State, City and Family Connections

The Wizard of Foz, Dick Fosbury’s One Man High Jump Revolution by Dick Fosbury with Bob Welch; 2018; $24.99; 262 pages; Skyhorse Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5107-3619-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library,Central; 12/3/18-12/13/18

Why did I read this?  Because Dick Fosbury is from Oregon and he (and some lesser known folk) revolutionized one event in track and field.

One day at Medford High School (that is in Oregon) a teenager tried something different to get over the high jump bar.  He did it because he wanted to stay on the track team and wasn’t having much success with the traditional straddle method.  From 1965 to 1968 he went from barely being on his high school track to setting national, world and Olympic records.  He made the 1968 Olympic Team beating out more established high jumpers and won the Gold Medal in the High Jump at the Mexico City games.  Some of the events at the ’68 Olympics opened his eyes to racism and affected him when he returned to Oregon State University after the Olympics.  Now most , if not all, high jumpers go over the bar in the manner of Dick Fosbury, creator of the Fosbury Flop.  Dick Fosbury has not let this one event define his life as he has gone on to do so much more.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Fosbury is from Medford. Oregon which is where many of my relatives on both sides of my family are from.  I have several cousins who also attended Medford High School,  My Uncle Floyd and Aunt Jody taught Dick’s parents how to square dance.  Fosbury attended Oregon State University and I have a sister who has worked there for twenty years or more.  There were people and places in the book that I have met or been too.

 

Mitch and Grisha

Red War by Kyle Mills; 2018; $28.99; 370 pages; Emily Bestler Books, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-9059-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 9/26/18-9/27/18

Why did I read this?  Because Kyle Mills is doing a great job of carrying on the series that Vince Flynn started starring Mitch Rapp.

When the President of Russia starts suffering symptoms of a brain tumor he decides that he must do something to cement his place in world history.  He drops off the grid but not before putting into motion a plan to remove all those who he views as a threat to himself or his place in history.  He begins with Grisha, his former assassin, who has assisted Mitch in operations before.  Mitch is tasked by Irene Kennedy to track down the President and end the threat.  The action circles the globe  This is the very definition of a page turner.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Mitch Rapp and his Russian counterpart Grisha work together to find the Russian President and prevent World War III.

A voice I can relate to

My Exaggerated Life by Pat Conroy as told to Katherine Clark; 2018; $29.99; 330 pages; The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina; 978-1-6117-907-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 8/6/18-8/11/18

Why did I read this?  Because Pat Conroy will always be my favorite author and I wanted to hear a little less fictionalized of his life that he has exaggerated and added to in his novels.

Pat Conroy in a series of telephone conversations with the author explains his life.   There are many things I can relate to in his recollections, like moving so much, being the new kid, being subject to military regulations just because my parent was in the military and other things.  This is an engaging look at the life of one of the best writers of my lifetime.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  There is so much of Pat Conroy’s life and experience that I can relate to, that he could be my voice on many things.

 

I met Artie

Singles and Smiles, How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier by Gaylon H. White; 2018; 201 pages; Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD; 978-1-5381-0790-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 6/22/18-6/26/18

Why did I read this?  Because i knew Artie.  My wife, Ruthann, sewed for his wife, Dottie.  When they would have appointments I would accompany Ruthann and talk baseball with Artie.  He helped our youngest son, David with a report on Jackie Robinson, offering first hand recollections.  He was a true gentleman and it is hard to believe that he left this mortal coil eight years.  I like to think he is in a cornfield in Iowa playing ball with those he never had a chance to play with due to the segregation of sport for so many years.

Artie Wilson loved baseball. When he was 11 or 12 he took a job shining shoes so that he could buy a complete uniform before he was even on a team.  He worked in the steel mills in Birmingham, Alabama and played shortstop for the company team. While there he lost the top of his thumb, so he squeezed a golf ball to strengthen his thumb so that he could properly grip and throw the ball.  He joined the Birmingham Barons of the Negro American League and became one of the best hitters in the league.  He was the cause of a grievance between Bill Veeck of the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees.  He made it into a few games for the New York Giants 1951, put was sent to the minors because calling up Willie Mays would mean that there were too many blacks on the team.  Artie played in the Pacific Coast League for years until he was injured, if he could have found a way he would have kept playing.  This is a good account of the life of a good man.  Artie is enshrined in the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame, the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, and the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame.  He won four Pacific Coast League batting titles, he was a four time Negro League All Star selection, he and Piper Davis and considered one of the best double play combinations ever. More than everything else Artie was one hell of a man.

 

far from home

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson; 2007;$23.95; 288 pages; Viking, New York, NY; 978-0-670-03157-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 6/20/18-6/21/18

Why did I read this? I started this series with the last book and really liked it and am reading through the series.

Walt Longmire, Henry Standing Bear and Dog drive from Wyoming to Philadelphia to visit Walt’s daughter Cady, the world’s greatest legal mind.  Once they get there they start meeting members of Deputy Victoria Moretti’s family and getting entangled in the family drama.  Then Cady is attacked and the Philadelphia allow Walt to help in the investigation.  His and Henry’s knowledge of Native Americans helps in the investigation.  Things get as wild in the civilized east as they do in the wild west Walt knows best.  It’s an interesting contrast between the supposed civilization of Philly and the supposed wilderness of Wyoming.

10/10