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Extended Audio Sample The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth Audiobook, by Leigh Montville Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (605 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leigh Montville Narrator: Adam Grupper Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9780739332740
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He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports.

Babe Ruth was more than baseball’s original superstar. For eighty-five years, he has remained the sport’s reigning titan. He has been named Athlete of the Century…more than once. But who was this large, loud, enigmatic man? Why is so little known about his childhood, his private life, and his inner thoughts? In The Big Bam, Leigh Montville, whose recent New York Times bestselling biography of Ted Williams garnered glowing reviews and offered an exceptionally intimate look at Williams’s life, brings his trademark touch to this groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the Babe.

Based on newly discovered documents and interviews—including pages from Ruth’s personal scrapbooks—The Big Bam traces Ruth’s life from his bleak childhood in Baltimore to his brash entrance into professional baseball, from Boston to New York and into the record books as the world’s most explosive slugger and cultural luminary. Montville explores every aspect of the man, paying particular attention to the myths that have always surrounded him. Did he really hit the “called shot” homer in the 1932 World Series? Were his home runs really “the farthest balls ever hit” in countless ballparks around the country? Was he really part black—making him the first African American professional baseball superstar? And was Ruth the high-octane, womanizing, heavy-drinking “fatso” of legend…or just a boyish, rudderless quasi-orphan who did, in fact, take his training and personal conditioning quite seriously?

At a time when modern baseball is grappling with hyper-inflated salaries, free agency, and assorted controversies, The Big Bam brings back the pure glory days of the game. Leigh Montville operates at the peak of his abilities, exploring Babe Ruth in a way that intimately, and poignantly, illuminates a most remarkable figure.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A comprehensive look at a gargantuan life. People
  • Montville is refreshingly nonjudgmental about his superstar subject.  First-rate biography. Los Angeles Times Book Review
  • Crisp analogies and astute observations, combined with a fluid writing style, are Leigh Montville’s strengths in this definitive biography of the Splendid Splinter.  Montville’s writing is rich and full, like a Ted Williams swing.  He connects solidly. A raw, no-holds-barred view of [Williams’s] life. Tampa Tribune
  • An engaging, fascinating read. San Diego Tribune
  • Ted Williams is not only a first-rate sports biography, but also a first-rate biography, period. Baltimore Sun

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kent Carpenter | 2/20/2014

    " A warts and all view of Babe Ruth. No sugar coating. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan | 2/13/2014

    " He led such an interesting life. He was kind of a disgusting person - physically, morally, pretty much in every way - but you just can't help but love the guy for how he played the game. Just imagine if he could have used steroids like today's players...that would have been something to see. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 2/12/2014

    " Baseball's most Legendary Athlete explodes from the pages...A Biography that captures the Complete Story...from Ruth's Hard Scrabble days as an orphan thru his meteoric rise as perhaps the most iconic Figure in the Game of Baseball....Truth eclipses Fiction as the story comes alive thru a thorough exploration of the Man, Myth, and Legend...The headlines everyone has come to be familair with...PLUS a behind the scenes exploration into his Vices; and those hidden commentaries regarding the REAL relationships both on the Field and Off that keep you turning the pages until his tragic struggle with Cancer ended his Storybook Life on 8/16/48 at the age of 53.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randal | 2/2/2014

    " Just a really good biography. Not the world's hardest subject, mind, but it was neither sappy nor preachy, hagiography nor hater. I even learned a few things about the Babe from the book. I haven't read any other Bambinbios, but this one would certainly be a good place to start for anybody wanting the story of (sorry Ted Williams but it's the truth) the greatest hitter who ever lived. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Koivu | 1/31/2014

    " Good choice if you need a concise bio on the Babe. Compact and streamlined, The Big Bam covers his entire life in as much detail as the casual baseball fan needs. Biography buffs will want something that digs deeper into his personal life, while rabid baseball fans will desire more in depth analysis about his career, and for those in the middle with little-to-no knowledge of the man beyond the basics that everyone and their grandma already knows, this will be just right. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jared | 1/28/2014

    " The Sultan of Swat, the King of Crash, the Colossus of Clout, the Great Bambino! Babe Ruth is an American cultural icon. And this book is a very revealing look at his life. Definitely a flawed character blessed with amazing talent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin J. | 1/4/2014

    " Montville has a flair for taking you into the world of the person he is writing on. Sometimes raw and occasionally vulgar this book gives a sense of what it was like to live in Babe Ruth's world. It is an interesting and recommended read for those interested in bigger than life people and the historical context that surrounds their lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 12/31/2013

    " Fun book, not too terribly serious, but gives both a fine overview of Ruth and his life and times, and also a nice feel for New York City in the Roaring '20s. Montville works the vernacular a bit harder than is necessary, but has mastered the material. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katherine Pena | 12/28/2013

    " Its ok so far, the writer repeats lots of discredited facts and ahhh lets see how I feel by the end of the book... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Foster | 12/1/2013

    " So far this is everything that I had hoped for in a sports bio... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 10/27/2013

    " Very interesting look into the Babe, and really Baseball in the teen's and twenties. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nick | 10/7/2013

    " Pretty interesting and thorough biography of Babe Ruth, very readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 9/15/2013

    " Babe Ruth as a real human rather than a larger-than-life Tall Tale. Funny thing is, he really was larger than life in several respects. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 6/29/2013

    " Great read. Really great portrayal of Ruth, good and bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Midge | 3/17/2013

    " Good story of Babe Ruth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob Dhillon | 2/21/2013

    " Fair to middlin'. Fair because of the subject and middlin' because of the writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim Dunn | 9/1/2012

    " A very good story about a unique person. Great details about a very, very interesting individual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 8/26/2012

    " I loved this book ... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kyle | 7/23/2012

    " I learned a lot about Ruth. I had no idea about the last portion of his life. It was actually prettyu heart breaking. It's just too bad documentation was so sparse back during his time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luigib | 6/12/2012

    " i've read a lot of baseball books. This was up there with the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raimo Wirkkala | 3/8/2012

    " A terrific follow-up to Montville's previous baseball bio of Ted Williams. A must read for baseball fans with an interest in the history of the game. The Babe truly was a larger than life character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt Coleman | 9/21/2011

    " Truth is stranger than fiction. The Babe was the Babe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kent | 1/27/2011

    " A warts and all view of Babe Ruth. No sugar coating. Good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luigib | 12/27/2010

    " i've read a lot of baseball books. This was up there with the best. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Todd | 5/17/2010

    " It seems like Babe Ruth a part of the fabric of the American story of the underdog who makes good. He's more than a baseball hero; he's an American hero. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kris | 1/28/2010

    " Biography of the Babe. Reads like a novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Goatville9 | 9/29/2009

    " i;m a yankee fan so perhaps biased "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob | 7/16/2009

    " Fair to middlin'. Fair because of the subject and middlin' because of the writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy | 6/21/2009

    " I wanted to read a book about baseball - and babe ruth is baseball! an intersting story but i probably could have watched the Biography special on him and i would have learned about the same... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 3/15/2009

    " Very interesting look into the Babe, and really Baseball in the teen's and twenties. "

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About the Author

Leigh Montville, a former columnist at the Boston Globe and former senior writer at Sports Illustrated, is the author of the bestselling Ted Williams, At the Altar of Speed, and Why Not Us?. He lives in Boston.

About the Narrator

Adam Grupper is a voice artist and actor. His audiobook narrations have earned six Earphones Awards and a nomination in 2008 for the prestigious Audie Award. His Broadway performances include Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme, 45 Seconds from Broadway, The Wild Party, Guys and Dolls, among others. He has appeared in films such as Trophy Kids, Music & Lyrics, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and Two Weeks’ Notice. On television, he has appeared in The Sopranos, Third Watch, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, Ugly Betty, and As the World Turns.