Allen Barra sets out to write a definitive biography of the Yankee great, covering his upbringing in an Italian family in St. Louis, his Navy service, and his stellar career. It seems the author's goal is to convince listeners that Berra is the greatest catcher of all time and that he is much smarter than his reputation and "Yogi-isms" would lead one to believe. Norman Dietz gives voices to Berra's teammates, mostly through simple inflections. His two best voices are, thankfully, those of Berra and his manager, Casey Stengal. Berra is given an endearing incredulous pitch, which makes his statements sound like questions. Stengal has a likable crusty voice. After listening, fans will find it hard to argue Barra's assertion of Yogi's greatness.
In this revelatory biography, Allen Barra presents Yogi's remarkable life as never seen before, from his childhood in "Dago Hill," the Italian-American neighborhood in St. Louis; to his leading role on the 1949-1953 Yankees, the only team to win five consecutive World Series; to the travails of the 1964 pennant race; through his epic battles and final peace with George Steinbrenner.
This biography, replete with countless "Yogi-isms," offers hilarious insights into many of baseball's greatest moments. From calling Don Larsen's perfect game to managing the 1973 "You Gotta Believe" New York Mets, Yogi's life and career are a virtual cutaway view of our national pastime in the 20th century.
©2009 Allen Barra; (P)2009 Tantor
Started off interesting enough, filled with those personal little items we like to hear about our heros. Then little by little the book transitioned into a composite of laborious articles that could be summarized off the N.Y. Times micro-fiche archives, to ensure that you have been completely mired in an inescapable world of boredom. The author then brings out his 60+ year collection of baseball almanacs gleaning out every statistic pertaining to a generation of catchers that ever played the game of baseball.
Being a masochist, I forged on; it just kills me to flush a good hard earned credit down the toilet.
The author is correct; Yogi BERRA is one of Americas most quoted and fascinating sports figures, I doubt if Allen BARRA will become one of Americas most published authors. Pitifully lacking in personal information, jam packed with publically available information juxtaposed with Yogis last name and the authors leaves me with a stomach full of skepticism regarding this book.
Either I have been scammed or the publisher should be looking for a new editor.
I bought the book as part of a research project. I was very glad I had a lot of other things to do while listening to it. For a true baseball enthusiast, it would probably have higher appeal.
However, the author prefaces the book by saying that there was no comprehensive Yogi Berra biography, and he hoped to rectify that problem.
There is some excellent background material about Berra. There are references to his home life as a boy and as a father with his own home. Some of the baseball stories are exciting and interesting -- even for a person who is not into sports.
But other parts of the book included long lists of statistics, and the chronology wandered around, focusing more on personalities than on an orderly presentation of events.
The readers performance of various voices is excellent, and his reading of the statistics proves that the right reader can make even a telephone directory interesting.
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