Summary and book reviews of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer

Joe DiMaggio

The Hero's Life

by Richard Ben Cramer

Joe DiMaggio
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 560 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2001, 560 pages

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Book Summary

In Cramer's hands, DiMaggio's complicated life becomes the story of America's media machine, the invention of a national celebrity in America, and the ways in which fame can both build and destroy.

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer, here is the definitive story of Joe DiMaggio's life -- the story that DiMaggio never would tell. This groundbreaking biography of DiMaggio -- from his first game with the Yankees in the 1930's through his rise to national hero status, and onto his lonely and mysterious death last year -- reveals startling information about his life, but becomes much more than one man's story. In Cramer's hands, DiMaggio's complicated life becomes, too, the story of America's media machine, the invention of a national celebrity in America, and the ways in which fame can both build and destroy.

Chapter One



Joe DiMaggio sat on the tar of the playground, with his back against the wall on the Powell Street side, his legs cocked in front of him like a couple of pickets. At fifteen, Joe was mostly legs -- leg-bones, more like it -- and a head taller than his friends. It was Niggy Fo who gave him his nickname, Coscilunghi -- that meant "Long-legs" in Sicilian.

All the boys on the North Beach playground had names -- that meant you were in, you belonged there. There was Shabby Minafo and his brother, Bat (he only wanted to bat), and Hungry Geraldi (he could really eat); Friggles Tomei had those fancy feet at second base; Lodigiani they called Dempsey, because he once decked a guy in a fight; and Niggy, of course, got his name for his dark skin. They were always on the playground or on the street. Who had room at home? On this spring afternoon, in 1930, they were playing Piggy on a Bounce -- one guy with a bat, everyone else in the field, and one guy would hit till someone ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

New York Times (Richard Bernstein)

Mr. Cramer gets us through his...narrative in brisk and lively fashion, capturing the beat of mid-century America as he proceeds..DiMaggio, in Mr. Cramer's penetrating and unforgiving illumination of him, is a scowling, calculating and sometimes cruel phantom...[Cramer] has written something more than a definitive revisionist biography of a cultural archetype. [He] has furnished us with a grand American tale....

New York Observer

An ambitious new biography that is worthy of its subject. DiMaggio The Hero's Life may disturb DiMaggio's card-carrying disciples, but it will also bring new acolytes and provoke a fresh examination of a fascinating life, The book is gripping from start to finish, exploring the man, the aura and the interstices between.

Library Journal

This bio from a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist promises to deliver some shockers.

Reader Reviews

Slevovv

Say it ain't so Joe
Being a native of the Bronx and growing up within walking distance of The House That Ruth Built I have always been a Yankee fan. Having been born in 1950 and being conscious of the Yankees at around age 4 "The Mick" was my idol. Having exhausted ...   Read More

Jugs McGraw

Joe DiMaggio: The Heroe's Life is the absolute authority on Joe DiMaggio. If you liked this book, you will also like: Cobb, by Al Stump and Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train, by Henry W. Thomas.

Deborah Elka

Cramer strikes out with poorly researched biography
Richard ben Cramer spent five years chasing Joe Dimaggio-two of those years spent in phone calls and correspondence trying to convince Joe why he should agree to having Cramer cover his life. part of Cramers "pitch" was that Cramer had authored the ...   Read More

Bigzz Johnson

that excerpt sucked. I mean it was absolutely horrible. how could someone that smart write a stupid book like that. it makes me sick to my stomach

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