Read The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville Online


He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized spHe was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports.“[Montville is] one of America’s best sportswriters.” —Chicago TribuneBabe Ruth was more than baseball’s original superstar. For eighty-five years, he has remained the sport’s reigning titan. He has been named Athlete of the Century . . . more than once. But who was this large, loud, enigmatic man? Why is so little known about his childhood, his private life, and his inner thoughts? In The Big Bam, Leigh Montville, whose recent New York Times bestselling biography of Ted Williams garnered glowing reviews and offered an exceptionally intimate look at Williams’s life, brings his trademark touch to this groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the Babe. Based on newly discovered documents and interviews—including pages from Ruth’s personal scrapbooks —The Big Bam traces Ruth’s life from his bleak childhood in Baltimore to his brash entrance into professional baseball, from Boston to New York and into the record books as the world’s most explosive slugger and cultural luminary. Montville explores every aspect of the man, paying particular attention to the myths that have always surrounded him. Did he really hit the “called shot” homer in the 1932 World Series? Were his home runs really “the farthest balls ever hit” in countless ballparks around the country? Was he really part black—making him the first African American professional baseball superstar? And was Ruth the high-octane, womanizing, heavy-drinking “fatso” of legend . . . or just a boyish, rudderless quasi-orphan who did, in fact, take his training and personal conditioning quite seriously?At a time when modern baseball is grappling with hyper-inflated salaries, free agency, and assorted controversies, The Big Bam brings back the pure glory days of the game. Leigh Montville operates at the peak of his abilities, exploring Babe Ruth in a way that intimately, and poignantly, illuminates a most remarkable figure....

Title : The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
Author :
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ISBN : 9780767919715
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-01-21 15:17

    Good choice if you need a concise bio on the Babe. An easy and unobtrusive read, The Big Bam is compact and streamlined, covering Babe Ruth's entire life in as much detail as the casual baseball fan needs.Granted, I don't feel like I really know the man. Biography buffs will want something that digs deeper into his personal life. I know it's hard to come by, but detail on his childhood is scant here. And overall, this treads upon generally known Babe lore: womanizing, food and drink binges, turning the home run into the most important aspect of baseball. Rabid baseball fans will desire more in depth analysis of his career. Being an all-encompassing bio means this doesn't delve too deep into season by season stats much beyond record-breaking totals and such.For those with little-to-no knowledge of the man, this is the book for you! Going in, I knew the name, the legend, some of the stories, but I'd never read a bio on him, never researched him on Wikipedia or any website, so I finally got the well-rounded biography of the Babe that I was looking for.

  • Steven Peterson
    2019-01-05 13:23

    This is a riveting biography of the life of Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, the Big Bam (one nom de guerre that I had never heard before). The author uses notes from a series of researchers, a number of whom wrote their own biographies of Babe Ruth. Hence, he appears to have a rich vein of material from which to mine nuggets on the life of Babe Ruth. The focus of the book (page 5): "This book is an attempt to tell the story again for the Sports Center generation. . . . The approach is not so much to tear down the myths that grew around George Herman Ruth as to explain how and why they developed in the time in which he lived." One metaphor used throughout the volume is "fog," representing those portions of Ruth's life where there is simply little information available. Much of his early childhood is enveloped in the fog. The story of how he moved from "St. Mary's Industrial School for Orphans, Delinquent, Incorrigible, and Wayward Boys to the Baltimore Orioles emerges from the fog and makes for good reading. The book traces Ruth's rise from such humble and inauspicious beginnings to the minor leagues to the Boston Red Sox, where he became a great pitcher and promising hitter, to his purchase by the New York Yankees. The chapters recording his career speak of high points--and low points--and the awesome statistics that he compiled. More interesting, though, is the depiction of his very flawed life. He may have had ADHD, if Montville is correct, but that is of no great moment. The point is that he had a hard time disciplining himself. Only after a wretched year and an as yet to be diagnosed malady that cost him a whole year did he begin to take care of himself. The book does a nice job of recalling his career, his run in with his managers, his up and down relationships with teammates (the retelling of his ties to Lou Gehrig are quite interesting), his off field excesses (whether with food, drink, or women), his almost childlike behavior (the authors equated him to a 15 year old boy), his running through his salary. It also tells the tale of his attempting to take control of his life (with his second wide playing a key role, although their time together was hardly idyllic). The book concludes with Ruth's almost pathetic effort to become a manager while major league owners used and abused him in the process. A nice biography indeed. Montville sometimes appears to venture into terra incognita where the evidentiary bases of his reflections are open to question (e.g., the ADHD diagnosis). But his is a candid biography, showing Ruth off--warts and accomplishments alike.

  • Jill Hutchinson
    2019-01-08 19:19

    I am a great baseball fan and this book beckoned me from the library shelves. I'm glad it did. It traces the life and career of probably the greatest baseball player in history, George Herman Ruth....the Babe, the Bambino, the Big Bam. Much has been written about the Babe, and there is as much mythology as fact that surrounds him.....the "called shot" and the "curse of the Bambino" come to mind. In fact he was brought up in a Catholic orphanage, taken under the wing of a baseball playing priest. entered the major leagues as a pitcher, and soon proved that he could hit the ball a mile. He was a rough talking, hard drinking womanizer who sometimes played better when he had a huge hangover. He married young and had a daughter but both wife and daughter suffered due to his life style and love of the night life. He argued with management, coaches, umpires, and fellow players but he was also a kind man who did much to help friends and especially children.He was the greatest Yankee of all and the stadium, recently replaced, was called the House that Ruth Built. He set the record for home runs in a season of 60 in 1927 until broken by another Yankee, Roger Maris in 1961. But his age, bad habits, and weight finally caught up with him and suddenly he was gone. Baseball was done with him and he could not even get a job as a manager. He frittered away the rest of his life until he died of cancer in 1948. There will never be another like him.

  • Dave Gaston
    2019-01-01 20:01

    A credible and focused recap of all that has been written and researched on the Babe. However, I fault Montville for not going much beyond his main character. He briefly colors his myopic biography with local events but fails to tell the social science study of why Ruth became so much more in the eyes of a troubled nation (War, Depression, etc.) I bet he described the infamous infidelity of Ruth 500 times... but alas, no details. If you are going to be preoccupied by a character flaw, dive into it my boy. Jan 17, 2006.

  • Sandy
    2019-01-22 19:11

    I really enjoyed The Big Bam. Not only because I married a girl named "Bam" but because it is really well researched and written. Some well researched biographies can be good but when you get down to it come across a little boring. Fortunately Leigh Montville is an excellent writer with a fascinating topic. Like most people I knew the broad strokes of the story which is that The Babe was the first great home run hitter, traded early by Red Sox to Yanks, was a pitcher first and lived a hard drinking wild life. I also knew a few detailed stats because they tend to stick in my quantitative brain like the fact he was the first by a long shot to hit 60 homers in a season and totaled 714 in his career while leading the Yankees "Murderers Row" to multiple world series championships in the 1920's.But there is so much more to the story which I really enjoyed learning. His childhood is amazing and Montville does a great job of showing how little is actually known about it. Coming out of a rough and tumble orphanage seems so unlikely and yet it happened. His carousing was indeed legendary and also his disdain for rules. It is hard to picture anyone being able to do whatevery they wanted around pro sports today. It would be like Johnny Manziel living by his own rules and dominating pro football or John Daly in golf doubling Nicklaus's record for Major Wins. The fact was the Babe at his heday really was perhaps the most recognized person in the world??? Setting records that exceeded the previous records by quantum leaps and demanding to be paid accordingly while they whole time doing whatever he wanted to anytime he wanted to. Fun to read and gain perspective on just how big the Sultan of Sway really was!

  • Irfan
    2019-01-13 15:07

    The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth is a very interesting book which talks all about the beautiful life of Babe Ruth. It goes in depth about how Babe Ruth suddenly arose to fame in the 1920’s and how that era started being called The Roaring Twenties. The book follows Ruth from his younger days when he was in the orphanage and includes the first time he ever played baseball with his friends and hit a homerun. Then it goes on to his early days with the Red Sox when he was a very young but excellent pitcher who hasn’t even talked about batting yet. Then it goes to his major trade to the Yankees to the part where he absolutely changed history but transitioning into a batter and breaking all sorts of records. It also mentions him being tested and checked for his hand eye coordination when they suspected him of doing something illegal. The book also talks a lot about the era and how he became a larger than life figure in the 1920’s and why it was the 1920’s rather than the 30’s or 40’s.As a major baseball, Babe Ruth and Yankee fan, I would definitely recommend this all the people who love to read about baseball and the life of athletes. It is an excellent book because it makes a reader think and wonder how Babe Ruth has changed the way all of us play and view baseball.

  • Leigh-ann
    2019-01-09 17:12

    I never had any particular interest in Babe Ruth, and thought of him as "just a baseball player". Reading this book gave me a whole new perspective and an incredible amount of respect for Ruth's accomplishments. He led a life of excess in all departments (alcohol, women, gambling), yet still delivered on the baseball diamond, year after year. Ruth was such a great all-round athlete that in 1933 he pitched a complete game for the Yankees (and won), almost two decades after he first entered the major leagues.I was impressed by Ruth's charity work and his willingness to make himself available to his fans, especially children. In that regard, he seemed to remain a "normal guy". He was also like a big kid who never grew up, though... if he lived today, he'd have a diagnosis of ADHD and be taking Ritalin and Prozac.

  • Rick
    2019-01-15 20:04

    I love these kids of biographies about the old sports heroes of long ago. the Big Bam----obviously about Babe Ruth----was very well-researched and written. the author did a great job of humanizing a guy who, over the years, has taken on an almost myth-like status. Ruth was a very good ball player---pitcher as well as the hitter he was most known for. He came from humble beginnings and worked his way to the top of his profession. On one hand he was always that kid who was plucked out of that school for boys in Baltimore, but he also became the consummate celebrity----with all the temptations and snares that comes with the. Highly recommended book for anyone who loves baseball, back when it was still worth following.

  • Spiros
    2018-12-24 19:06

    Bill "Spaceman" Lee has always spoken well of Leigh Montville, but not having great access to the Boston press, my exposure to him has been limited to his Ted Williams biography, which I flat out could not get into. He does a better job here, but, except for using the word "fog" over and over again, adds nothing to Creamer's definitive work. It is engaging and well written. Maybe I'll give the Williams bio another go.

  • Chris Popp
    2018-12-23 18:09

    This book is fantastic for any baseball history fanatic, this book goes into depth about the life and the background of one of the greatest baseball players ever to step on the plate, Babe Ruth. The depth that Leigh goes into with the background and the stuff Babe did before and outside of baseball is fantastic. Leigh opened us to how Ruth was more then just the slugger he is normally known for, showing us the impact that Babe had on lives outside of baseball. Great for people who enjoy history and baseball, really fantastic read

  • Jay Kennedy
    2019-01-06 12:20

    Terrific look at the man , who in reality, saved baseball. Tremendously easy read that is laid out and concise, also provides the side of the man that should not be celebrated. Easily, in my opinion, the best Ruth saga I've read.

  • Roger Carl
    2019-01-20 14:24

    Great Read!I've read a few Babe Ruth books, this one I learned a few new things and also found it to be a more upbeat style than others but still keeping to the facts. Defintely would recommend this title to others.

  • Daniel DeLappe
    2018-12-25 13:59

    Poorly written and boring. Another boring sports book that protects the game and subject.

  • Jim Swike
    2019-01-19 17:05

    This was the most complete book about Babe Ruth I have read. It is not just about Babe the baseball player, but about the American icon he was and continues to be today. A great read, enjoy!

  • Doug Mitchell
    2019-01-10 13:07

    Rediscovering Babe Ruth“The Big Bam – The Life and Times of Babe Ruth”by Leigh MontvilleDoubleday, 2006I was given “The Big Bam” as a gift last fall by a great friend who knows of my passion for baseball. I decided then that the right time to read the book would be at the start of the 2007 baseball season as Barry Bonds began his march toward becoming the all-time homerun leader.Having read and been disappointed by a number of other sports biographies, I must admit that I didn’t hold out much promise for “The Big Bam.” I was pleasantly surprised.Well written and fast paced, “The Big Bam” does a very good job of taking the reader through the times of this larger than life American legend. The author, Leigh Montville, does a very good job at the very outset to recognize that his book is neither the first nor the last book about Ruth. He gives extensive credit where it is due to other authors whohad done much of the original research on Ruth and in so doing Montville tells us this will be more of an interpretive tale than simply a telling of facts.In reality, it is both.In the context of today’s discussions about Barry Bonds and steroid use in particular and the bad behavior of too many athletes in general, it is interesting to reflect on the life of Babe Ruth. Under the media microscope that is today’s CNN/ESPN culture, Babe Ruth would likely never have hit 714 home runs. He drank, he gambled, he cheated on his wife, likely had at least one child out of wedlock, was suspended from baseball for extended periods more than once and, in Montville’s account, is the 1920’s version of Terrell Owens, Ron Artest or – dare I say it, Barry Bonds. Amazingly though, one finds it hard to judge Ruth from this reading. Perhaps it is the style Montville brings to the story and perhaps it is the time that has passed between the events and the tellin g of them. I don’t know.What I do know is that the facts about Babe Ruth’s career accomplishments are simply breathtaking. Most sports fans know that Barry Bonds is closing in on Hank Aaron’s 755 home runs and that Aaron bypassed Ruth’s 714 when he took Al Downing deep in 1974 - a game I watched as a 8th grader at the home of my friend John Noguchi. 714, 755, however many Bonds ends up hitting – all pretty close.But whose record did Ruth break – someone at about 650? 600? Think again. Babe Ruth became the all-time home run leader when he hit home run number 139. Think of that. Moving a record from 138 to 714. Unbelievable.Oh, and by the way, Babe could pitch a little bit. In fact, he pitched a complete game victory in 1933 at the age of 39 (against the Red Sox of course), and was 23-12 in 1916 with a 1.75 ERA.These fun facts mix well with the story of Babe Ruth as a real man – warts and all. In the telling of t he story, Montville teaches us a bit about baseball and a lot about America at the time. We view both World War I and the Great Depression from a decidedly non-traditional vantage point. We get a picture of the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys where Ruth was dropped of by his parents at the age of nine and through that the challenges of raising children in industrial America at the turn of the 20th century.I don’t think you need to be a baseball fan to enjoy “The Big Bam” – but I think it helps. This is particularly true early in the book where Montville’s writing tries too hard to be clever and fails. After the first 20 pages though, this book moves well and I couldn’t help but reflect as I read “The Big Bam” about how the world - and the game of baseball has changed.Later this summer, Barry Bonds will likely eclipse Hank Aaron’s record this year, and Alex Rodriguez may very well pass Barry Bonds in a few more. But somehow, Babe Ruth will always be The King.

  • Joe Scott
    2019-01-08 13:13

    Excellent! A fascinating read!

  • Peter
    2019-01-05 17:12

    Riveting. If Ruth wasn't bigger than life, he certainly was bigger than baseball. It's strange, because he was a regular guy, loaded with vices and LOUD about them. The writer's back then didn't look to destroy him as they would today. Rather they wrote their stories with the sordid details missing, and the readers were left to fill in the blanks. The readers did so, and the Babe's life became a tapestry of myth, legend, and fact.And by the way, for all the Tiger Woods, Micheal Jordan, and other superstar "innovators" of the world, they all take a back seat to Babe Ruth. NOBODY did what he did before he did it. He completely changed the way a sport was played. More later.Okay...just finished it. The ending was quite sad (what a shocker). People took advantage of the Babe. But, on to my quiz for posterity...1) How did people take advantage of the Babe?Let me count the ways. First of all, as were all ballplayers at the time, he was bound to his team. No free agency. No "seeing what the market will bear." The owner offered you X, you countered with Y, maybe settled in between, but if you realized what a dog X was to begin with, you would, well do nothing about it because you couldn't.Enough with the generalities. Ruth demanded the biggest salaries of his day. $10K a year; $30K a year; $50K a year. At his peak, $125K a year. That translates to about the salary of a third-rate shortstop salary in today's dollars. Call it a couple million (ARod makes $30 million a year).I mentioned the sad ending. All Babe wanted to do when he retired was manage a team. No team in their right mind would hire him in that capacity. The argument always was, "If you can't even manage yourself, how can you manage a team?" Quite true. Ruth was a mess. More on that later. Anyhoo, finally the Boston Braves offer him a position where he has a chance to manage, stock options, and a vice-president moniker. Can any of you see through those smokescreens? Of course, the Babe accepted and the owner promptly reneged on all of it. He was hired to "ride the elephant". He was an attraction. Nothing more.2) What do you mean...More later. Baby crying.

  • J.S.
    2018-12-29 19:17

    He was a hero to millions and known by an assortment of names: The Sultan of Swat, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bambino, and on and on and on. Fans called him The Babe, but his teammates called him The Bam. He is legendary for his ability to smash home runs, setting a record that stood until only recently (and many will argue that it still stands), and nearly every one was "the longest ball ever hit" in that park. Legend has it that near the end of his career he even had the arrogance to point to the center field stands and then send the ball there on the very next pitch - "The Called Shot." He started out as a pitcher, and a good one, too, but hitting the ball was what brought the crowds to the stadium. You could even say he singlehandedly changed the game. He had a talent for baseball and boundless energy that few have ever matched. Unfortunately, that energy earned him plenty of trouble off the field. His off hours were usually spent drinking excessively and carousing all night long. That didn't stop him from turning in another great performance at the ballpark the next day, but it ruined his marriage and chances of coaching after his career was finished. He was hard enough to handle as a player and owners didn't want to deal with him as a manager. He was a lousy father and a worse husband, never having seen a good example of either on account of being left to an orphanage at a young age. All those years of privation and meagerness came busting out in a headlong rush once he had money, and the money usually followed just as fast. Leigh Montville has done a great job of putting together the life and times of George Herman Ruth. He's done extensive research but doesn't try to fill in the unknown gaps - the fog - where little or nothing is known. He presents the facts and stories and legends and lets the reader decide. He's not here to "tear down the myths" either, but to tell the "Sportscenter generation" the story of one of the greatest baseball players ever, even if it isn't always the prettiest story to tell. And that's what is so entertaining about this book; it's partly hero-worship that shows us the hero was part-man, too. The pedestal he stands on may be a little wobbly, but he's still there.

  • Jeff
    2019-01-19 17:05

    In the mid-1990’s while on an extended vacation to New York City one of the places I made the pilgrimage to was the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The HOF is an amazing place to be sure but the stand out moment and the memory that has stuck with to this day was when I weaved my way through the museum to Babe Ruth’s display or should I say room. I’m a confirmed Non-Yankee Fan but the instant I walked into the room with Ruth’s memorabilia my mouth fell open in awe and goose bumps covered my entire body. The room by its self is very impressive, the single room that is devoted to him is larger than any of the others for any other player in the HOF and deservedly so. You quickly begin to see why when you begin to look at the amazing statistics he piled up in his 22 year Major League career. Most people know about his home run records but few know the whole story statistically about Ruth. You take one look at the photos, the uniforms, the video’s, the testimonials, the newspaper clippings and of course his records and you begin to see why he was called the greatest athlete in the history of baseball and some would say of any sport.That day I acquired a new found respect for him. No other player in the history of baseball will ever reach the level of complete domination that he accomplished. He owned baseball like Henry Ford owned Ford Motor Company except Ruth owned General Motors and all the other car companies combined. This book gives you all the facts that are known of his life from beginning to end. Once he became the King of Baseball all of the excesses in his personal life made some people hold him in contempt. Most forgive him for those indiscretions though because he was just a happy go lucky likable man child that could accomplish unheard of feats on a baseball diamond.I came away with several thoughts after finishing the book. One was had Ruth had the good sense to take better care of himself physically he would have set records that would have never ever been broken. The other is I’m an even bigger fan and admirer of him now than I was 20 years ago.

  • Brian
    2019-01-05 13:04

    Big Bam366 PagesBabe Ruth was a unknown person, with people not knowing about his life and even his existence... until he got to the high school. This was a big step in Babe "Big Bam" Ruth's life. He went from a mediocre St. Mary's baseball player to a starting Boston Red Sox Pitcher and then a Batter (Because of his talent and all-around skills). Babe was such a great all-around baseball player that he threw a No-Hitter and hit 30 Home-runs in the same year! He was the Miguel Cabrera of his time. Lou Gehrig and him were known as Murderers' Row, because they were the two best hitters in the league and batted right next to each other in the lineup. But as the book progressed, Babe started to smoke, drink, and spent time with women more then his sports allowed.As this book ended, Babe died but left a legacy and left a goal to be reached for many others players in the MLB now and to come. He was the best of his time, but his actions did not make him a great person to be around.I thought that this book was just average because of the sequence of events in this book. I believe that this books' chapters should be rearranged to fit the tone of the author. Plus, it would help convey the message of the book better. I did like this book, also, because of the great facts on Babe Ruth that I never knew before. I did not even now that one of his nicknames was the "Big Bam."

  • carltheaker
    2019-01-05 16:10

    In our elementary school classroom we had a collection of theorange bound biographies, on presidents, inventors, explorers, patriots.The only marking on the memorable covers was the name. Among theseveral I read, one was labeled 'Babe Ruth'. The next year or so infourth grade, despite misgivings from the librarian, I checked out agrownup bio on the Babe. Well, she was right it was too tough for meto get through it. My Mom & Dad had stories and opinions on the Babe, though they wouldhave only been unaware infants when he was finishing his playing career.Sports heroes are popular in their heyday. How did this one pervade thepop culture decades later enough to enter the thoughts of kids? 'The Big Bam' is entertaining, even if you're familiar with the Babe,Montville notes that afterall, there are 27 other bios available, it's afun refresher. I found myself laughing out loud at a few events and onceagain marveling at his popularity and achievements. Despite the vast coverage before and after Babe was alive , Montvillenotes the various areas of which little is known, for example, hisparents, who dropped him off at the orphanage one day when he was 7 yearsold. The author hints at providing more insight but in the end, stillleaves us curious. He more or less just gets specific about what is notknown and now, with the participants long gone, unknowable.

  • Andy Miller
    2019-01-16 19:21

    The author, Leigh Montville, starts this biography of Babe Ruth by describing at length the spate of biographies written about Babe Ruth in the mid seventies almost apologetically foreshadowing that his biography will not have anything new to add aside from at times a quirky narrative. One quirk that grew more irritating as the book went on was his repeated references to the "fog" that surrounds much of Ruth's life, anytime Montville discussed an interesting part of Ruth's life, he would end by saying something about the fog keeping us from knowing what really happenedThe biography does cover his off the field adventures, his drinking, eating, womanizing so we have his full life, though oddly enough I don't think the book does justice to what an amazing player Ruth was. Bill Bryson in his book "1927" did a much better job of describing Ruth's extraordinary baseball prowess even though Ruth was only one of the many stories in his bookIn the past few years there have been great biographies on Henry Aaron, Hank Greenburg, Willie Mays, and Ted Williams that were not only great baseball biographies but told us about the times these great players lived in. This biography does not measure up to them

  • Art
    2019-01-08 17:00

    What better way to begin a marathon July Fourth holiday read than to finish a book about the All-American slugger, Babe Ruth?Clearly he may have been one of the best pitchers and hitters to ever play the game. He revolutionized the approach to hitting and home runs and changed the game forever.Just as I was surprised to discover Ted Williams was Hispanic, I was surprised to find that in his time people thought Babe might be African American. Leigh Montville's fine book goes to great lengths to try to differentiate the legends, the facts and the sheer unknowns about Ruth.Some of them blur and it is difficult to tell which is which. But Montville does a fine job of presenting his evidence and telling a compelling story about a boy who spent his youth in a school for "orphans, delinquents, incorrigible and wayward boys."Much of his adult life is clearly a result of that upbringing, including the way he hit a baseball and ran the bases.The most troubling conclusion I had from reading this book: Bryce Harper will be a New York Yankee.It never occurred to me (I know it should have) that Bryce's Bam Bam nickname is a pure takeoff on Ruth's Big Bam monicker. I always envisioned the Flintstones. Duh...

  • Janine Urban
    2019-01-15 12:59

    The Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, the Big Bam, the King of Crash, the Colossus of Clot. These names only scratch the surface of who Babe Ruth was. Most of the story of George Herman Ruth is in a fog according to the author. We will never know the full story of Babe Ruth and it will be forever lost in time. Perhaps, just the way the Babe wanted it. From his upbringing in a boys home at a young age to his rise in the major league, it seems like he was always trying to fill a void. He is a glutton. An overgrown child who delighted in practical jokes. Picking fights and staying out all night to party. Affairs, car accidents, going to jail. The world was his oyster and he wanted to have as much fun as he could. But I don't think he ever left behind that seven year old boy that was dropped off at the boys home. I love baseball. Summer nights at Candlestick park, peanuts, over priced soda, take me out to the ball game, and the whole shebang. This book left me with nothing like that feeling. And the author discussed a fair amount of baseball. The book, while good for the limited amount on Ruth's life that is available, seemed to lack a spark. Ruth was larger than life. And this book was not large enough for him.

  • Tyler Jones
    2019-01-21 16:09

    Like many people my age who only follow baseball casually, my knowledge of the life and times of Babe Ruth is fuzzy. I knew he was a pitcher with the Red Sox before going to the Yankees. I had heard the story of the kid in the hospital that he promised to hit a home run for, as well as the story of him pointing to the bleachers with his bat just before smashing a homerun to that spot during the World Series - but I had no idea if either story was true. Of course I knew he was the dominate player of his era but until reading Montville’s The Big Bam I had no idea just how dominate - that he forever changed the way the game was played.I have not read other biographies of Ruth, but I sense that Montville’s portrait is as close as we can hope to get. It appears to be meticulously researched (what a bibliography!) and his style is engaging enough that he does not need to overstate the facts to keep the reader’s attention. Of course with a subject like Ruth one hardly needs to overstate facts, but Montville does a great job in making the man seem more human than mythical.More than just a biography of Ruth, the book goes far in explaining what life in America between the wars was like. Not just a great baseball book - but a very good history book too.

  • Emily
    2019-01-07 16:02

    ***Finished*** The book indeed picked up around page 170 (of 400+ pages). I can't figure out why it took so long to heat up - there wasn't a lot of information about Ruth's formative years, so maybe that's it. Or, perhaps I just liked reading about the glory years of Ruth alongside Gehrig and hearing about what baseball was like in the Great Depression. The most frustrating part of this biography was the lack of, well, biographical info. Ruth rarely talked about his past, his family life, etc. Regardless, I really enjoyed the book, and learned even more about why folks say he's the great baseball player to ever play the game. Refreshing to read in "the steroid era"I read Montville's Ted Williams biography, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The Big Bam is a little less engaging thus far, but I am sure it will pick up. Montville claims to have written this book to tell Babe's story to "the Sportscenter generation", but I am having a bit of a time connecting with his voice. Regardless, I am anxious to finish this!

  • Leah
    2019-01-12 15:13

    Though I'm a big baseball fan, I don't know too much about Babe Ruth. I had no idea he started as a pitcher! The man was quite the ball player!That being said, he really wasn't that nice of a guy. I wonder why authors want to write books and books and books about people just because they are famous. There really wasn't much to like about Babe Ruth. I haven't read anything else about him but this book was filled with holes in his life. The author more often than not said "this area of his life is foggy" or "Did Babe do this? Or that? We don't know." Again, I understand how after all these years, stuff might not be known but then why write about it over and over and over again? And why make a book longer by debating whether or not the Babe cried at his father's grave? I enjoyed all the baseball references from the time period. The book was done well considering all the unknowns.

  • Mike
    2019-01-10 17:06

    I did not enjoy this book at all because of the pace and the style that the author chose to write this book in. The main reason why I didn't enjoy reading this book at all is because of how the author wrote the book. At times she would state a fact or an event, but then in the next sentence she will say, "or maybe this happened. Nobody actually knows." And it would just throw everything off because I questioned if the author actually knew anything about Babe Ruth besides his baseball career. Honestly the only reason why I suffered through the pages of confusing and nonsense details was because I wanted to hear about the career of Babe Ruth. I would not recommend this book to anyone, unless you enjoy being drowned in confusion, because it made the life of Babe Ruth more cloudy to me, instead of making it more clear.

  • Justin
    2019-01-19 15:05

    The thing I take from a book like this is while Babe Ruth may have been a little over the top during his playing days, he is a sympathetic figure in a lot of ways. He was a boy without a family, raised in a school for "wayward boys", and then thrust into the spotlight as the nation's greatest baseball player. For all the money he made as a player, the revenues he generated was much greater than that. All he wanted to do was show that he could manage in the majors, and like much of his career, he was used to make more money for the owners of baseball. I thought it was a clear look into the world that was Babe Ruth and worked to dispell a lot of the mythology around the legend of the Great Bambino.

  • james
    2019-01-08 17:02

    This is a superior book about one of the most famous sports figures of the last 100 years in America: Babe Ruth. The author tries to dispel the fog surrounding many details of the Babe's life, especially his early years. Also, there is a great deal about the media developing in the 1st half of the 20th Century from simple reports of each game, to the practice of reporters travelling with teams, to players submitting ghost-written articles, to the beginning of radio, and finally the televising of baseball games beginning as Babe Ruth was dying. This book contains plenty for all readers to enjoy.