56 by Kostya Kennedy
Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

73%

6 Critic Reviews

Kennedy creates a dynamic portrait of the young star as he tried to keep the streak alive. Elegant both on and off the field, DiMaggio remained somehow distanced and detached, and the author draws precise character sketches of those closest to him...
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Seventy baseball seasons ago, on a May afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio lined a hard single to left field. It was the quiet beginning to the most resonant baseball achievement of all time. Starting that day, the vaunted Yankee center fielder kept on hitting-at least one hit in game after game after game.

In the summer of 1941, as Nazi forces moved relentlessly across Europe and young American men were drafted by the millions, it seemed only a matter of time before the U.S. went to war. The nation was apprehensive. Yet for two months in that tense summer, America was captivated by DiMaggio's astonishing hitting streak. In 56, Kostya Kennedy tells the remarkable story of how the streak found its way into countless lives, from the Italian kitchens of Newark to the playgrounds of Queens to the San Francisco streets of North Beach; from the Oval Office of FDR to the Upper West Side apartment where Joe's first wife, Dorothy, the movie starlet, was expecting a child. In this crisp, evocative narrative Joe DiMaggio emerges in a previously unseen light, a 26-year-old on the cusp of becoming an icon. He comes alive-a driven ballplayer, a mercurial star and a conflicted husband-as the tension and the scrutiny upon him build with each passing day.

DiMaggio's achievement lives on as the greatest of sports records. Alongside the story of DiMaggio's dramatic quest, Kennedy deftly examines the peculiar nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens both the math and the magic of 56 games in a row.
 

About Kostya Kennedy

See more books from this Author
Kostya Kennedy, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, writes on a wide range of subjects. Before joining SI, he was a staff writer at Newsday and contributed to The New York Times and The New Yorker. He earned an M.S. from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a Pulitzer Fellowship. He lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, N.Y.
 
Published March 10, 2011 by Sports Illustrated Books. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for 56
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Feb 01 2011

Kennedy creates a dynamic portrait of the young star as he tried to keep the streak alive. Elegant both on and off the field, DiMaggio remained somehow distanced and detached, and the author draws precise character sketches of those closest to him...

Read Full Review of 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MARC TRACY on Jun 03 2011

Kostya Kennedy, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, strains to prove the impressiveness of Joe DiMaggio’s record consecutive-game hit streak with expert testimony...and with day-by-day retelling.

Read Full Review of 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last... | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 11 2011

Kennedy recaps those 56 games and brilliantly depicts an era free of 24-hour-news cycles and social networks, a time when newspapers and the radio delivered information first.

Read Full Review of 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Above average
on Mar 08 2011

For all the drama Kennedy puts forth, once DiMaggio bettered the previous record of 44 games set by Wee Willie Keeler, everything that followed was just a matter of curiosity, since regardless of what would happen, he would own the new mark.

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Deseret News

Good
on Aug 20 2011

Kennedy has made "56" much more than a biography of a streak. It also serves as psychological profile of DiMaggio...of the nature of high performance and of how one surpassing record turned a 26-year-old superstar into a great American icon.

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Sports Book Review Center

Good
Reviewed by Budd Bailey on Jul 01 2014

If you've ever wondered what all the fuss was about it when it comes to Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak, this explains it. Kostya Kennedy does a fine job of setting the record-breaking event into the context of sport and society.

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Reader Rating for 56
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 152 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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