56

  • by Kostya Kennedy
  • Narrated by Kevin T. Collins
  • 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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What the Critics Say

"The era, the ballplayer and the record are all laid out beautifully.... The tension of the times is matched by the pressure of the streak." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Kennedy combines the sweep of a historian, the narrative power of a novelist and the passion of a fan." (Newsday)
"56 - the number alone still has meaning, but there is a compelling and textured story behind it, a story that pre- and postdates the summer of 1941. Kostya Kennedy tells that story beautifully." (Bob Costas, NBC sportscaster)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent story...Painful oration!

It goes without saying by any baseball fan or sports historian that "56" needs no explanation. You don't have to be a Yankee fan to understand the significance of the streak, and what it would take to break it and you don't have to be a baseball fan to understand that there is little if anything in any other sport that mirrors this accomplishment. It's awe-inspiring! It humbles the average man and probably every ball player past and present to think of how magnificent this total really is.

There are a few numbers, at least for me, that need no explanation. .402, 756, 61 (yes, still the records in my mind), and of course 56. But of all those marks, 56 is the one that stands out. That is the mark that will most likely never be broken, at least in my life time and will always evoke some sort of passion among baseball fans even if they didn't personally witness any part of it being made. I didn't but still know what it means to baseball. And to think what it take to get there is astounding. The author does a very good job throughout the text drawing comparisons between former and current players and among other athletes. He also does and excellent job of showing the math behind the streak, showing the reader exactly how improbable it really was.

I enjoyed most of the dialog though I'm not a Yankee fan by any stretch and after reading the countless other stories about DiMaggio and how he acted toward others both in and around baseball rubbed me the wrong way. He's always seemed like sort of a jerk, plain and simple.

The oration was atrocious! Kevin Collins does a horrible job of pretending to be Ken Burns with his over-emphasis on every syllable and his over-worked effort to make the story sound more dramatic than it actually is. 56! I get it! Lose the inflection and read the book! Sorry, painful is all I can think to describe his reading. If you want a better read on the subject which captures the entirety of 1941, take a look at "Real Grass, Real Heroes".

I liked the story and will never get enough of the subject so I recommend the book to any baseball or sports fan who wants to compare what "Joltin' Joe" did. It is well worth the credit if you can get past the painful narration.
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- Rick "Rick H."

Rough start but worth it...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Good for baseball fans....


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It really should be more chronological than it is...


Which scene was your favorite?

some of the analytics of how unlikely the streak is were really interesting...


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no


Any additional comments?

Good one for baseball fans...

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- jeffrey "Father of three with no time to actually read, but also a former history teacher and current attorney with a long commute-I love audiobooks."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-11-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios