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Extended Audio Sample The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of Americas Childhood Audiobook, by Jane Leavy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,857 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Leavy Narrator: Jane Leavy, John Bedford Lloyd Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9780061988073
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Jane Leavy, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy, returns with a biography of an American original—number 7, Mickey Mantle. Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle’s life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of a luminous and illustrious talent—with an achingly damaged soul.

Meticulously reported and elegantly written, The Last Boy is a baseball tapestry that weaves together episodes from the author’s weekend with The Mick in Atlantic City, where she interviewed her hero in 1983. As she did so memorably in her biography of Sandy Koufax, Jane Leavy transcends the hyperbole of hero worship to reveal the man behind the coast-to-coast smile, who grappled with a wrenching childhood, crippling injuries, and a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. It is the story of a boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, who would lead the Yankees to seven world championships, be voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player three times, win the Triple Crown in 1956, and duel teammate Roger Maris for Babe Ruth’s home run crown in the summer of 1961—a boy who would never grow up.

The Last Boy is an uncommon biography—not only the portrait of an icon but also an investigation of memory itself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is one of the best sports biographies I have ever read. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, it reveals with stunning insight both the talents and the demons that drove Mickey Mantle, bringing him to life as never before.”

    Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Team of Rivals 

  • “In sharp detail and graceful style, Leavy cuts through the myth and treats us to a rarely known Mantle: more flawed, more human, and more likeable. A terrific read.”  

    Tom Verducci, coauthor of #1 New York Times bestseller The Yankee Years 

  • “The only thing about this book that is better than Jane Leavy’s vivid prose is her astonishing reporting. To my knowledge, no one has ever investigated the life of an American athlete with Leavy’s rigor and thoroughness.”

    Daniel Okrent, New York Times bestselling author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition and Nine Innings 

  • The Last Boy is stunning. Jane Leavy captures the beautiful, imperfect Mickey Mantle with equal measures of depth and empathy. She finds the buried answers to the riddle of what drove and haunted the Mick.”

    David Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author of Clemente and Lombardi: When Pride Still Mattered

  • “Innovative...Dickensian...Heartbreaking...True.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Every kid growing up in New York in the 50s wanted to be Mickey Mantle, including me...Jane Leavy has captured the hold he had on all of us in this gripping biography.”

    Joe Torre

  • “Leavy says that Mantle lived a double life. There was a sunshine Mickey, a grinning, humble, fair-haired boy who could run like the wind and hit a baseball a mile; and there was midnight Mickey, a creepy, weepy, abusive drunk who immiserated his wife, turned his sons into underage drinking buddies, and treated his adoring fans like a swarm of annoying flies. It is a tribute to her persistence, and her talent, that she captured him whole.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Do not walk—sprint—to the bookstore to get a copy of The Last Boy.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Drawing on more than five hundred interviews with Mantle’s family, friends, teammates, and their spouses, the book dissects and dispels many of the myths of his career and is the definitive biography of the Yankees great—warts and all.”

    New York Daily News

  • “Leavy worked hard on this book. Reading the long list of ballplayers she interviewed—the likes of Bobby Shantz, Eli Grba, Johnny Kucks—is a nostalgia trip in itself. She recruited scientists and detectives to determine the distance Mantle’s most famous home runs traveled. She avoids the tedium of many baseball biographies that go game by game through the player’s career. She tries, as she promised Mantle’s family, to ‘reclaim him from caricature.’”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Engrossing...The Last Boy is a fresh, thorough examination of Mickey Mantle’s life.”

    Newsday

  • “[The Last Boy] is a tale deftly told, rich in detail, unvarnished and unsparing, researched to a fare-thee-well, alternatively fluid and florid, and without staleness...Leavy has found a new angle from which to come at a well-worked over subject. It’s not a sports book. It is not weighted down with numbers. It is both biography and sociological study, traced back to an earlier, more innocent time.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Through her exhaustive...reporting, Leavy shows Mantle at his unfathomable worst and unrecognized best. For even the most ardent Mantleologist, The Last Boy is an education.”

    Time

  • “In Leavy’s hands, the life of Mantle no longer defies logic: it seems inevitable. She’s hit a long home run.”  

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Leavy herself provides an outstanding narration of the preface. Narrator John Bedford Lloyd handles the remaining text commendably. His Southern accent makes Mantle appealing, real, and human. Major and minor characters are distinctive, sometimes funny, and always believable...The combination of Mantle’s talent and self-destructiveness is poignant. The behavior of his teammates toward him, loyal and enabling, is both disturbing and moving. This is a biography that lends itself perfectly to being told.”  

    AudioFile

  • “This is unlike any biography on the sports shelf...A masterpiece of sports biography.”  

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Candid, compassionate...the best of the Mantle biographies.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • A 2010 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A 2010 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annie | 2/8/2014

    " Interesting subject matter, but the writing was all over the place. I'm thinking the author has severe ADD. The writing definitely got in the way of what could have been a great story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 2/3/2014

    " Simply one of the best biographical works I have read. This book would be of interest to anyone who is a baseball fan. Beyond that, it serves as a morality tale and excellent character study of a supremely talented but tragically flawed human being. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross Bishoff | 2/1/2014

    " I loved this book. The thing this book shows is the ugly side of Mantle, which many people already had a clue about. But it also shows that Mantle was very likable. Yes he was a jerk, but he genuinely felt bad about the things he did and wanted to make it up to people. Not all great athletes are like that. Whether you love him or hate him (or the Yankees), this is one of the top biographies I've ever read. Leavy's writing is fantastic and the depth of research is mind-blowing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/14/2014

    " Most people know the arc of Mantle's life story. Leavy admits this as she opens the book. But Leavy takes a different and compelling approach to the biography: she focuses on major dates in Mantle's life (first becoming a Yankee, hitting a ball into Yankee Statdium's facade, being admitted to the Betty Ford clinic) and tells of Mantle's life through that framework. She also brings in a two-day interview she had with Mantle in the 80s. Mantle was Leavy's childhood hero. Her biography shows both her reverence for him and her disappointment in him. I remember seeing "the Mick" in Yankee Stadium when I was a little boy; I share Leavy's feelings. Truly a tragic story. This one will stay with me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 1/11/2014

    " Of all the biographies I've read, I think this must be the saddest story of them all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ian | 1/5/2014

    " Read this book in just a few days. I found it to be a really good biography that didn't pull any punches, but I thought was done fairly (it didn't just demonize Mantle). I found myself oscillating between really liking Mickey Mantle and admiring his kindness and heroic efforts to play through injuries and being disappointed by his behavior and possibly wasting of his talent. It was interesting reading the author's encounter with her childhood hero and her disappointment in his actions, but ultimately her sympathy toward him as a flawed human being. I found it a good reminder that even the most talented among us are human beings that struggle through life, have self-doubts, and are flawed. Very interesting and compelling read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marilyn | 12/31/2013

    " This was a long read. Or else it felt like it. For the baseball fan it has a lot of stats and talked about many of his hits. It delved into his many injuries and how he acquired them. I enjoyed the biographical parts concerning how he was raised and his personality during his fame. True he was a one of a kind and a true baseball hero. But if his personality was anything like this book describes, theres no way, other than through baseball, that you could like him. And I did enjoy reading it, except I'm not a true sports fan so I would get lost when it would go through some of the stats and competition between players. Still a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill S. | 12/23/2013

    " The Mick warts and all. More warts than I recall hearing about before but a worthwhile read about an American sports legend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Walt | 11/27/2013

    " Well written. As good as he was, if he had taken care of himself (and not suffered the terrible knee injury in the 1951 World Series), he might have been the best ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane Davidson | 8/23/2013

    " As this was a free Friday book, and it had video clips in it, I decided to try it, although I am not a sports fan. I am very glad that I read it, as I learned a lot about a man that I did not know very much about. The video clips added a lot to the book too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 9/5/2012

    " Mickey Mantle was a flawed individual, this book presents a very fair and in depth look at his life, I wish there had been more baseball in it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori | 3/11/2012

    " A bit overlong, sad, very well-researched and written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 2/3/2012

    " Terrific and sad and aptly named. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 1/6/2012

    " Entertaining mix of anecdote and analysis, sometimes a bit more than I needed on the side stories (who far did the original Tape-Measure Home Run actually travel?) but the story line picks up again. Mantle emerges of an athlete of enormous strength, speed and will. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Woodman | 12/5/2011

    " Very interesting way to approach writing a biography--through 10 important days in the athlete's life--not a huge baseball fan but I enjoyed this "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Golden | 6/30/2011

    " Amazing book about an American Icon! Shows both sides of the man, his prodigious baseball achievements and his human failings! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Glenn | 4/30/2011

    " Not sure I completely liked the authors writing style. I have her book on Koufax, so I'll give he another try. Found a lot of informative items in the book that I had not heard before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 4/15/2011

    " I haven't read the other books, but this was a record of his life and successes and failures. The end of the book was very moving. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Betty | 4/7/2011

    " Nothing new...just a rehash of lots of other people's writings about #7. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Billymojo | 4/7/2011

    " Not for the faint of heart. Emotionally gripping and very, very sad. Hard to shelve under sports and leisure. Mickey Mantle was a tragic and damaged individual. If you want to know all about it, it's here. But be prepared for some rough spots. A worthy effort but not a fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chad | 3/16/2011

    " No Joe D, and comparatively simple. But a nice book for spring training. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 3/13/2011

    " The 1st ebook formatted title that I
    have ever read. I checked out the book from Denver Public library via ther IPhone app the Overdrive media console. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Svk | 3/11/2011

    " If it wasn't Mickey Mantle and you read these stories about a regular guy you would think "what a pig!l. Instead, it was a sad tale about a guy who blew a lot of his talent and was still one of the greatest players ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 3/9/2011

    " A really good read and the author's personal encounter with the Mick really helped guide her narrative. It's hard to like the Mick but even with his faults his time as a ball player were irresistable. I now have a biography on Maris to read. "

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About the Author

Jane Leavy is an award-winning former sportswriter and feature writer for the Washington Post. She is the author of Sandy Koufax and the comic novel Squeeze Play, called “the best novel ever written about baseball” by Entertainment Weekly. She lives in Washington, D.C.

About the Narrator

John Bedford Lloyd, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, has appeared in many major motion pictures, including The Bourne Supremacy, Crossing Delancey, The Abyss, The Manchurian Candidate, and Philadelphia. His television credits include Suits, Pan Am, Law & Order, Spin City, and The West Wing. A critically acclaimed audiobook narrator and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award, his voice work includes reading for such authors as Michael Crichton, Nicholas Sparks, Paul Doiron, and Atul Gawande, among others. He is the winner of three AudioFile Earphones Awards.