Page by Page: Book Reviews

Some of the President’s Men

The Fixers is a solid piece of investigative journalism, an anti-Trump book, to be sure, but objective and fair enough to be read by Trump partisans with interest, and even a limited level of enjoyment.

Sparky’s Opus

As I made my way through the book, I resisted the urge to cherry-pick essays by my favored cartoonists and writers, plowing straight through, which is probably the wrong way to read this book.

How Bitterness Nearly Destroyed a Great Athlete

Joe Frazier deserves more than a lurking presence in Ali’s shadow, and he knew it. As Mark Kram Jr. puts it in his new biography, Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier, “the antipathy he harbored for Ali simmered just below a boil” even to the end of his life.

Smallpox: The Rise and Decline of a Deadly Plague

The program to eradicate smallpox was always underfunded, encountered numerous obstacles from obstructionist, incompetent governments to floods, civil wars, famines, and droughts. It is a story that makes one believe that human beings are worth believing in.

What Sports Patrons Buy and Why They Buy It

As Cohan perceptively notes, fans tend to consider their sporting loyalties as matters of “nonfiction,” rooted in actual people and real action. In fact, our fandom consists of interpretative storytelling. We consume the tales generated by sports competition, and we refashion them to suit our personal needs.

Gotta Dance

Kevin Winkler titled his book Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical to assert Fosse’s major role in four decades of development in American musical theater and in contemporary pop culture. Big Deal is also the title of Fosse’s last Broadway show and his first Broadway flop.

Baseball in 1950s America

All in all, Roberts and Smith have offered us popular, rather than scholarly, history. Reading about Mantle and the Yankees is a pleasant exercise for anyone who likes baseball, and particularly for those who enjoyed some of those 1950s seasons.