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Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

The Hero's Life

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Joe DiMaggio was, at every turn, one man we could look at who made us feel good.
In the hard-knuckled thirties, he was the immigrant boy who made it big -- and spurred the New York Yankees to a new era of dynasty. He was Broadway Joe, the icon of elegance, the man who wooed and won Marilyn Monroe -- the most beautiful girl America could dream up.
Joe DiMaggio was a mirror of our best self. And he was also the loneliest hero we ever had.
In this groundbreaking biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer presents a shocking portrait of a complicated, enigmatic life. The story that DiMaggio never wanted told, tells of his grace -- and greed; his dignity, pride -- and hidden shame. It is a story that sweeps through the twentieth century, bringing to light not just America's national game, but the birth (and the price) of modern national celebrity.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 560 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684865478 | 
  • October 2001
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Chapter 1

Joe DiMaggio sat on the tar of the playground, with his back against the wall on the Powell Street side, his legs cocked in front of him like a couple of pickets. At fifteen, Joe was mostly legs -- leg-bones, more like it -- and a head taller than his friends. It was Niggy Fo who gave him his nickname, Coscilunghi -- that meant "Long-legs" in Sicilian.

All the boys on the North Beach playground had names -- that meant you were in, you belonged there. There was Shabby Minafo and his brother, Bat (he only wanted to bat), and Hungry Geraldi (he could really eat); Friggles Tomei had those fancy feet at second base;... see more

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