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Richard Ben Cramer's magazine articles have appeared in ROLLING STONE, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER and ESQUIRE, where he serves as contributing editor, and have been anthologised in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS.
Much of the lowdown here about the ultimate American icon is controversial, but the extent to which it startles or shocks will depend on the reader's knowledge of DiMaggio (1914-1999), since rumors about him have been prevalent for years. Cramer's allegations are many. He documents how DiMaggio beat up Marilyn Monroe on at least three occasions, the most prominent time being the evening that Monroe filmed the famous scene with her dress flying up over her waist as she stands on a New York City subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. After Monroe's divorce from Arthur Miller, she and Joe had a rapprochement, and DiMaggio planned to remarry her on August 8, 1962Dwhich turned out to be the day of Monroe's funeral. Concerning the Mob, Pulitzer Prize-winner Cramer alleges that DiMaggio knew Albert Anastasia, Sam Giancana and Frank Costello. However, although DiMaggio accepted many gifts from them, it was the mobsters who courted DiMaggio, because of his stardomDas they also pursued SinatraDand not the other way around. (At one point, DiMaggio received a trust account at the Bowery Bank set up by Frank Costello that eventually netted DiMaggio over $1 million.) Morris Engelberg is now in the news almost daily and has made a second career for himself as the self-anointed longtime "friend" and trusted "confidant" of DiMaggio. Cramer alleges that Engelberg hijacked many of the products that DiMaggio autographedDworth well over seven figures. Cramer also focuses on what he says were Engelberg's efforts to ease DiMaggio out of this life with the help of morphine suppositories. The author of What It Takes, the epic history of the 1988 presidential race, has written a biography that will have people talking. (Oct. 17) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Ken Garcia San Francisco Chronicle An often brilliant and deeply disturbing look into the rise of one of the country's modern-day giants. Robert Lipsyte The New York Times The most absorbing and readable sports biography in recent memory. Ken Garcia San Francisco Chronicle An often brilliant and deeply disturbing look into the rise of one of the country's modern-day giants. Daniel Okrent Time Absolutely persuasive...Cramer is an all-star reporter....DiMaggio is rendered so vividly you almost want to look away. Larry King USA Today An extraordinary biography...This work will go down as one of the most definitive stories of a life and its times, sports or otherwise....You will not be disappointed.
Cramer does a very creditable job of exploring DiMaggio's life in and out of major league baseball; he's also an excellent reader. We follow "Joltin" Joe from his teens in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood to his death from lung cancer in 1999. This is a story of how Joe the businessman parlayed his athletic talent, baseball success, and name into a personal fortune over nearly 40 years in the public eye. That he still managed to become a baseball hero seems almost coincidental to his single-minded pursuit of cashing in on his skills. Cramer gives especially fine descriptions of DiMaggio's relationships with his first wife, Dorothy, with Marilyn Monroe, and with his son, Joe Jr., each a disaster of major and lasting importance. Adult language and situations occur; highly recommended, but not for fans younger than the later teens. Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.