Lefty: An American Odyssey

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“An intimate portrait of a man whose life off the field was equally as captivating as his unparalleled baseball career.”—Yankees Magazine  
 
Born into a small-town California ranching family, Vernon “Lefty” Gomez rode his powerful arm and jocular personality across America to the dugout of the New York Yankees. Lefty baffled hitters with his blazing fastball, establishing himself as the team’s ace. Now, drawing on countless conversations with Lefty, more than three hundred interviews conducted with his family, friends, competitors, and teammates over the course of a decade, and revealing candid photos, documents, and film clips—many never shown publicly—his daughter Vernona Gomez and her award-winning co-author Lawrence Goldstone vividly re-create the life and adventures of the irreverent southpaw. A star-studded romp through America’s most glamorous years, with cameos from Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, George Gershwin, Ernest Hemingway, and Marilyn Monroe, Lefty is at once a long-overdue reminder of a pitcher’s greatness and a heartwarming celebration of a life well-lived.
 
“His story transcends sports and gives us a much-needed lesson in grit and grace.”—Jon Meacham
 
“A loving and beautifully written tribute . . . Be prepared to be transformed, and to discover stars who were stars in an age when that word really meant something.”—Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning
 
“An amiable portrait of a baseball great—like Yogi Berra, Dizzy Dean and Satchel Paige—whose outsized personality looms even larger than his considerable athletic achievements.”—Kirkus Reviews
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About the author

Vernona Gomez is the daughter of June O’Dea and Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. As a child, she bounced on Babe Ruth’s knee, made sand castles on the beach with Joe DiMaggio, and won at cards with the legendary Cy Young. Growing up in a baseball family, Vernona brings an eyewitness account to the adventures chronicled in this book. She is a concert pianist, owner of the Creative Coaching Music Studio in Southport, Connecticut, and has two sons, John and Andrew.
 
Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of thirteen previous books of fiction and nonfiction. One of his novels won a New American Writing Award, another was a New York Times notable mystery. His work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, Salon, and Slate, among others. He lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, with his wife and daughter.




From the Hardcover edition.
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4.2
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Additional Information

Publisher
Ballantine Books
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Published on
May 15, 2012
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780345526502
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / General
Sports & Recreation / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage, determination, and competition: the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation.
 
The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved.
 
Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights’ war with Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight, and is rich with period detail and larger-than-life personalities: Thomas Scott Baldwin, or “Cap’t Tom” as he styled himself, who invented the parachute and almost convinced the world that balloons were the future of aviation; John Moisant, the dapper daredevil who took to the skies after three failed attempts to overthrow the government of El Salvador, then quickly emerged as a celebrity flyer; and Harriet Quimby, the statuesque silent-film beauty who became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. And then there is Lincoln Beachey, perhaps the greatest aviator who ever lived, who dazzled crowds with an array of trademark twists and dives—and best embodied the romance with death that fueled so many of aviation’s earliest heroes.
 
A dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground, Birdmen is at once a thrill ride through flight’s wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fueled America’s race to the skies.

Praise for Birdmen
 
“A meticulously researched account of the first few hectic, tangled years of aviation and the curious characters who pursued it . . . a worthy companion to Richard Holmes’s marvelous history of ballooning, Falling Upwards.”—Time
 
“The daredevil scientists and engineers who forged the field of aeronautics spring vividly to life in Lawrence Goldstone’s history.”—Nature
 
“The history of the development of an integral part of the modern world and a fascinating portrayal of how a group of men and women achieved a dream that had captivated humanity for centuries.”—The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Captivating and wonderfully presented . . . a fine book about these rival pioneers.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“[A] vivid story of invention, vendettas, derring-do, media hype and patent fights [with] modern resonance.”—Financial Times
 
“A powerful story that contrasts soaring hopes with the anchors of ego and courtroom.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“A riveting narrative about the pioneering era of aeronautics in America and beyond . . . Goldstone raises questions of enduring importance regarding innovation and the indefinite exertion of control over ideas that go public.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


From the Hardcover edition.
From 2004 to 2011, Terry Francona managed the Boston Red Sox, perhaps the most scrutinized team in all of sports. During that time, every home game was a sellout. Every play, call, word, gesture—on the field and off—was analyzed by thousands. And every decision was either genius, or disastrous. In those eight years, the Red Sox were transformed from a cursed franchise to one of the most successful and profitable in baseball history—only to fall back to last place as soon as Francona was gone. Now, in Francona: The Red Sox Years, the decorated manager opens up for the first time about his tenure in Boston, unspooling the narrative of how this world-class organization reached such incredible highs and dipped to equally incredible lows. But through it all, there was always baseball, that beautiful game of which Francona never lost sight.

As no book has ever quite done before, Francona escorts readers into the rarefied world of a twenty-first-century clubhouse, revealing the mercurial dynamic of the national pastime from the inside out. From his unique vantage point, Francona chronicles an epic era, from 2004, his first year as the Sox skipper, when they won their first championship in 86 years, through another win in 2007, to the controversial September collapse just four years later. He recounts the tightrope walk of managing unpredictable personalities such as Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez and working with Theo Epstein, the general managing phenom, and his statistics-driven executives. It was a job that meant balancing their voluminous data with the emotions of a 25-man roster. It was a job that also meant trying to meet the expectations of three owners with often wildly differing opinions. Along the way, readers are treated to never-before-told stories about their favorite players, moments, losses, and wins.

Ultimately, when for the Red Sox it became less about winning and more about making money, Francona contends they lost their way. But it was an unforgettable, endlessly entertaining, and instructive time in baseball history, one that is documented and celebrated in Francona, a book that examines like no other the art of managing in today’s game.
From the acclaimed author of Birdmen comes a revelatory new history of the birth of the automobile, an illuminating and entertaining true tale of invention, competition, and the visionaries, hustlers, and swindlers who came together to transform the world.

In 1900, the Automobile Club of America sponsored the nation’s first car show in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The event was a spectacular success, attracting seventy exhibitors and nearly fifty thousand visitors. Among the spectators was  an obscure would-be automaker named Henry Ford, who walked the floor speaking with designers and engineers, trying to gauge public enthusiasm for what was then a revolutionary invention. His conclusion: the automobile was going to be a fixture in American society, both in the city and on the farm—and would make some people very rich. None, he decided, more than he.

Drive! is the most complete account to date of the wild early days of the auto age. Lawrence Goldstone tells the fascinating story of how the internal combustion engine, a “theory looking for an application,” evolved into an innovation that would change history. Debunking many long-held myths along the way, Drive! shows that the creation of the automobile was not the work of one man, but very much a global effort. Long before anyone had heard of Henry Ford, men with names like Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler were building and marketing  the world’s first cars.

Goldstone breathes life into an extraordinary cast of characters: the inventors and engineers who crafted engines small enough to use on a “horseless carriage”; the financiers who risked everything for their visions; the first racers—daredevils who pushed rickety, untested vehicles to their limits; and such visionary lawyers as George Selden, who fought for and won the first patent for the gasoline-powered automobile. Lurking around every corner is Henry Ford, a brilliant innovator and an even better marketer, a tireless promoter of his products—and of himself.

With a narrative as propulsive as its subject, Drive! plunges us headlong into a time unlike any in history, when near-manic innovation, competition, and consumerist zeal coalesced to change the way the world moved.

Praise for Drive!

“[A] marvelously told story . . . The author provides a terrific backdrop to the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ era in which his story takes place. On display are lucky scoundrels and unlucky geniuses, hustlers, hacks, and daredevils galore. . . . Goldstone has written a book that beautifully captures the intertwined fates of these two ingenious pioneers.”—The Wall Street Journal

“A wonderful, story-filled saga of the early days of the auto age . . . Readers will be swept up in his vivid re-creation of a bygone era. . . . ‘Horse Is Doomed,’ read one headline in 1895. This highly readable popular history tells why.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)

“A splendid dissection of the Selden/Ford patent face-off and its place in automotive historiography, this work will be enjoyed by business, legal, transportation, social, and intellectual historians; general readers; and all libraries.”—Library Journal (starred review)
 
“This book contains the great names in automotive history—the Dodge brothers, Barney Oldfield, all the French (they seemed, until Ford, to lead the Americans in development of the vehicle)—and it is fascinating. . . . An engaging new take on the history of technological innovation.”—Booklist


From the Hardcover edition.
“A warm, sentimental look at a baseball icon” (The Tampa Tribune).
 
Driving Mr. Yogi is the story of a unique friendship between two New York Yankees legends—a pitcher and catcher—who share rides, meals, and a bond that transcends the twenty-five-year difference in their ages.
 
The story begins in 1999, when Hall of Famer Yogi Berra is reunited with the Yankees after a long self-exile, the result of being unceremoniously fired by team owner George Steinbrenner fourteen years before. A reconciliation between Berra and the boss means that Berra will once again attend spring training. Retired-pitcher-turned-pitching-coach Ron Guidry knows the club’s young players will benefit from “Mr. Yogi’s” encyclopedic knowledge of the game, just as Guidry had during his playing days, so he encourages his old mentor to share his insights. In Yogi, Guidry finds not just a personable dinner companion or source of amusement—he finds a best friend.
 
At turns tender and laugh-out-loud funny, and teeming with unforgettable baseball yarns that span more than fifty years, Driving Mr. Yogi is a universal story about the importance of wisdom being passed from one generation to the next, as well as a reminder that time is what we make of it and compassion never gets old.
 
“Funny, revealing, and surprising . . . Anything that brings new Yogi Berra stories is a good book.” —MLB.com
 
“Lovingly documented . . . You’ll find yourself wishing it ain’t over till it’s over.” —Parade magazine
A remarkable new historical thriller by New York Times notable mystery author Lawrence Goldstone that evokes the New York City of 1899. In 1899, in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Noah Whitestone is called urgently to his wealthy neighbor’s house to treat a five-year-old boy with a shocking set of symptoms. When the child dies suddenly later that night, Noah is accused by the boy’s regular physician—the powerful and politically connected Dr. Arnold Frias—of prescribing a lethal dose of laudanum.

To prove his innocence, Noah must investigate the murder—for it must be murder—and confront the man whom he is convinced is the real killer. His investigation leads him to a reporter for a muckraking magazine and a beautiful radical editor who are convinced that a secret, experimental drug from Germany has caused the death of at least five local children, and possibly many more. By degrees, Noah is drawn into a dangerous world of drugs, criminals, and politics, which threatens not just his career but also his life.

As he did in his first highly successful medical thriller The Anatomy of Deception, Goldstone weaves a savvy tale of intrigue and stunning twists that incorporates real-life historical figures and events into the action while richly recreating the closing days of the nineteenth century—a time when American might was on the march in the Pacific, medicine was poised to leap into a new era, radical politics threatened the status quo in American and Europe, and the role of women in American society was undergoing profound change.
A mesmerizing forensic thriller that thrusts the reader into the operating rooms, drawing rooms, and back alleys of 1889 Philadelphia, as a young doctor grapples with the principles of scientific process to track a daring killer

In the morgue of a Philadelphia hospital, a group of physicians open a coffin and uncover the corpse of a beautiful young woman. What they see takes their breath away. Within days, one of them strongly suspects that he knows the woman’s identity…and the horrifying events that led to her death. But in this richly atmospheric novel–an ingenious blend of history, suspense and early forensic science–the most compelling chapter is yet to come, as young Ephraim Carroll is plunged into a maze of murder, secrets and unimaginable crimes....

Dr. Ephraim Carroll came to Philadelphia to study with a leading professor, the brilliant William Osler, believing that he would gain the power to save countless lives. As America hurtles toward a new century, medicine is changing rapidly, in part due to the legalization of autopsy–a crime only a few years before. But Carroll and his mentor are at odds over what they glimpsed that morning in the hospital’s Dead House. And when a second mysterious death is determined to have been a ruthless murder, Carroll can feel the darkness gathering around him–and he ignites an investigation of his own.

Soon he is moving between the realm of elite medicine, Philadelphia high society, and a teeming badlands of criminality and sexual depravity along the city’s fetid waterfront. With a wealthy, seductive woman clouding his vision, the controversial artist Thomas Eakins sowing scandal, and the secrets of the nation’s powerful surgeons unraveling around him, Carroll is forced to confront an agonizing moral choice–between exposing a killer, undoing a wrong, and, quite possibly, protecting the future of medicine itself….


From the Hardcover edition.
When Fruitful Willis, after years of scraping out a meager living as a bum, discovers that he has been granted a more dignified status as a member of the ‘homeless,’ he stakes a claim on the sidewalk in front of Murray Plotkin’s delicatessen. Murray’s heavy-handed attempts to remove the newly-appointed Willis result in Fruitful engaging the services of an activist lawyer, Herbert Whiffet, to protect his rights.
 
At roughly the same time, Lawanda de Bourbon, the stunning 18-year-old consort of a ruthless gang leader (and everyone else), is gunned down during a drug sweep wearing only a flimsy negligee. James Rodriguez, the rookie patrolman responsible for the shooting, claims she had a gun in her hand, however no gun was found at the scene. The very same Herbert Whiffet is then hired by the de Bourbon family to assure that Lawanda’s rights are protected, albeit post-mortem.
 
Whiffet seizes upon each of these cases as a vehicle to further the cause, to say nothing of the enhancement of his own status as a champion of his people. Caught in the resulting whirlwind are Cornelia Pembroke, the beautiful star reporter for a local television station, Renee Lieberman-Smith, a crusading assistant district attorney, the Reverend Leotis Chestnut, a veteran of the civil rights movement, and, most importantly, Clarissa Taylor, a single working mother of three who discovers it is her rights and those of her children which are most desperately in need of protection.
 
Rights is a scathing, hilarious send-up of big-city politics and current social mores which casts an equally unsparing eye on black activists, white liberals, media sensationalists, political opportunists, and various others responsible for creating a society where the wrong people inevitably become the victims.
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