Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life” as Want to Read:
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,012 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
Sports Biography Joe Dimaggio
Hardcover, 546 pages
Published October 17th 2000 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Joe DiMaggio, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Joe DiMaggio

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Geoff Smith
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good biography of a not so very good man, who was, however, a great baseball player. I loved the story about how Joe got MM out of a psych hospital:

For Marilyn this was the worst fear of her life come true, she was locked away like her mother, a prisoner in a loonie bin. After three days, when she was finally permitted one call, she phoned to Florida. she called Joe DiMaggio. He was there the next day, at the Payne Whitney reception desk, six feet, one-and-a-half inches tall, wide at the shoul
Nov 05, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't imagine liking a book about DiMaggio less. He captures none of the magic that made DiMaggio great.
DiMaggio enriched the lives of millions, and acted with grace and with class. No doubt he was a complex person, with faults, and was the product of his environment. This book could have been very interesting and informative to those of us not alive during those years. Instead, we get the hatchet. The book lacks balance, depth and complexity, and was written in a disparaging way.
Jul 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
I really knew nothing specific about Joe DiMaggio coming to this book; just the merest whiff of Marilyn Monroe and that one Simon and Garfunkel song. For me, he fell into that strange category of "great but not particularly interesting" historical figures, even given my personal love of baseball: not as charismatic as Babe Ruth or godlike as Sandy Koufax or as socially relevant as Willie Mays or Jackie Robinson. I'm not sure that I appreciate him any more having read Cramer's book. It isn't that ...more
Tommy Ventre
"A nickel was something to hold on to in Joe's world."

Hats off to Cramer for not falling victim to rosy, mushy sentimentalism when it comes to DiMaggio. So many men of Cramer's age do just that, but the bottom line is that the dude was a paranoid, deranged, cheapskate, abusive asshole. Probably not even worthy of having a journalist the caliber of Cramer write about him, aside from the fact that he really was the best baseball player in history. But this is in no way a baseball book. It's more a
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Stolen from my dad's library, I discovered two things. 1). Joe DiMaggio was kind of a greedy bastard. 2). He really did love Marilyn Monroe. Of course, Marilyn Monroe was what initially drew my attention to this biography. The Marilyn chapters were my favorite. I really did think they loved each other, but it just didn't work out. I loved the fact he put roses on her grave every week until he died. Now that's devotion. That and his phenomenal baseball playing might just redeem him from his gree ...more
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent biography. The only nitpick--and it is a minor one--is that the thirty years between Marilyn Monroe's death and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake are ignored. Reading further, though, let me know everything I needed to know about those years. This as thorough an examination of a somewhat reclusive enigma as you will ever read.

Richard Ben Cramer must be commended for his research. It is clear the author truly loves and admires his subject, but he did not hide the negatives from the read
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans, biography readers
This is certainly a different look at Joe DiMaggio. The athlete who was always considered the epitome of class turned out to be (according to Cramer) a crude, womanizing cheapskate with a very bad temper when crossed. All of which would probably make him not a lot different than the worst of today's professional ballplayers. (It is certainly interesting to speculate how different The Yankee Clipper's legend would have been had he played in today's age of social media and constant press coverage. ...more
Eddy Allen
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Joe DiMaggio was, at every turn, one man we could look at who made us feel good.
In the hard-knuckled thirties, he was the immigrant boy who made it big -- and spurred the New York Yankees to a new era of dynasty. He was Broadway Joe, the icon of elegance, the man who wooed and won Marilyn Monroe -- the most beautiful girl America could dream up.
Joe DiMaggio was a mirror of our best self. And he was also the loneliest hero we ever had.
In this groundbreaking biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning jo
N.N. Light
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all baseball fans and especially Yankee fans
I love this book. I had read it more than a decade ago and chanced upon a copy when on vacation in the summer and had to have it in my collection. This is the unabashed story of Joe DiMaggio. Anyone today who subscribes to the half baked sabermetric approach that DiMaggio is barely a top 20 all time player needs to read this book. DiMaggio drove himself to stardom. In his prime there was no one better at playing baseball. He was an incredible hitter, runner and fielder. His personal life was tro ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a Mantle guy. Always have been, always will be. So my fan-to-athlete relationship with DiMag has always been one of weary side-eye and respect. But, this beautifully written, comprehensive biography has changed all that. I read this book immediately after reading the wonderful Last Boy Mantle bio by Jane Leavy. As great as that book was, The Hero's Life was superior. I enjoyed every aspect of this biography and would actually read it again, which is not something that I say often (especiall ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
  • The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend
  • Cobb: A Biography
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • October 1964
  • Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain
  • Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball
  • The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees
  • Jackie Robinson: A Biography
  • Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero
  • Nice Guys Finish Last
  • The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It
Richard Ben Cramer was an American journalist and writer. He won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1979 for his coverage of the Middle East. His work as a political reporter culminated in What It Takes: The Way to the White House, an account of the 1988 presidential election that is considered one of the seminal journalistic studies of presidential electoral politics.
More about Richard Ben Cramer...