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The Last Boy

Cover of The Last Boy

The Last Boy

Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
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Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than...More
Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than...More
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Description-
  • Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle's life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of a luminous and illustrious talent with an achingly damaged soul.

    Meticulously reported and elegantly written, The Last Boy is a baseball tapestry that weaves together episodes from the author's weekend with The Mick in Atlantic City, where she interviewed her hero in 1983, after he was banned from baseball, with reminiscences from friends and family of the boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, who would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League's Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth's home run crown in the summer of 1961—the same boy who would never grow up.

    As she did so memorably in her biography of Sandy Koufax, Jane Leavy transcends the hyperbole of hero worship to reveal the man behind the coast-to-coast smile, who grappled with a wrenching childhood, crippling injuries, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. In The Last Boy she chronicles her search to find out more about the person he was and, given what she discovers, to explain his mystifying hold on a generation of baseball fans, who were seduced by that lopsided, gap-toothed grin. It is an uncommon biography, with literary overtones: not only a portrait of an icon, but an investigation of memory itself. How long was the Tape Measure Home Run? Did Mantle swing the same way right-handed and left-handed? What really happened to his knee in the 1951 World Series? What happened to the red-haired, freckle-faced boy known back home as Mickey Charles?

    "I believe in memory, not memorabilia," Leavy writes in her preface. But in The Last Boy, she discovers that what we remember of our heroes—and even what they remember of themselves—is only where the story begins.

About the Author-
  • Jane Leavy is an award-winning former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post and the author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax and the comic novel Squeeze Play, called "the best novel ever written about baseball" by Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Leavy chooses 20 days in Mantle's sublime career to profile the '50s icon who was on par with Elvis in his fame and the adoration of his fans. Leavy herself provides an outstanding narration of the preface. Narrator John Bedford Lloyd handles the remaining text commendably. His Southern accent makes Mantle appealing, real, and human. Major and minor characters are distinctive, sometimes funny, and always believable. Joe DiMaggio, in particular, is revealed as unlikable and blatantly jealous of Mantle. The combination of Mantle's talent and self-destructiveness is poignant. The behavior of his teammates toward him, loyal and enabling, is both disturbing and moving. This is a biography that lends itself perfectly to being told. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
Jane Leavy
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