In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history?
Winding beautifully like Wrigley's iconic ivy, Will's meditation on "The Friendly Confines" examines both the unforgettable stories that forged the field's legend and the larger-than-life characters - from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks - who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs' future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility.
In the end, A Nice Little Place on the North Side is more than just the history of a ballpark. It is the story of Chicago, of baseball, and of America itself.
©2014 George Will (P)2014 Random House Audio
"George Will on baseball. Perfect." (Los Angeles Times)
George Will has written a pleasant little collection of ramblings about Wrigley Field and its longtime tenants, the Cubs. Its target audience is devoted fans like me. Why Mr. Will didn't take five minutes to consult with the narrator, Mark Deakins, on how to pronounce the names of Lee Elia, Moises Alou, Elvin Tappe and others is hard to fathom. The ignorance of the narrator kept getting in the way of my enjoyment of this book, and made certain sections, like the description of the Alou/Bartman incident just cringe-worthy. George Will, are you listening?
Not a great book but a pleasant diversion for baseball fans especially those who have sacrificed a few brain cells for Heilemann-doused Cubs games. Will is always fun to read and his love of baseball (and Wrigley and the Cubs) is clear and dominant.
The narration was pretty good but the narrator doesn't know enough about baseball to know how to pronounce Sutter (he pronounced it how it looks) or Alou (whom he called "A-lo-oo").
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