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Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero | [Leigh Montville]

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero

He was one of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend, and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? New York Times best-selling author Leigh Montville delivers an intimate, riveting account of this extraordinary life.
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Publisher's Summary

He was one of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend, and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? New York Times best-selling author Leigh Montville delivers an intimate, riveting account of this extraordinary life.

Still a gangly teenager when he stepped into a Boston Red Sox uniform in 1939, Williams' boisterous personality and penchant for towering home runs earned him adoring admirers (the fans) and venomous critics (the sportswriters). In 1941, the entire country followed Williams' stunning .406 season, a record that has not been touched in over six decades. At the pinnacle of his prime, Williams left Boston to train and serve as a fighter pilot in World War II, missing three full years of baseball. He was back in 1946, dominating the sport alongside teammates Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr.

Ted Willams' personal life was equally colorful. His attraction to women (and their attraction to him) was a constant. He was married and divorced three times, and he fathered two daughters and a son. He was one of corporate America's first modern spokesmen, and he remained, nearly into his eighties, a fiercely devoted fisherman. With his son, John Henry Williams, he devoted his final years to the sports memorabilia business, even as illness overtook him. In death, controversy and public outcry followed Williams, the result of disagreements among his children over the decision to have his body preserved in a cryonics facility; a fate, many argue, Williams never wanted.

With unmatched verve and passion, and drawing upon hundreds of interviews, acclaimed best-selling author Leigh Montville brings to life Ted Williams's superb triumphs, lonely tragedies, and intensely colorful personality, in a biography that is fitting of an American hero and legend.

©2004 Leigh Montville; (P)2004 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Thanks to the author's ability to track down new sources of information, Montville presents a more nuanced portrayal of the baseball star than many previous biographies....An extraordinary glimpse into Williams' complex psyche." (Publishers Weekly)
"Montville...offers a warts-and-all portrait of the Red Sox star but also shows Williams' wit, empathy, intelligence, uncommon loyalty to those he called friends, and unswerving commitment to excellence." (Booklist)
"The strength of Montville's book derives from how Williams emerges from all of this not as victimized but as accountable. It is unlikely that any reader could view Ted Williams just as a ballplayer ever again." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Joseph Sykesville, MD, United States 02-19-05
    Joseph Sykesville, MD, United States 02-19-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Very revealing"

    This book was well worth the time I invested. Having read about him in the fouth grade (about 35 year ago) I knew that he was great, arrogant, and very insecure. But this book taught me many things.

    For instance, I never knew that he had a brother or that he was half-Mexican. (He was the first real Latino Superstar of professional sports.) I also never plumbed the depth to which his son John Henry would go to turn a buck.

    If you can abide the extremely colorful languages (lots of ?F? bombs, and worse!), you will enjoy the book immensely.

    As reprehensible a character as he was, he was just a insecure man with near god-like talent in several areas. Two things you?ll remember from this book are: ?Get a good ball to hit.? And, ?There goes that greatest hitter that ever played the game?.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Milford, CT, USA 07-05-04
    Steve Milford, CT, USA 07-05-04
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    "excellent book on Ted and his amazing life"

    Williams was such a mysterious person, it's great to hear such a well researched and interesting book. Williams was really the first to: have a bench coach as a manager and first to really market himself and his name after his career was over. Not to mention he was the last to hit 400 in a season. What a hitter and what a strange bird. The Narrator's mispronunciation of Filene's is painful. Shouldn't a story like this be read by someone familiar with the Boston area?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Champ Point Clear, AL, USA 06-02-04
    Champ Point Clear, AL, USA 06-02-04
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    "An enjoyable listen for baseball buffs"

    Ted was larger than life and this book captures him. If you like baseball and enjoyed Summer of '49, George Will's baseball stories and the recent bio of Joe DiMaggio then try this one. The reader could have used a coach on Bostonese (e.g., frappe is a milk shake and rhymes with trap and is not prononced frap-pay) and baseball (Bobby Doerr's last name is mispronounced for half of the book, as are other baseball fgures, the plural of RBI should be pronounced RBI's, not RBI) but this is nit-picking in light of the content. The tidbits are intriguing, such as the night DiMaggio, Musial and Williams (just the three of them) spent an evening reminiscing in Williams' Florida home in the early '90's, Ted returning to Fenway after Korea, taking a few practice swings and deciding that home plate was "off"----- a surveying team later discovered it was one inch out of place...... Then there are details about his childhood that illuminate his attitude toward matters of faith and may explain how in the world he could end up with 2 children who who would have him decapitated and immersed upside down in a freezer vault.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Naples, FL, USA 04-25-05
    Tim Naples, FL, USA 04-25-05
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    "Teddy ballgame gets his due."

    Very comprehensive and fair. Williams comes accross as a lovebale yet flawed hero.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 12-29-11
    Karen Apex, NC, United States 12-29-11 Member Since 2001

    I write my reviews under my wife Karen's account. Retired USN Russian linguist/analyst; actor; director; producer. Biography & History focus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ted Williams ... at last!"

    Mr. Montville gives us the Ted Williams we baseball (particularly Red Sox nation) fans have been yearning for - unvarnished, revealing, insightful writing and the usual excellent narration by the peerless Scott Brick make this audiobook a "must-have" for your library. Even if baseball isn't a prime interest, this book offers a fascinating look at one of America's most perplexing personalities. I don't use the word "fascinating" lightly, this title will grip you and draw you in. If you are on the fence about purchasing this, it's ok to get off of it and click the button, you won't regret it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. A. Frank cali 02-02-11
    R. A. Frank cali 02-02-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Chock full of great stories."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of the priceless collection of great stories about this amazing man's life. The narrator sounds exactly like George Noory from "Coast to Coast AM". The writer takes great care to document Ted Williams early career, kind of speeds it up in later years and spends a little too much time talking about fishing. I felt it was a fair and respectful look at one of our National treasures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-12-10
    12-12-10 Member Since 2008
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    "A must for all baseball fans"

    If you like the game or you are a Real baseball fan to your core, you must listen to this book. Ted Williams was one of a kind. The greatest hitter in the game, his relationship with the writers, war hero, crazy family life, his bizarre end, it's all here.

    The author does the research to be the authority on the splinter. It is well written, Scott Brick is a great voice, and what an extraordinary true story. This was one of a kind. Treat yourself baseball fans, you won't be sorry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex AUSTIN, TX, United States 08-18-10
    Alex AUSTIN, TX, United States 08-18-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Job Done Right : Complete and Compelling"

    It was evident that the author wanted this to be done right. It's incredibly complete, from the high school years to the jaw dropping circumstances following his death. The Author admits to being a huge fan at the end, but he doesn't hold back... this is a pure, unfiltered, nonjudgmental account of the life of this fascinating man. For books on legends, you want to hear great stories, quotes, and first hand accounts, and this book has a countless number. The audio book is broken into 3 downloads, each about 6 hours long. The first part delivers on what we want when we pick up the book, his early life with baseball triumphs, and military life. The second focuses more on his personal life, his wives and family, and hits a little bit of a lull. The third part goes into his final years, with a perfect closing and excellent epilogue. Narrator Scott Brick, who I know well from his other books in the Thrillers / Suspense genre, was the right man for the job... nailed it. The book is a bargain, one of the best biographies I have ever read. I can't wait for my kids to be old enough to handle Ted's foul language, so they can read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Cyclone Covey Atlanta, GA 10-09-08
    A. Cyclone Covey Atlanta, GA 10-09-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Fascinating"

    This is a wonderful book on the life of Ted Williams. It covers his whole life and is not limited to the baseball years.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe lexington, KY, United States 06-26-08
    Joe lexington, KY, United States 06-26-08
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    "Magnificent"

    My favorite book is the "Once and Future King" by T.H. White. It's a fictional account that chronicals King Arthur's life from his youth to his death. Montville's non-fiction book does the same with Ted Williams.

    Like the author I have been a Ted Williams fan as long as I can remember. This biography doesn't just give us the bright side of an American Hero, it shows everything from his greatness as a ballplayer, friend and chariable fund raiser to his many flaws. I loved this book. Montville probably has enough stories left to write a sequal. I can't get enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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