Book Review Briefs

"Short Take" Reviews by Joseph Rosenberg

Moe Berg: The Spy Behind Home Plate

by Vivian Grey
184 pages; Jewish Publication Society;
ISBN: 0827606206; (January 1997)

Morris Berg--mediocre baseball catcher, non-observant Jew, language maven, intellectual, atomic spy, and raconteur--has fascinated baseball fans since his death in 1972. This biography has been written for a teenage audience, and condenses Berg's life in a quick 184 pages.

A more detailed and informative biography, The Catcher Was a Spy, was written by Nicholas Dawidoff in 1994. Dawidoff explores the Berg mystery in greater depth, revealing some disturbing facts. However, even Ms. Grey's biography has an air of mystery to it that will satisfy most readers' sense of irony.

Confessions of a Baseball Purist: What's Right, and Wrong, With Baseball, As Seen from the Best Seat in the House

by Jon Miller, Mark Hyman (Contributor); Paperback

Take a trip down memory lane with former Oriole announcer Jon Miller as he discusses his career as a broadcaster. In 225 rather bland pages, Miller tries not to offend anybody too much--especially Peter Angelos, who booted him off the Oriole broadcast.

This book is like a vintage wine that has started to fade. Interestingly, it was named as a "best read" in 1998 and 1999. Jon Miller is an entertaining broadcaster. However, I'm rather glad he didn't quit his day job to begin a writing career.

You're Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot

by Mike Medavoy, Josh Young (Contributor)

Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy puts his spin cycle on high as he writes about his Hollywood career. Those of you who read the entertainment media or watch shows about the entertainment business know the cast of characters whom Mr. Medavoy discusses to justify his production decisions. In his narrative, Mr. Medavoy often concentrates on his relationship with "Bill," but we're not clear who this person is. (Could it be Clinton?). The director's personal story is interesting--not particularly riveting, but a pleasant read.

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This story was published on July 3, 2002.