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Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than five hundred 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.

Topics: Sports, New York City Pro Sports Teams, Baseball, Athletes, Nostalgic, Flashbacks, Transcribed Interviews, and New York City

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 12, 2010
ISBN: 9780061987786
List price: $5.99
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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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
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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.
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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.
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