Excerpt from Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Joe DiMaggio

The Hero's Life

by Richard Ben Cramer

Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer X
Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 560 pages
    Sep 2001, 560 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

It went on for months -- Joe and Frank hanging out all day -- until Joe got caught: the school sent a letter home. Joe got a beating from his older brothers. And he was summoned to see the principal, Major Nourse. (No one knew why he was called Major, but the title fit him: he was discipline, first, last, and always.) Tom, the eldest DiMaggio brother, took Joe back to school. But when they got there, Major Nourse wasn't in.

They sat on chairs in the hallway. And they sat.

They sat an hour, an hour and a half. The chairs were hard. They sat.

Finally, Joe said, "Tom. They don't want me."

"Okay," Tom said. They got up and walked out. And that was the last day Joe went to high school.

He promised Tom he'd go to "continuation class" -- the school for dropouts. But Joe never went there either.

For a while, he hung around with Frank -- who was still on the loose -- the school never cared if he came back. But soon, Frank had to go to work. He hooked on -- as much as he could -- at Simmons Bedding, in the steel mill plant. He tied bed rails into bundles and loaded them onto trucks. That was five bucks a day.

Joe tried his hand as a workin' stiff, too. He worked a week or so for Pacific Box, stacking wooden crates, or bringing slats to the men at the nailing machines. The work was stupid, and the money wasn't great -- ten, twelve bucks a week. Joe moved on to the orange juice plant. But that was worse: up to your ass all day in sticky juice, with acid eating into the cuts on your hands. And for what? He didn't even make a full week there.

There wasn't anything that he wanted to do, except to have a few bucks in his pocket -- and avoid his father's boat. He went back to selling papers.

Frank thought maybe Joe could hook on at Simmons Bed. They had jobs there, if you knew someone. And they had a ball team. Maybe they could both play. He would have talked to Joe about it.

But they weren't talking.

After Frank made Joe wait for Piggy on a Bounce, Joe had to take the streetcar downtown -- on his own nickel. After that, Joe wouldn't talk to Frank for a year.

Copyright © 2000 by Richard Ben Cramer

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.