Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him–and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.’s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America–and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter’s box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not.
“THE KID” is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at–bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee’s marvelous book clears the fences, too.
Bradlee’s third book was “Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North.” Published by Donald I. Fine Inc. in 1988, the book chronicled North and the Iran–Contra affair, and was the basis for a four-hour television mini-series which aired on CBS in May of 1989.
Bradlee was co-author of “Prophet of Blood” – the story of polygamous cult leader and self–styled prophet–of–God Ervil LeBaron, whom authorities considered responsible for up to a dozen murders in the Intermountain West and Mexico during the 70’s. The book – which explored the interplay between sex, violence and religion in an offshoot of the Mormon Church – was published by G.P. Putnam in 1981.
Ben’s first book was “The Ambush Murders,” the case of a black activist accused – and ultimately acquitted after three trials – of killing two white policemen in Riverside, Calif. It was a story about small–town justice and how justice functions in emotionally–charged circumstances when police investigate the deaths of two of their own. The book was published in 1979 by Dodd, Mead, and later made into a television movie for CBS.