©1994 Nicholas Dawidoff (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
I only discovered this book after someone shared a short article about Moe Berg and I decided I wanted to know "Moe".
Another review complained about the incessant interruption of baseball statistics, but I found that to be pertinent in describing Berg's career ups and downs. Plus, I love statistics as any real fan does. But, honestly, they are neither a distraction nor overwhelming for even a novice fan of the game.
Where the other review did get the book right was the later half. Although I didn't stop listening nor was I tempted, the entire last half of the book focused on the rest of Berg's life; the part that wasn't about Baseball or Espionage. Berg lived a life of a Vagabond after WWII, living off the good will of others who thoroughly enjoyed his company and stories. However, the book becomes rather dull, much like Berg's repetitious stories that became tiresome after hearing it over and over again. For that, the story received a four star rating from me.
The first half of the book is really the heart and soul of this story. Regardless of the veracity of Moe's anecdotes as well as his proficiency as a baseball player, this is an inimitable tale of an eccentric, yet interesting person.
When I saw this book, just the title made me intrigued, and the premise sounded really fascinating, so I purchased it, to my regret. I wasted too many hours listening to this book.
The main problem is that the author goes into way too many details that are completely unnecessary. I really didn't need to know, or frankly care to know, Moe Berg's box scores for each and every game he caught in his long baseball career! Fortunately, he didn't play very often, so I didn't have to muddle through hundreds of games.
I stuck with the book, hoping the section on his work for the OSS would be more interesting, but I was disappointed yet again. Once again, the author made a fascinating subject become extremely boring!
This topic has so much potential to become a really interesting book! Moe Berg actually went to law school at the same time that he was playing catcher in Major League Baseball! His nickname to everyone was "The Professor," and he was very brilliant. Periodically, I saw so many areas where I thought the book would have done well to expand on, only to find it making another abrupt turn back to the box scores of his games. The section on the OSS could have been really interesting too, but once again, the author was too interested in including every single detail, which overwhelmed and drowned out the interesting parts.
I finally gave up on the book about 3/4 of the way through it, and I almost never give up on a book! I gave the story 2 stars just because there were things that I thought were interesting, but I'm not sure that it really deserves even those, sad to say!
If you are interested in Moe Berg, this is a great book. Just throw out the last chapter with all of its psychological belittling of Mr. Berg.
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