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Publisher's Summary

From Jane Leavy, the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of The Last Boy and Sandy Koufax, comes the definitive biography of Babe Ruth - the man Roger Angell dubbed "the model for modern celebrity."

He lived in the present tense - in the camera’s lens. There was no frame he couldn’t or wouldn’t fill. He swung the heaviest bat, earned the most money, and incurred the biggest fines. Like all the new-fangled gadgets then flooding the marketplace - radios, automatic clothes washers, Brownie cameras, microphones, and loudspeakers - Babe Ruth "made impossible events happen". Aided by his crucial partnership with Christy Walsh - business manager, spin doctor, damage control wizard, and surrogate father, all stuffed into one tightly buttoned double-breasted suit - Ruth drafted the blueprint for modern athletic stardom.

His was a life of journeys and itineraries - from uncouth to couth, spartan to spendthrift, abandoned to abandon; from Baltimore to Boston to New York, and back to Boston at the end of his career for a finale with the only team that would have him. There were road trips and hunting trips; grand tours of foreign capitals and post-season promotional tours, not to mention those 714 trips around the bases.

After hitting his 60th home run in September 1927 - a total that would not be exceeded until 1961, when Roger Maris did it with the aid of the extended modern season - he embarked on the mother of all barnstorming tours, a three-week victory lap across America, accompanied by Yankee teammate Lou Gehrig. Walsh called the tour a "Symphony of Swat." The Omaha World Herald called it "the biggest show since Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, and seven other associated circuses offered their entire performance under one tent." In The Big Fella, acclaimed biographer Jane Leavy recreates that 21-day circus and in so doing captures the romp and the pathos that defined Ruth’s life and times. 

Drawing from more than 250 interviews, a trove of previously untapped documents, and Ruth family records, Leavy breaks through the mythology that has obscured the legend and delivers the man.

©2018 Jane Leavy (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Babe Ruth and American History

More than a baseball biography, this is really a history of America in the 1920’s, when the Babe was its biggest celebrity. It’s a tale well-told by Jane Leavy. Each chapter relates the events around a barnstorming tour in 1927, when the Babe and Lou Gehrig played exhibition games before boisterous —and frequently rioting — fans around the country. It’s non-linear, in that chapters have subsections devoted to things like the history of commercial radio, but that’s what makes it such a good listen. For those who want to reference the extensive appendices and photos, you’d probably be better off with the hard copy or E-reader editions.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Awful!!!!!!

This will be my first refund ever on a book. What a waste from start to finish.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Unbearable

The narrator was fair but I had to stop listening after about 3 hours because the book jumped around so much. About 30 minutes was devoted to Babe Ruth’s manager. I would think a biography about a baseball player might delve into his early history in the game sometime within the first several chapters. I want my money back.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful