Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

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Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Scheduled for release in July 2007 as an ESPN original miniseries, starring John Turturro as Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson.

A kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in 1977, The Bronx Is Burning is the story of two epic battles: the fight between Yankee Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch ...

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2005 Hard cover New in fine dust jacket. BOOK AS NEW, DJ BRIGHT SHINY, 1 SLIGHT CORNER RUB, ELSE LIKE NEW Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 368 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

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Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Scheduled for release in July 2007 as an ESPN original miniseries, starring John Turturro as Billy Martin, Oliver Platt as George Steinbrenner, and Daniel Sunjata as Reggie Jackson.

A kaleidoscopic portrait of New York City in 1977, The Bronx Is Burning is the story of two epic battles: the fight between Yankee Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch for the city's mayorship. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts—one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city—was the subtext of race.

Deftly intertwined by journalist Jonathan Mahler, these braided Big Apple narratives reverberate to reveal a year that also saw the opening of Studio 54, the acquisition of the New York Post by Rupert Murdoch, a murderer dubbed the "Son of Sam," the infamous blackout, and the evolution of punk rock. As Koch defeated Cuomo, and as Reggie Jackson rescued a team racked with dissension, 1977 became a year of survival—and also of hope.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
With this dazzling book, Jonathan Mahler brilliantly reminds us that before steroid scandals rocked the sports world, all was not placid on the diamond, in the locker rooms, or in the world beyond the bleachers. In this riveting look at New York in the seething '70s, Mahler spray-paints an indelible portrait of the Yankees in the Billy Martin-Reggie Jackson era -- as the "Summer of Sam" gripped a city teetering on the brink of self-destruction. Pop culture, history, and baseball come together as the author pulls off a literary triple play.
Jonathan Yardley
Mahler's book began as a study of the 1977 Yankees and metamorphosed into something larger. Using sports as metaphor for more important business is a risky business that usually falls flat, but Mahler is right to see the Yankees -- talented, egotistical, contentious, arrogant -- as the city where they played in miniature, and to sense in the note of triumph on which their wild season ended an augury of better things. The team's cast of characters included the bullying, meddling owner, George Steinbrenner; the pugnacious, mean-spirited manager, Billy Martin; the hard-working, churlish, resentful catcher Thurman Munson; and the charismatic, narcissistic, hugely gifted outfielder Reggie Jackson, newly arrived via free agency.
— The Washington Post
Jon Meacham
… from porn shops to gay bathhouses, from Yankee Stadium to City Hall, from the blackout to Son of Sam, from Rupert Murdoch's New York Post to the rise of SoHo and Studio 54, the city was living through what Mahler convincingly calls ''a transformative moment . . . a time of decay but of rehabilitation as well.'' … The book is peopled with rich characters and strange, striking juxtapositions.
— The New York Times
Library Journal
Mahler (contributing writer, New York Times Magazine) points to New York's summer of 1977, when widespread looting and arson followed a crippling power outage, the Son of Sam killer continued his murderous rampage, and the Bronx Bombers struggled to regain the title of baseball's best team after 15 years. But his sweep is still wider, traversing the political, cultural, and racial currents that recast the nation's leading metropolis from the 1960s through the next decade. Indeed, Mahler's baseball focus, while skillfully delivered, is largely secondary. Mahler captures the zeitgeist with near perfection. For general libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sports and politics overlap in an exhibition of municipal excitement in a city that, scarcely a generation ago, was in ferment. New York journalist Mahler vividly recalls the Big Apple's spirit of '77 (though he was only eight and living in California at the time). The city was in a fiscal crisis, with doom, ruin, and Rupert Murdoch pressing forward. There were subway strikes, garbage strikes, and job actions by the city's finest-the police. President Gerald Ford, according to the headlines, invited the metropolis to drop dead. An emergent gay scene, punk rock, Studio 54 ("a fifty-four-hundred-square-foot dance floor crowded with undulators, balconies crowded with fornicators"), and diverse raunchy venues like Plato's Retreat marked New York's special culture. Then, in the sweltering midsummer, came Con Ed's great power blackout, followed by rioting and looting throughout the five boroughs. The newspapers delighted in indigenous characters named Bella Abzug, John Lindsay, Abe Beame, Albert Shanker, and Son of Sam. The epic campaign for the mayor's slot on the Democratic ticket boiled down to Messrs. Koch and Cuomo. Meanwhile, the ineffable Yankees contended with their own epic battle between belligerent manager Billy Martin and self-important slugger Reggie Jackson. And, most cleverly, Mahler devotes a major portion of this chronicle to the period's baseball history. Despite the odds against such a combination being successful, he pulls off an expert historical double play by blending front-page political news and sports-page action. The result recalls the ambient atmosphere of the ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, the natural argot of the precinct houses and of the lockerrooms of New York just a few years ago. And it's all done with the knowing acumen and street smarts of an old-fashioned beat reporter. With a nice touch for pop culture, Mahler paints an informed picture of a bright city in a dark hour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374175283
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/15/2005
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Mahler is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    The good ol' days?

    I grew up in the nyc of the '70s, and it was a gritty, rough and tumble and yes a dangerous place. By comparison the city of today has more of a disney world feel.
    My wife thought I embellished my memories, but this wonderful book valdates them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    Very Entertaining!

    As someone born years after '77 whom, until now, never reads outside of the fiction genre, I was pleasantly surprised by how much i enjoyed this book. I was afraid that it would be written like text books where each chapter is an overview of each event. Instead it is a retelling of these events...like being told a story from your elders who lived it. Truly enjoyable from beginning to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    Great Snapshot of NYC 1977

    This is a great read! Anyone who was in NYC at that time will really be brought back to a City that does not exist today. Baseball - will there ever be another match-up of team owner, manager and hot-headed superstar like the one with Steinbrenner, Martin and Reggie? Politics - Beame, Abzug, Sutton, Koch - what a politicial arena. The '77 blackout - the looting and the fallout that followed. The Son of Sam and the terror he wrought on the City. All of these events are woven into a great story. Seriously, the book was hard to put down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2008

    Awesome!!!!

    Captures the spirit of New york 1977 like nothing else ever has. Beautifully written and carefully researched. You can smell the streets, see the riots and hear the crowd 'Reggie, Reggie!' Absolutely great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    Can't Wait for the ESPN Novela

    This is such a great book! Should be on everyone¿s summer reading list or as a gift for a New Yorker living outside of the state. In 2005 having recently returned from the Peace Corps I decided to enter graduate school @ Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy. Even though I¿m a native New Yorker I was still very unfamiliar of the City¿s past. Long story short the book definitely helped me better understand New York City¿s fiscal crisis of the 70s and the struggling Bronx Bombers. Also, sections on the Son of Sam made the book even more fascinating. The BN summer special is such a deal being that I paid almost full price. Can¿t wait for the 8 part ESPN novella airing in July. Happy Reading!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2006

    A keeper!

    Loved it! Captures the feel of the city at the time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2006

    well worth the read!

    easy to read and full of fascinating information relating to New York in the 70's. Recommended to baseball fans, political fans or those in need of a trip back in time to a New York some are too young to remember.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2005

    The Best Book I have Ever Read

    This book will bring back crazy memories of the summer of 1977. Anybody who grew up in the boros and born during the late sixties will love this book. This book summed up all the 'conversations' that my parents were having in 1970's Staten Island. Events that took place during that time has directly affected my ability to make a living and stay in this area

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    Posted October 15, 2012

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    Posted November 20, 2008

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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    Posted May 17, 2010

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    Posted November 1, 2008

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