• Terror in the City of Champions

  • Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit
  • By: Tom Stanton
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (40 ratings)

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Terror in the City of Champions

By: Tom Stanton
Narrated by: Johnny Heller
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Publisher's Summary

Detroit, mid-1930s: In a city abuzz over its unrivaled sports success, gun-loving baseball fan Dayton Dean became ensnared in the nefarious and deadly Black Legion. The secretive, Klan-like group was executing a wicked plan of terror, murdering enemies, flogging associates, and contemplating armed rebellion. The Legion boasted tens of thousands of members across the Midwest, among them politicians and prominent citizens - even, possibly, a beloved athlete.

Terror in the City of Champions opens with the arrival of Mickey Cochrane, a fiery baseball star who roused the Great Depression's hardest-hit city by leading the Tigers to the 1934 pennant. A year later he guided the team to its first championship. Within seven months the Lions and Red Wings follow in football and hockey - all while Joe Louis chased boxing's heavyweight crown.

Amidst such glory, the Legion's dreadful toll grew unchecked: staged "suicides", bodies dumped along roadsides, high-profile assassination plots. Talkative Dayton Dean's involvement would deepen as heroic Mickey Cochrane's reputation would rise. But the ballplayer had his own demons, including a close friendship with Harry Bennett, Henry Ford's brutal union buster.

©2016 Tom Stanton (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"If you're looking for a book that combines sports, crime, and history in one package, look no further...this book is a must-read." (Booklist)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting stories but oversold

The summary of this book implies a mix of true crime and sports, possibly including the star manager of the city's baseball team. There's plenty of sports information, though mostly related to baseball with only scant detail about the football and hockey championship seasons. There's also some true crime, though despite massive membership and truly horrific acts the pervasive Black Legion comes across as largely talk and bumbling, as personified by main character Dayton Dean. Overall, it feels like this story was two disjointed threads, sports and crime, that lacked a unifying force. I don't recall the teased connection involving Mickey Cochrane from the summary ever coming up in the book. If you want to hear about 1930s Tigers history and a shadowy 1930s domestic terror organization with parallels to today, this is a decent book. Just don't expect the stories to cross anywhere but the calendar.

As for the narration, the voice actor tendstorunsentencestogetherlikethissoitgetshardtofollowattimes. There also isn't much of a break between sections in chapters. This does seem to improve toward the end of the recording.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great read

There is so much in this book - history & sports stories. Riveting. I am so glad I read this work of art.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

Seemed like an abrupt end to a good book. Definitely comparable to Erik Larson in the way it ties a few true stories together but no where near as good. Worth a look for the history of the time. Well researched I believe. I would think interesting for any Detroit fan or soul living in the area

1 person found this helpful

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Revitalizing

I loved the story and presentation. Interesting narrative, and learned a lot of Detroit history.