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As the New York Yankees’ star centerfielder from 1936 to 1951, Joe DiMaggio is enshrined in America’s memory as the epitome in sports of grace, dignity, and that ineffable quality called “class.” But his career after retirement, starting with his nine-month marriage to Marilyn Monroe, was far less auspicious. Writers like Gay Talese and Richard Ben Cramer have painted the private DiMaggio as cruel or self-centered. Now, Jerome Charyn restores the image of this American icon, looking at DiMaggio’s life in a more sympathetic liAs the New York Yankees’ star centerfielder from 1936 to 1951, Joe DiMaggio is enshrined in America’s memory as the epitome in sports of grace, dignity, and that ineffable quality called “class.” But his career after retirement, starting with his nine-month marriage to Marilyn Monroe, was far less auspicious. Writers like Gay Talese and Richard Ben Cramer have painted the private DiMaggio as cruel or self-centered. Now, Jerome Charyn restores the image of this American icon, looking at DiMaggio’s life in a more sympathetic light. DiMaggio was a man of extremes, superbly talented on the field but privately insecure, passive, and dysfunctional. He never understood that for Monroe, on her own complex and tragic journey, marriage was a career move; he remained passionately committed to her throughout his life. He allowed himself to be turned into a sports memorabilia money machine. In the end, unable to define any role for himself other than “Greatest Living Ballplayer,” he became trapped in “a horrible kind of minutia.” But where others have seen little that was human behind that minutia, Charyn in Joe DiMaggio presents the tragedy of one of American sports’ greatest figures.ght. DiMaggio was a man of extremes, superbly talented on the field but privately insecure, passive, and dysfunctional. He never understood that for Monroe, on her own complex and tragic journey, marriage was a career move; he remained passionately committed to her throughout his life. He allowed himself to be turned into a sports memorabilia money machine. In the end, unable to define any role for himself other than “Greatest Living Ballplayer,” he became trapped in “a horrible kind of minutia.” But where others have seen little that was human behind that minutia, Charyn in Joe DiMaggio presents the tragedy of one of American sports’ greatest figures.

Want to know about DiMaggio after he left baseball? This book will shed light on what his life was like and how others around him adjusted. Here we get an inside view to his sad marriage to Marilyn Monroe.  What looked like the dream marriage to outsiders was a tormented and often lonely life. Which person would he wake up to: Marilyn or  Norma Jean?

So often when we hear the name DiMaggio we picture him at his height in popularity in baseball. We tend to forget the man he was after he left and how lonely and sad he was. After leaving baseball (and really through it) DiMaggio was not a man to seek out publicity and press. Because of this I was shocked to learn how much he participated in it after Marilyn passed away. While I can understand his need to feel present, it was an unexpected fact.

If you like DiMaggio, or even Marilyn, this will be an interesting, if not sobering book to pick up. The whole book is written chronologically and we see him from the top of his career, to him being heartbroken, back to finding love, to being heartbroken yet again. Is there anything in this book that is ground breaking, no, however do I think anyone who wants to know more about the entire life of this man should pick this up? Yes. Just be prepared to read some interesting, it at time not uncomfortable revelations on his supreme obsessiveness with his wife Marilyn Monroe. What goes on behind closed doors is certainly not what the public was shown.

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