbery At the Altar of Speed: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of Dale Earnhardt The Best American Sports Writing 2009

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