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Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    Scott Simon Rocks

    This is the most incredible 'sports meets politics' book I've ever read. It flows beautifully and seamlessly from Chicago lore to Chicago sports to Scott's relationship with his comedian father. I've loved every minute of this book and would highly recommend it to all who enjoy and intelligently written and conceived book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2002

    Great sports book

    Simon writes about some of the stars we all know: Jordan, Rodman, Ditka, and others. But he comes at them from completely new angles, giving us views we've never had before. He loves sports but he's not blind to the foibles of the big names. He also gives us a wonderful look at his family and friends, and shows us who the real heroes are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2000

    Sweet Home Chicago

    Scott Simon is the host of National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, one of the finest weekly hours available in any medium. His reporting is intelligent and insightful, and his interviews are always conducted with respect and sensitivity. Simon is from Chicago and extremely proud of it, a charter member of what he calls Chicagoans Abroad, whose main focus is Chicago sports teams. His book Home and Away is subtitled Memoir of a Fan, and so it is, by a man whose center is not only a city but the Cubs (and to a lesser extent the White Sox), da Bears, and most of all the Bulls. He was born to be a sports fan; his father Ernie Simon lived and breathed baseball and was for a time the field announcer for the Cleveland Indians (during a period of exile from Chicago). Ernie Simon's best friend was Jack Brickhouse, the Cubs announcer for many years who preceded Harry Caray in that capacity. As a small boy Scott pretended to be Billy Pierce, a White Sox pitcher, and had the overwhelming experience of meeting his idol, thanks to 'Uncle Jack' Brickhouse. They would meet again 40 years later as pallbearers for Uncle Jack. Although primarily a sports memoir, this is also the story of Scott's father, Ernie Simon, a comedian of some note and unfortunately an alcoholic who died young; his mother, whom her son still considers the most beautiful woman in Chicago; and Ralph Newman, his mother's second husband, a Lincoln scholar, sports fan, and all-around mensch. The story takes us through Scott's adolescence as a student radical, present at the 1968 Democratic Convention while The Whole World Was Watching, to his NPR career, on assignment in the Gulf War, Sarajevo, and elsewhere. And everywhere he went, he found fans of the Cubs, the Bears, and the Bulls. Indeed, in the period of the Bulls' NBA domination, it is fair to say that this team was common currency throughout the entire world, and no one embodied Chicago and perhaps the USA, better than Michael Jordan. Simon traces the ebbs and flows of the Cubs, telling stories of quotable manager Leo Durocher, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and others, with detours to legendary White Sox owner Bill Veeck, and Rocky Colavito, whose trade from Cleveland to Detroit in 1960 is considered by some in Cleveland to have marked the beginning of the city's decline. The season of 1969, painful for a Cubs fan to recall because of its wonderful beginning and slow death in September, is recounted as a tragedy, unlike the version you will hear from Mets fans. In like fashion, Simon tells the history of the Bears, unable to win a championship with the transcendent stars of their day, Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers (the best running back I ever saw), as well as another retelling of the colorful life and tragic death of Brian Piccolo. Then appears Mike Ditka, a hard-nosed Bear if there ever was one, who wrote to owner George Halas from his post as an assistant coach in Dallas, asking him for a chance to coach his old team. Given that chance, Ditka put the final pieces in place (especially a quarterback named McMahon) for the finest season in Bear history, their rush to the Super Bowl in 1985-86, truly The Year of the Bear. It is the subject of the Bulls, however, which receives the most heartfelt attention from Simon. He is not only a fan, but an extremely lucky fan, who met some of the players (Luc Longley, Steve Kerr) through his profession and thereby gained entry to the inner workings of the team, the players and their families, and the atmosphere of the locker room. He gives us a mini-biography of Michael Jordan, including criticism (such as a crass remark to teammate Joe Kleine in the aftermath of the Bulls' last championship) and a loving appreciation of The Man Who Owned (and continues to own) Chicago. For those of us from elsewhere, this section perhaps dwells a little too long on Michael, Scottie, and Phil, the mainstays of the Bulls, and maybe is a little too forgiving of the antics of Dennis Rodman; this last

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2000

    Love all things 'CHICAGO'?

    Did you grow up or live in Chicago in the late 50's; the 60's, 70's, 80's, or early 90's? Do you get chills thinking about the Butkus/Sayers Bears, smile sadly about the Durocher Cubs, get pumped up about the 'Super Bowl Shuffle' Bears, soar emotionally about the Jordan Bulls? If the answer to one or more of these questions is 'yes', then Scott Simon's book is for you. It's a great summer vacation read, or have it with you during your next airport delay. As a bonus, Simon injects the loving relationship his parents and step-dad shared with him. Also, his work ethic as a global correspondent and perspectives as Chicagoan, and Chicago sports team fan make this much more than just another 'sports' book. Buy it, read it, savor the memories!

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