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Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

The Hero's Life

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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Read an Excerpt

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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About the Author

Richard Ben Cramer
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Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer (1950-2013) won the Pulitzer Prize for Middle East reporting in 1979. His journalism has appeared in TimeNewsweekThe New York Times MagazineEsquire, and Rolling Stone. He is the author of How Israel Lost: The Four Questions and the classic of modern American politics What It Takes: The Way to the White House.

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