He was one of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend, and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? New York Times best-selling author Leigh Montville delivers an intimate, riveting account of this extraordinary life. Still a gangly teenager when he stepped into a Boston Red Sox uniform in 1939, Williams' boisterous personality and penchant for towering home runs earned him adoring admirers (the fans) and venomous critics (the sportswriters). In 1941, the entire country followed Williams' stunning .406 season, a record that has not been touched in over six decades. At the pinnacle of his prime, Williams left Boston to train and serve as a fighter pilot in World War II, missing three full years of baseball. He was back in 1946, dominating the sport alongside teammates Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr.
Ted Willams' personal life was equally colorful. His attraction to women (and their attraction to him) was a constant. He was married and divorced three times, and he fathered two daughters and a son. He was one of corporate America's first modern spokesmen, and he remained, nearly into his eighties, a fiercely devoted fisherman. With his son, John Henry Williams, he devoted his final years to the sports memorabilia business, even as illness overtook him. In death, controversy and public outcry followed Williams, the result of disagreements among his children over the decision to have his body preserved in a cryonics facility; a fate, many argue, Williams never wanted.
With unmatched verve and passion, and drawing upon hundreds of interviews, acclaimed best-selling author Leigh Montville brings to life Ted Williams' superb triumphs, lonely tragedies, and intensely colorful personality, in a biography that is fitting of an American hero and legend.
"Thanks to the author's ability to track down new sources of information, Montville presents a more nuanced portrayal of the baseball star than many previous biographies....An extraordinary glimpse into Williams' complex psyche." (Publishers Weekly)
"Montville...offers a warts-and-all portrait of the Red Sox star but also shows Williams' wit, empathy, intelligence, uncommon loyalty to those he called friends, and unswerving commitment to excellence." (Booklist)
"The strength of Montville's book derives from how Williams emerges from all of this not as victimized but as accountable. It is unlikely that any reader could view Ted Williams just as a ballplayer ever again." (The New York Times Book Review)
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