Ms. Goodman, a journalist who has written for The New York Times, convincingly leaves readers (as she told The Observer) as if they’re “overhearing the raddest cocktail party ever, with everyone who shaped that world chatting freely, as if there’s no journalist in the room.”
That’s the upside of verbatim interviews. “The nature of memory is imprecise even though we’re sure about all sorts of things,” she told Rolling Stone. “That goes 100 times for complex and emotional drug- and booze-soaked and years-ago memories. What’s rad about an oral history is that all those memories can coexist.”
For New Yorkers delving deeper into nostalgia and urban anthropology, there’s Kevin Cook’s “Electric October: Seven World Series Games, Six Lives, Five Minutes of Fame That Lasted Forever” ($30).
Mr. Cook evokes earlier books by Roger Kahn, Peter Golenbock and David Halberstam in a poignant study that goes beyond baseball and its immortals, like Jackie Robinson and Joe DiMaggio, who were his characters’ contemporaries.
In contrast, Mr. Cook writes, “Cookie Lavagetto, Al Gionfriddo, and manager Burt Shotton of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Bill Bevens, Snuffy Stirnweiss and manager Bucky Harris of the New York Yankees were baseball mortals.”
His thoroughly researched narrative probes their personalities, relives the gladiatorial 1947 rivalry between the two hometown teams, game by game, and sympathetically portrays the players’ nose dive into oblivion after fleeting stardom, when Lavagetto ruined Bevens’s no-hitter and Gionfriddo’s spectacular catch robbed DiMaggio of a hit and prompted him to kick the dirt in disgust.
“This is the story of how seven ballgames shaped the rest of their days,” Mr. Cook writes. “It’s a true tale of fame, friendship, teamwork, memory, and life’s biggest challenge: how we deal with the cards that fate deals us.”
Maybe poetry and politics don’t mix. “I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world,” said Stephen Miller, a White House senior adviser, when he was challenged, recently, about the Trump administration’s proposal to restrict immigration. “The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”
The poem, “The New Colossus,” was written by Emma Lazarus, who is being celebrated at the 92nd Street Y with works by 19 young poets inspired by her words. While the text wasn’t finally affixed to the base of the statue until 1903, the poem was commissioned in 1883 — three years before the statue opened — to raise money for the pedestal. Speaking of poems, more than 700 commercial, university and independent presses have contributed 3,000 items to the 2017 Poets House Showcase through Aug. 26 at Poets House in Battery Park City.
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