A passionate and dramatic account of a year in the life of a city, when baseball and crime reigned supreme, and when several remarkable figures emerged to steer New York clear of one of its most harrowing periods.
By early 1977, the metropolis was in the grip of hysteria caused by a murderer dubbed “Son of Sam”. And on a sweltering night in July, a citywide power outage touched off an orgy of looting and arson that led to the largest mass arrest in New York’s history. As the turbulent year wore on, the city became absorbed in two epic battles: the fight between Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo for the city’s mayoralty. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts - one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city - was the subtext of race. The brash and confident Jackson took every black myth and threw it back in white America’s face. Meanwhile, Koch and Cuomo ran bitterly negative campaigns that played upon urbanites’ fears of soaring crime and falling municipal budgets.
These braided stories tell the history of a year that saw the opening of Studio 54, the evolution of punk rock, and the dawning of modern SoHo. As the pragmatist Koch defeated the visionary Cuomo and as Reggie Jackson finally rescued a team racked with dissension,1977 became a year of survival but also of hope.
©2005 Jonathan Mahler (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
“Masterful.... In Mahler’s expert hands, the city’s outsized citizens are flawed, fierce, bickersome, and as indomitable as the metropolis itself.” (Mike Sokolove, author of The Ticket Out)
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This is a good memory of NYC as it really was in 1977. I remember driving through the Bronx many times on my way to park by Yankee Stadium and walk across the track by the park on my way in never knowing if my car would be there when I returned! Sitting in the box seats smelling the weed being smoked throughout the stadium and watching Reggie, Billy and Munson go at it. I was oblivious about Son of Sam at the time which would have made me think twice now about what I did and where I went. The ConEd part was very interesting when they talked about the blackout.... Glad I was not there then! It was a very good book which was more history than baseball but very well done.
It portrayed the true times.
The film was made already but without the politics of the time.
Possibly, but with a different narrator.
Someone who can pronounce the word "American" (he says "Amaaaaarican" about a thousand times throughout the book and it drove me crazy). Plus he and/or his editor did a poor job, as he mispronounced a few names or just plain mis-read a few things (Vitas Gerulaitis, Kool Herc, etc).
The chapters on the mayoral race grew tiresome. Should have spent more time on the culture of the city (art, music, etc) and how it affected the mood of the time.
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