Frommer on Sports
Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BRONX IS BURNING
and other Notable Reads
The time is circa 1977. The place is New York City. The subject matter –
as articulated in the book’s sub-title: “Baseball, Politics and the
Battle for the Soul of a City.” The read is just terrific.
Published by Farrar. Straus. Giroux, priced at $25.00, running a hefty
358 pages, Jonathan Mahler’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, THE BRONX IS
BURNING” is an important book, a riveting read about a pivotal time in
the history of New York City splayed out against the backdrop of such as
Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, a much more rambunctious George
Steinbrenner, Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, John Lindsay, Bella Abzug, Son of
Sam, the Blackout, and a president of the United States named Ford
uttering that manic and odious phrase to the city and millions of
dwellers: “Drop dead!.”
As a native New Yorker who lived (and suffered through that time) and
the co-author of “It Happened in Manhattan,” a lot of what Mahler
chooses to focus on is well remembered.
There is the emerging gay scene with all its energy, Plato’s Retreat,
punk rock, Studio 54, the looting and arson during the Con Ed blackout
25 hour power failure.
There are those who say you had to be there - Jonathan Mahler was not
there. He moved to New York City in 1990. But he may as well have been
there – as he is a master in evoking that time and place. Lots of
baseball, lots of urbanology!
“The Baseball Rookies Encyclopedia” by David Nemec and Dave Zeman (
Brassey’s, $24.95, 386) is a long overdue guide to most things one would
want to know about first year major leaguers. Stats, trivia and
narrative merge nicely. Also from Brassey’s is Floyd Conner’s
“Baseball’s Most Wanted” ($12.95, 388 pages) – an oddball catalog of the
baseball weird. And finally from Brassey’s “The Masters” by David Sowell
($17.95, 288 pages) is an entertaining and insightful history of
America’s golf classic.
“Cubs Nation” by Gene Wojciechowski (Doubleday, $22.95, 417 pages) is a
day-by-day account of the 2004 season. The author virtually took up
residence at Wrigley and spoke to the “Nation” from top to bottom.
Highly recommended (of course) for fans of the Cubbies.
HIGHLY NOTABLE: "Memories of a Ballplayer" by Bill
Werber and C. Paul Rogers III (Cushing-Malloy, 241 pages) as one sage
noted is "an exciting collection of anecdotes that will compel you from
from start to finish; close your eyes and you will think you are in a time
The ballplayer in the title is Bill Werber, and he wanders down through
the baseball he experienced in the late 20s, through the 1930s and early
1940s with the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and
Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants.
Probably the last person to have contact with the '27 Yanks, Werber talks
about that time, the characters he met, the magical moments he had as a
top third baseman in that long ago era.
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth
College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage
in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
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