The son of Oklahoma farmers and ""arguably the biggest talent of his time,"" Mickey Mantle's legendary rise to fame and fortune-and lifelong battles with alcoholism and chronic injuries-have made him a modern American myth. This volume, a collaborative effort by author and sports columnist Herskowitz (who worked with Mantle himself on 1994's All My Octobers) and two of Mantle's four sons, combines an anecdotal history with plenty of glossy photographs and ""enclosures,"" reproduced bits of memorabilia-a letter from Mickey to wife Merlyn and his first-year Minor League contract, among others-to present a readable, human tribute to this baseball great. Although the book acknowledges Mantle's darker struggles, readers hankering for an incisive look at Mantle's demons will be disappointed; these are warm recollections from men who knew and loved Mantle as both an athlete and a father. This is not to say the book is dishonest, as the tone of the book draws from Mantle's struggle to honor his best impulses: on the last time he drew a capacity crowd, the authors write that ""the memories of the airy, vibrant Mick outweighed the sadness. He had said that week and many times before that he wanted to be remembered as 'a good teammate.' In that and countless other respects, he overachieved."" The real strength of this handsome book is in its photographs: whether Mantle's sliding into base, posing with his wife, showing off with Joe DiMaggio, watching his kids bat in the backyard, or heading out for a night on the town, these sepia-toned plates (with several full-color images from later years) capture Mantle's winning spirit throughout the decades.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006 Release date: 10/01/2006 Genre: Nonfiction