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Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Scott Simon is the award-winning host of National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition." He has won every major award in broadcasting for his war reporting, personal essays and commentary. Now, he has written a book that should get some type of award.

In "Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan," (Hyperion, 384 pages, $23. 95) Simon turns his attention to Chicago, the city he loves and some of its fabled sports figures and traditions. He also has many interesting musings on sports and culture, life and death.


The book begins with these words as Simon looks back. "There was a time when I was Billy Pierce, the high-kicking left-handed pitcher of the Chicago White Sox. But being only two and a half feet tall, my impact on the game was small. " 

That is the four-year-old Scott Simon living in the fantasy world that makes him feel he is the star hurler of the Chicago White Sox, Billy Pierce. The book ends with Pierce and Simon among the pallbearers at the funeral of legendary sports broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.


Just that special structure shows the unusual and sensitive mind of Simon at work. And throughout the pages of this winning book, Simon's life as a fan comes through loud, lively and clear. There is a wonderful section focused on the Chicago Cubsí 1969 pennant race laid side-by-side with the first moon landing of Apollo 11 and the Vietnam War. The Super Bowl Bears of 1985-86 and the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson also get the full Simon treatment.


This fragment of the final paragraph in Simon's enchanting memoir gives you an idea of the style he writes in:


"In my mind, I can keep the ball hanging for a moment between the moon and the stadium lights. Gracie is looking up from first. Sammy, smiling and tapping out heart kisses, is dancing in from right. MJ, beaming, looks on from the bench, while Mr. Cub stands up, clapping, on the dug-out steps - Let's play two!


More than two is played through the thickly packed pages of "Home and Away". This is a book that has a whole lot going for it and through it.


Simon gives us insights into all types of interesting personalities with sports connections: Ernie Banks, Leo Durocher, Brian Piccolo, Gale Sawyers, and even Richard 


J. Daley and Jesse Jackson.


Funny, often touching, carefully crafted, "Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan" is a thoughtful and fresh take on the world of sports.


Bookends: "The Baseball Astrologer and Other Weird Tales" by John B. Holway (TotalSports Illustrated, 302 pages, $14.95) is as the title suggests - a very unorthodox book. It looks into hexes, jinxes, omens, predictions and lucky mascots. If the unusual in the world of sports is your thing - this is the book for you.


With inductions just around the corner, "The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum 2000 Yearbook (175 pages, $15.00) is worth owning. Replete with profiles of this year's inductees, it is a concise catalog loaded with baseball facts and figures.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

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.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

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Harvey 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. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.


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