The Emerald Diamond starts out with a fantastic introduction about the rough-and-tumble world of baseball in the early 20th century. However, the qual...moreThe Emerald Diamond starts out with a fantastic introduction about the rough-and-tumble world of baseball in the early 20th century. However, the quality in that beginning becomes progressively spottier as the page count grows.
Charley Rosen did a great job at writing the book--I can't and won't take that away from him. However, the book proclaims itself to be about how the Irish changed America's national pastime. While this is true in many respects, I feel that a lot of chapters were shoehorned into the book to try fleshing it out. Simple things like anecdotes from games in 1894 can be interesting, but can wear a reader down if they're too frequent or obscure.
Overall, this book tries to be comprehensive in its view of Irish/American and Irish-American baseball, but goes too far. The book--both organizationally and narratively--would have been much better served if Rosen had narrowed his focus down to a few of the most influential people and events in the game and cut the detritus. As it is, the book has a chapter dedicated to the most famous of the Irish managers--people like John McGraw and Connie Mack, but an entire book could be written on any one of these people. But one chapter? It's better than nothing, but surely at least one of the chapters on Irish records could have been truncated to make room for a more interesting survey of some of these great men.(less)
We're lucky to be able to have a book like this in print--two of the greatest players of the last half-century discussing what they do best. The bigge...moreWe're lucky to be able to have a book like this in print--two of the greatest players of the last half-century discussing what they do best. The biggest issue I had with the book is that it didn't seem like Lonnie Wheeler did a very good job trimming the fat. There is a lot of repetition in the book, which leads me to feel that the editor just sat down with the two players and asked questions, then transcribed his recording verbatim. While normally this would be fine, it led to both men giving the same anecdotes or advice several times throughout the book, which just gets tiring after a while. It's a good book, and holds fascinating advice and insights into both sides of the pitcher/batter duel, but ultimately suffers from being a little too padded in spots. Very good book, but you can also tell that the interviewees were tired of the process by the end, so a lot of the content toward the latter part of the book is less interesting. It would have been good if the final chapter--Forty Years of Change--could have been longer, because that was really interesting, but I guess we'll just have to wait for volume two, right?(less)
No disrespect to Alan Schwarz, but I felt The Numbers Game was lacking in that the concept was unique and interesting, but the writing was hackneyed and wooden. Like Schwarz was really excited by the concept, but that excitement got lost when he put pen to paper. As a result, it's hard for me as a reader to get excited about it.
Another issue I found with this was the style Schwarz adopted: describing a person who's important to the topic, but an unknown to everyone else. Then he sets off their name with a colon and ends a section or a chapter. I like to call this the Ken Burns method. It goes something like this. "Then in 2004, a book finally did come out, and the author would go down as one of the foremost compilers of nonsensical statistical errata: his name was Alan Schwarz." Used prudently, this can be an effective tool in a writer's toolbox. But when you use it as much as Schwarz does, it grows tired very quickly.
Alan Schwarz is a good writer—you can see that from the myriad pieces he's written and the wide readership his articles enjoy. But I don't think the transition from short-form to long-form writing agreed with him all that well. The writing is lackluster and full of cliche. Although each chapter taken in a vacuum might read well, the book taken as a whole is left wanting.(less)
A lot of people that don't pay much attention to baseball might think the modern steroids scandals are one of the worst things that ever hit the game....moreA lot of people that don't pay much attention to baseball might think the modern steroids scandals are one of the worst things that ever hit the game. Although people that argue this point might not know it, but the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 went so far as to nearly destroy the game in its professional, organized form.
The book Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series is a meticulously researched volume, and is probably one of the finest pieces of what is now known as "narrative nonfiction." Essentially, it's a book that, while nonfiction, reads like a novel. All the players are fleshed out as interesting people, and the events (convoluted though they are) are laid out in a way that makes them fairly easy to understand. Your heart breaks for the players who got pulled into this scheme against their better judgement, and who subsequently lost their livelihood and the game they loved. All these men could probably be in the hall of fame now but for this episode that nearly destroyed everything they cared about.
The book is laid out in a fairly linear fashion, going through each stage of the process of throwing the 1919 World Series to the Reds, and the exposure, trial and aftermath that came after. It also sheds a light on some of the lesser-known movers and shakers that took advantage of everyone in the loop to line their own pockets and let others take the fall.
Not only is this an extremely well-written book, it's made all the more tragic when you know the results. I can heartily endorse this book to anyone who is interested in the history of baseball or sports, but doesn't know quite everything about the situation they might want. Even those who know fairly well what happened nearly 100 years ago would do well to pick this book up--it's full of new information about one of the darkest events in baseball history, and can easily earn a spot in any fan's book collection.(less)
Sue Johnson has cred in that she actually practiced what she is preaching in this book. Granted, it's from the other side of the counselor's office, but she offers stories about how the process helped people get over the problems they were facing and begin drawing together as a couple so they could move forward with life and deal with challenges effectively.
I found this book to be quite well-written in addition to having great content. I'd not only recommend it to anyone having a hard time with their relationship, but even anyone who is just having a hard time relating to the other person. Or if you're the one that's having trouble being related to. Basically, it's a book for everyone.(less)