Last Boy : Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
by Leavy, Jane

Preface: My Weekend with The Mickxi
PART ONE Innocence Lost, Atlantic City, April 1983
1 March 26, 1951: The Whole World Opened Up
2 October 5, 1951: When Fates Converge
3 October 23, 1951: Undermined
4 May 27, 1949: Patrimony
5 May 20, 1952: In the Ground
6 April 17, 1953: One Big Day
7 November 2, 1953: Fish Bait
8 September 26, 1954: No Other Time
PART TWO A Round with The Mick, Atlantic City, April 1983
9 May 30, 1956: A Body Remembers
10 May 16, 1957: Returns of the Day
11 August 14, 1960: Season Under Siege
PART THREE Nightcap, Atlantic City, April 1983
12 September 25, 1961: Dr. Feelgood
13 May 18, 1962: His Best Self
14 June 5, 1963: The Breaking Point
15 September 26, 1968: Last Licks
PART FOUR Dream On, Atlantic City, April 1983
16 June 8, 1969: Half-life of a Star
17 December 19, 1985: 18 Below in Fargo
18 February 5, 1988: Top of the Heap
19 Febraury 4, 1994: Getaway Day
PART FIVE Riding with The Mick, Atlantic City, April 1983
20 August 13, 1995: The Last Boy
Appendix 1 Interview List395(10)
Appendix 2 The Kinetic Mick405(12)
Appendix 3 Who's Better?417(4)

Drawing on more than 500 interviews with loved ones and fellow baseball players, the author crafts a deeply personal biography of the Yankee great, weaving her own memories of the major-league slugger with an authoritative account of his life on and off the field. By the best-selling author of Sandy Koufax. 200,000 first printing.

Jane Leavy is an award-winning former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post and the author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax and the comic novel Squeeze Play, called "the best novel ever written about baseball" by Entertainment Weekly, She lives in Washington, D.C.

"*Starred Review* Another Mantle biography? Yes, but Leavy, author of the celebrated Sandy Koufax (2002), about another baseball icon, takes a new tack, approaching the New York Yankee center fielder from the mixed perspectives of fan, journalist, and personal acquaintance, striving, as she says, to portray the man she loved as a child but whose actions were unlovable. She conducted more than 500 interviews with family, friends, teammates, managers, and medical professionals. The latter group is, sadly, surprisingly large. In his rookie year, Mantle ruined his knee on an uncovered drain in Yankee Stadium. He essentially played hurt the remaining 17 years of his career, a condition that helped fuel his ultimately fatal alcoholism, which, in turn, led to the attendant flaws that propelled him into a satyr's life of infidelity, despite a devoted wife and four sons. Mantle, Leavy shows, could be a wonderful, witty, and gregarious friend. He also was capable of horrible cruelty and verbal abuse. He ignored his sons when they were young; when they were older, they became his drinking buddies and sank into their own addictions. This is unlike any biography on the sports shelf. Leavy, in exploring her own ambivalent feelings toward Mantle, permits readers to experience the same confusing emotions that many of those around him felt: proud to bask in his reflected glory but too intimidated to confront him. They loved him and hated him, too, leaving the Mick adrift to wrestle with his own demons, a battle he wasn't equipped to win. Expect both acclaim and tremendous demand. A masterpiece of sports biography." Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Another biography of the late Yankee slugger—but this candid, compassionate portrait is worth a dugout full of the others.

Sports journalist Leavy (Sandy Koufax, 2002) produces an enduring, though certainly not endearing, portrait of The Mick. Eschewing traditional chronology, the author begins with a 1983 interview she conducted with the boozy, boorish, lecherous Mantle (he'd been retired for 15 years), an experience she spreads throughout the narrative, using portions of it to introduce each major section. She focuses on 20 significant days in Mantle's life (five of them after his playing days), beginning with his career-threatening injury in 1951 in Yankee Stadium, and ending with his death to cancer in 1995. In between are glimpses of Mantle as son, brother, husband, adulterer (he was a serial offender), father (not a good one), player, teammate and fading and feckless celebrity. Leavy is generally careful not to celebrate his athletic accomplishments excessively, though it's hard not to. His home runs were prodigious; his speed was gazelline; his capacity to endure pain was humbling. He won the Triple Crown in 1956 and entered the Hall of Fame as soon as he was eligible. The Mick, however, harbored many demons, and the author justly emphasizes them when appropriate. Often ignorant, capricious and extremely self-centered, he drank heavily, cheated on his wife and could be crude and obnoxious to fans (some of the things he wrote on souvenirs for young hero-worshippers—e.g., "You're lucky. Your mom has nice tits"—are legendary). But as Leavy points out, it was in no one's pecuniary interest to portray Mantle as anything other than the All-American Ballplayer.

The best of the Mantle biographies.

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