Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood

The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood

Written by Jane Leavy

Narrated by Jane Leavy and John Bedford Lloyd


The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood

Written by Jane Leavy

Narrated by Jane Leavy and John Bedford Lloyd

ratings:
4/5 (22 ratings)
Length:
16 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 12, 2010
ISBN:
9780061988073
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Award-winning sports writer Jane Leavy follows her New York Times runaway bestseller Sandy Koufax with the definitive biography of baseball icon Mickey Mantle. The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer's reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why The Mick remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 12, 2010
ISBN:
9780061988073
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Jane Leavy, award-winning former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post, is author of the New York Times bestsellers Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood, and the comic novel Squeeze Play. She lives in Washington, D.C. and Truro, Massachusetts.

Related to The Last Boy

Related Audiobooks
Related Articles

Reviews

What people think about The Last Boy

3.8
22 ratings / 21 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Biographies and history, are my favorite reading subjects. This book, combined them all. Really an insightful look into a personality landmark of America and the American game of baseball. This book showed the ugly side of the truth; that heroes are humans and have human faults. Mantle drank, womanized and acted badly. Yet, he was also humble, modest, courageous and generous. He had his own personal demons and fought them. We look at our superstars, the celebrity and know they can mess-up. What would Mantle's legacy had been in the era of social media as we know it now? Likely not as glorious and heroic. But life is full of wishful thinking and reality. Reality came at a cost to Mantle. Yet in human terms, so did realization and regret. Would recommend it to any baseball fan.
  • (1/5)
    A miserable hack job, written with a poison pen. Full of unsubstantiated inuendoe and twists of fact, a vicious slander written by a minor writer who seeks revenge on an icon of 1950's baseball who didn't fulfill her own pathetic fantasies. Avoid this like the plague.
  • (4/5)
    Tale of the Mick. He was the hard hitting golden boy of the New York Yankees during the fifties. At his peak he may have been the best baseball player. His personal life was bleak due to his alcoholism and inability to be a father to his children. The only thing he seems to have passed on to them was addiction. All and all a sad tale.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating look at a deeply troubled hero. Read it if you don't mind your idols being of the fallen kind.
  • (2/5)
    Really disappointing read. Too scattered, it could have really benefited from a more narrative style. Leavy's voice didn't seem to come through for most of the work, as it was just page after page of direct quotes.
  • (4/5)
    Leavy's book is more of a self-discovery: the flawed (seriously flawed) hero who was and is adored by fans and friends, and who's "out of the spotlight" outrageous behavior is also well documented. He also suffered horrific pain with his knees and, later, other related injuries. This Mantle reminds me somewhat of Peter Pan in the television series "Once Upon a Time." He doesn't really grow up until it's much too late. I found Leavy's technique of selecting specific incidents to build her story of the Mick to be disjointed and hard to follow at times, but it was also fascinating to read. Having grown up with brothers who despised the Yankees, but loved Mantle, it was an interesting tour.
  • (3/5)
    The Mick - a boyhood hero, a remarkable baseball player and a very deeply flawed man. One of the greats on the field and a skunk in most of the rest of his life. Definitely the Last Boy but Leavy hardly made the case for "the End of America's Childhood," whatever that might be.
  • (3/5)
    Mickey Mantle was pretty much the idol of every boy who grew up in the 50s and 60s. We all wanted to be him. Now we find out that he really was just a lecherous jerk who could have been the best baseball player of all time had he taken care of himself and not had a number of unfortunate injuries. This book is well written. I just don't like the Mickey Mantle that it portrays. Leavy is not writing a hatchet job. None of this is new. Still, it is all collected in one place. "The Last Boy"? No. Really just a continuation of a long line of jerks in the world.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Very thorough and well written biography about Mickey Mantle, a legend of baseball.

    His story is tragic in many ways, from his accident-prone career to the life choices he made that led to even more trouble than a legend could handle. A truly remarkable athlete, it was as if he were created just to play the game of baseball. His fans adored him, often despite his best efforts.

    Leavy does an excellent job capturing it all: the legend, the man, and his life, and tells it in a way that is compelling and yet remains completely honest. A recommended read for those who love the man, the game, or a good read.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    One of the first books I remember reading was a kid's biography of Mickey Mantle, probably written in the late 1950s. The Dodgers and Giants had left New York, and the Yankees were for a few years the only game in town. My father stuck with Duke Snider and the Dodgers, but I switched to the Yankees. I mostly identified with Yogi Berra, perhaps because he was Italian-American and read comic books like me, but what boy who loved baseball didn't admire Mickey Mantle in those days? I remember sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium so I could watch him play center (Yogi was in left field). Who knew all the pain he played through in those days? Until I read this book, I didn't realize how excruciating his emotional pain must have been, more so than the hurting knee and shoulder, or how much pain he inflicted on his wife and children. This is a shocking book, and a complex one. If you value your idols, maybe you should pass it by. If you want to understand an iconic athlete as a human being, read it, it's a masterpiece.
  • (4/5)
    Over the years there have been numerous bios written about The Mick. This is the best. Revisiting her April 1983 interview with The Mick throughout the bio makes this venture much more interesting. Leavy departed from the traditional biography by telling Mantle's life story by looking at 21 days in his life that were important. She even revisits the eternal question as to who was best, Willie, Mickey, or The Duke. At one point later on in their lives, the three center field greats are together. Mickey is talking as says that he and Duke don't have any problems being second to Willie. Modern day statisticians look at the careers of The Mick and Willie and give Mick the edge by just a few points. Yes, Mickey Mantle was one of the greatest center fielders and baseball players of the modern era, but since I grew up watching Willie Mays play, in my mind, he's the greatest!
  • (3/5)
    Terribly sad story of Mantle's misguided life and the reasons for it. Jane Leavy returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than 500 interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle's life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of a luminous and illustrious talent with an achingly damaged soul. Meticulously reported and elegantly written, The Last Boy is a baseball tapestry that weaves together episodes from the author's weekend with The Mick in Atlantic City, where she interviewed her hero in 1983, after he was banned from baseball, with reminiscences from friends and family of the boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, who would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League's Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth's home run crown in the summer of 1961—the same boy who would never grow up.As she did so memorably in her biography of Sandy Koufax, Jane Leavy transcends the hyperbole of hero worship to reveal the man behind the coast-to-coast smile, who grappled with a wrenching childhood, crippling injuries, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. In The Last Boy she chronicles her search to find out more about the person he was and, given what she discovers, to explain his mystifying hold on a generation of baseball fans, who were seduced by that lopsided, gap-toothed grin. It is an uncommon biography, with literary overtones: not only a portrait of an icon, but an investigation of memory itself. How long was the Tape Measure Home Run? Did Mantle swing the same way right-handed and left-handed? What really happened to his knee in the 1951 World Series? What happened to the red-haired, freckle-faced boy known back home as Mickey Charles?"I believe in memory, not memorabilia," Leavy writes in her preface. But in The Last Boy, she discovers that what we remember of our heroes—and even what they remember of themselves—is only where the story begins.
  • (5/5)
    Like Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mantle was an icon for Americans in the 1960s and 1970s. But while Marilyn died at the peak of her career, Mickey had to make a life for himself after baseball.This incisive biography delves into the man and the demons that tormented him. His celebrity came to be his undoing, giving him tacit permission to routinely engage in unconscionable behavior without being condemned by his adoring entourage.The author's extensive interviews with Mantle's friends and family reveal secrets which the ball player kept until near the end of his life. When he finally gave up alcohol, it was too late for him.
  • (2/5)
    This is a biography of New York Yankee Mickey Mantle. I'm not exactly sure how to review it so I will just tell you my feelings. I am an avid baseball fan - mostly the Baltimore Orioles therefore, you do hear about the dreaded Yankees. So I really expected to hear more about baseball, but what I read was basically about injures and inappropriate behavior by Mantle and his teammates. He couldn't seem gather his excellence from the field and continue it in his private life.The first few chapters were interesting, but then it just seemed to be the same over and over - play great, injury, bad behavior, repeat. I guess hearing the life of another pro player who just died, there was a great contrast - maybe Mantle was a great player who was denied his full potential by an early injury, but the injury wasn't what stopped him from being a great man.
  • (3/5)
    This is a tough one to review. Mantle was a complex character. He was an incredible baseball talent, whose impressive stats would have even been better if he hadn't played most of his career injured. He could be good-hearted and generous, but could be horribly crude and offensive. He was, in some ways, quite humble, but could be extremely selfish and thoughtless. He was a womanizer. He seemed to have no respect for women. Of course, his drinking was legendary.He was also a childhood hero of the author. Trying to do him justice and be honest about him was a tough job for a writer. She opted for a somewhat non-traditional format focusing on key events in Mantle's life, rather than a simple chronological biographical narrative, which I found a little hard to follow at times. I think the audio format didn't help, because I couldn't just "look back" when I got confused. One minute we're at Billy Martin's funeral, and a bit later we're back at a point where he's still among the living.My audio book download was billed as an "enhanced" audio book. I'm not sure what the "enhanced" part was. Were the interludes read by the author, where she described her meeting with Mantle, in the original book? I'd need to see the print copy.I was feeling rather disgusted with Mantle and mostly unsympathetic. Then Leavy explored the issue of the abuse he apparently suffered as a child. I thought she handled that delicate subject pretty well. In a society where the role of "victim" often seems reserved for females, I find it important to discuss the reality that boys -- "even Mickey Mantle!", it appears -- can be victims and that women/teenage girls can be perpetrators. Leavy makes a good case that Mantle showed a number of classic symptoms associated with survivors of childhood sexual abuse.Leavy also explores the significance of Mantle's relationship with his overbearing father; how he spent his life in a futile attempt to be what he thought his father wanted him to be.This was a complex book about a complex man. Leavy doesn't attempt to excuse or justify Mantle's behavior based on his personal baggage, but she does try to understand it. I think the book is at least moderately successful in that regard. Unfortunately, the confusion generated by Leavy's "key events" format makes it difficult for me to recommend the book. I wish she had put her feelings for Mantle aside and written a chronological biography.
  • (4/5)
    Mantle was a lousy husband, crappy father, and perpetually injured throughout his career. Who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up if he had been healthy. I'm too young to have grown up watching him, so he was always just one of those old timers to me, and one who played for the wrong team :) Knowing how screwed up he really was doesn't really help me. In fact, I'm not sure I'm really happy about knowing. Maybe I should have just let old legends lie.
  • (3/5)
    Mickey Mantle was my childhood hero and after reading this excellent and readable book he still is a hero. a flawed hero, like a Greek tradcy but still a hero. he was never able to overcome his dark side. bit what a great ball player!
  • (5/5)
    Jane Leavy has written a wonderful bio of one of the best baseball players in American history. Leavy's approach is different and very effective as she picks 20 moments from Mantles career and build her bio thru them. The chapters are still arranged chronologically yet each chapter goes much deeper than the simple story of what happened on the date selected. Leavy is a terrific writer and has a personal story to tell of her time spent with Mantle in the early 80's. Combined, this was one of the finest biographies I've read. Certainly the best baseball one since Ted Williams by Leigh Montville. This book appeared on many best of 2010 lists and it deserved every mention.
  • (5/5)
    A wonderfully written but sad biography on one of the great baseball players of the 20th century. Leavy goes behind the myth through interviews with friends,children,and even Mantle himself, who she spoke to in 1981.
  • (2/5)
    I was a teen growing up in Chicago during the 60's and I got to see Mickey Mantle play live a couple of times. Perhaps my fondest sports memory is seeing Mantle and Maris hit back-to-back HR's during the '61 Homer Race season. They were each awesome shots to the deepest parts of center and right-center field. It sucked the energy out of the White Sox fans in attendance at the old Comiskey Park that day but it was a joyous moment for this Yankee fan. I can still see Mantle's trademark jog around the bases and whether it's a real memory, or a compendium of countless video highlights, or a little of both, doesn't really matter to me.And that is what is missing from this book. There's little joy, no real awe at the records, at the shots. Oh sure, the numbers are there, and moments are described but they didn't convey to me the thrill and emotion of the moment. Instead the story here is dominated by the circumstances of his birth and early years, the numerous injuries, Mantle's ineptness as a husband and father, his crude language and behavior, the drunkeness, his declining health, his attempts at redemption, rehab, etc. Even a moment like the HR hit out of Griffith Stadium is diminished by a very lengthy and very boring description of the author's attempt to quantify precisely the exact distance the ball traveled. The conclusion after 18 pages - it was less than what was reported at the time but for a lot of reasons cannot be precisely defined. The 18 pages include the author's attempts to contact the gentleman who as a young boy had retrieved the ball (this is a Mantle bio, remember?). Equally off-putting was the frequent references to interviews the author conducted with Mantle over one weekend at Atlantic City in 1983. Little new is revealed that hasn't been told before, but apparently it is the one occasion when she spent the most time with him.But perhaps the comments above are a bit nit-picking. There is one central criticism I have of this bio. I have read a number of other bios and I enjoy them when they are well done, e.g. McCullough's book on Truman, Goodwin on Lincoln. These men were heroes. What they did and what they said had tremendous impact on the world. To best understand them and their influences it is essential to study them in depth from cradle to grave. My impression is that the baseball years were covered in less than half of "The Last Boy". I believe that Leavy erred when she approached the Mantle story in the same way as Presidential biographers, forgetting that Mickey Mantle as great a ballplayer as he was, and acknowledging the many awe-inspiring moments he delivered on the field, was in the end, just a ball player.
  • (4/5)
    I grew up during the time of Mickey Mantle's playing days with the New York Yankees. I would listen to the ballgames on the radio and television with my grandfather, who happened to be a rabid Red Sox fan.The season that Maris and Mantle were hot on the trail of Babe Ruth's home run record was so exciting and I remember how crushed I was when Mantle got sick and fell out of the race near the end of the season.Of course, I collected baseball cards with all the Yankees, bottle caps, baseballs and try as I might my uncle who cut Mantle's hair while in St. Petersburg for Spring Training would never bring me even one hair!I finally got to met Mickey Mantle years later and spend some time listening to his stories along with Whitey Ford.Reading this book revived many memories and also filled in some history of those years.You can find it here in the library in the New Books section in Biographies under Mantle.