Celebrating The Work Of Your Hands

Today, on this Sabbath before the Feast of Tabernacles begins in St. Vincent, an elder I happen to have known for a few years (since we were both present in a foreign nation during the Days of Unleavened Bread) gave a split sermon message on celebrating the work of your hands.  In the message, he commented on ways that we are to praise and celebrate the work of our hands and to appreciate God’s blessing of these works with quite a few scriptures, and he pointed out that he would not have given that particular message twenty years ago or so when it would have been associated with bragging or pride or something of that nature.  What struck me is that this message dealt very much with the question of creativity and about the sort of ambiguity that tends to result from praising creativity given that we ourselves are creations that simultaneously create, and whether or not our creations are to be praised depends very much on the moral quality of those creations, which means that the Bible is neither hostile to the dignity of the creative person nor blindly in support of creativity, but always subjecting it to some kind of judgment.

This can be viewed from two directions.  If one looks at the question of celebrating the works of one’s hands, or creative output, or some similar phenomenon from the point of view of the religious tradition I come from, the policy of praising some works of our hands in light of the Bible’s nuanced position marks a considerable improvement.  This sort of improvement is likely to give at least some space for some kinds of creative thinking and behavior that was not present before and is undoubtedly a good thing for those of us who happen to be creative sorts of people.  On the other hand, those who do not have such a background are likely to have far more permissive ideas about creativity and praising the works of their hands anyway, and are likely to think of submitting the works of one’s hands to a biblical standard of righteousness is immensely restrictive and negative.  What is freedom for some people is intolerable restrictiveness by other perspectives.

This sort of problem has a great many consequences when it comes to understanding others or making ourselves understood by others.  Those who are used to having great amounts of perceived freedom chafe under any restraints, while those who are used to having excessive restraint find even modest freedom a great improvement from their general experience.  Beyond that, though, the Bible’s ambivalent position on the works of our hands helps to explain the general ambivalence to hostility that those who are interested in questions of creativity have towards biblical religion even apart from the corruption of human institutions that claim religious sanction.  Most people who celebrate creativity and innovativeness are unwilling to accept limits to that creativity that are based on moral principles such as the avoidance of idolatry much less the need to give God the glory for having created us in His image, and therefore being the source of the creativity that we possess in the first place.  And only those who are used to being under considerable restraint in regimes where creativity is viewed in a negative fashion are likely to appreciate guarded and partial praise of the works of our hands rather than the extravagant expectation that is more common.

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Book Review: How To Do Nothing

How To Do Nothing:  Resisting The Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell

This book is a deeply hypocritical one on many levels.  The author is not so much interested in encouraging or instructing the reader to do nothing, but rather to do nothing that is economically productive.  The author is quite fine with the person reading the book to be like she is and irrationally obsessed with leftist political causes and involved in all kinds of activism, but she does not want to encourage at all any sort of productive work or any kind of approval of businesses and the way that they operate.  Indeed, the San Francisco-based author of this book does not even respect the good work done for leftists by tech companies like Google and Facebook, as she has as much scorn for those companies as for any others, simply because these companies desire to be profitable and operate like any other businesses.  So let us understand that in the typical leftist double-speak that readers of this book ought to be familiar with, the author does not mean what she says but rather is talking in some sort of leftist code that is easy enough to understand for her fellow activists to cheer on, even as they do nothing useful while doing a great deal that is not.

In terms of its structure, this book is about 200 pages long and is divided into six relatively long chapters.  The book begins with an introduction that encourages the reader to survive usefulness and devote oneself to countercultural ideals.  This is bookended with a conclusion that shows the author as wanting to tear down everything in contemporary society as far as business and political culture is concerned, after which there are the usual acknowledgements, notes, and an index.  In between the author discusses the case for nothing as she sees it (which is far from nothing, it must be admitted) (1), the impossibility of retreating from the world because leftists bring their personal drama with them even in communes (2), as well as the anatomy of refusing to go along with the ways of the business world (3).  After that the author discusses exercises in the sort of attention that she approves of (4), the ecology of strangers (5), and finally the author’s thoughts for how the grounds for thought can be restored (6), seeing as the author finds herself to be far too often deranged by her political extremism.

This book is in many ways a collection of personal essays that demonstrates the irrationally and hostility of the contemporary leftist author.  Indeed, only someone who has taken a sip from the same jar of kool-aid could fail to see in this book anything that is worthy of praise.  The language of the book as a whole is immensely hypocritical and utterly absent of self-awareness of the double standards that the author seeks to set up.  Like many authors, the author of this book likely views herself as a deeply insightful and deeply tolerant person, but does not have any nice things to say about Trump, much less more conservative people (and she does not seem to understand that Trump is far from far-right, but is in fact a populist of the middle-right variety), and she even does not have much good to say about mainstream leftists.  Instead, this author is one of those people who simply wants to dismantle everything in the current social system because it does not serve her or her political agenda.  We would do well to steer very clear of this author and others of her ilk, because if this book strikes one as reasonable, then one has a deep problem with recognizing the harm of extremism.

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Book Review: Odd Jobs

Odd Jobs:  How To Have Fun And Make Money In A Bad Economy, by Abigail R. Gehring

Having done at least some of the jobs here and known people who did others of them, I have to say that I found this book to be awkwardly hilarious.  The author has clear amassed a great deal of experience doing odd jobs throughout her career and has proven herself to be immensely flexible in using her talents to achieve some measure of financial success.  Moreover, she appears to have sought to get to know other people who have similarly made money doing odd jobs and has networked and shared stories so as to gain experience even in areas where she has not herself worked.  The result is a book that is entertaining but also more than a bit uncomfortable as the author notes certain expectations that various jobs would have and tells some uncomfortable truths about what people are looking for to fill certain jobs, or what kind of people would be best suited to certain jobs that pay some money but which might demand months of unpleasant solitude.  This is not a book for the faint of heart or for those who would be negatively triggered by unpleasant reminders of the realism of odd jobs, but it was hilarious to me.

This short volume is a bit more than 200 pages and it is divided into different sections and includes interludes where the author shares her own experience in various odd jobs included in that section.  The book begins with eighteen service jobs, including personal assistant, model for artists/photographers, renting out a room, house sitting, and personal shopping, where the author shares a couple of her stories (1).  After that the author provides eight ways to make money online (2), including doing surveys and selling books online.  After that comes twenty odd jobs relating to entertainment and culinary pursuits (3), including lipstick reading (which the author did), working at a Renaissance fair or being a mascot or being a motivational dancer or being a gustatory athlete or fast food worker.  After that are eight jobs that are country pursuits (4), including being a fire lookout, beekeeper, as well as raising hens, Christmas trees, and worms.  There are then fifteen jobs included that relate to travel and adventure (5), including being an English teacher abroad as well as working on a cruise ship, shell picking in Kauai, and working on a kibbutz in Israel.  Then there are seventeen jobs relating to sales and marketing (6), such as being a call room operator, doing focus groups, making soap, being a sperm or egg donor, or being a home-based sales representative for Avon or essential oils.  The book then ends with a section of fifteen jobs that the author considers to be the oddest of the odd (7), from being a mystery shopper to breeding betta fish to being a video game tester or organ courier or club bouncer and even collecting cans.

What made this book particularly fun for me is that I have done some of these jobs myself (teach abroad, working in a call center, doing online surveys, house sitting, and mystery shopping), and I know people who have done many other ones that I have not done.  This is one of those books that turns the sort of odd ways that people make money or have a bit of fun on the side and puts it into a category that one might not be aware that one is in, in terms of making money in unconventional and odd ways.  As is so often the case in life, I find it somewhat odd that I do not realize that my own life has in many ways been odd.  It is quite possible that there are many readers of this book who would similarly not realize that their own work experience has been irregular by the standards of the world, but the author’s good-natured humor about her own experiences and misadventures of one kind or another really make this an enjoyable book for all those who want to relive past experiences or ponder what it would be like to be an obscure fish breeder like one of my friends in California.

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Book Review: Orbiting The Giant Hairball

Orbiting The Giant Hairball:  A Corporate Fool’s Guide To Surviving With Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie

Occasionally there is a humorous book like this one that reveals that one’s general and normal pattern of behavior is actually an effective strategy that can be realized and consciously done.  That is not to say that I agree with everything in the book–the author’s deliberately eccentric new age approach is not for everyone and certainly not something I approve of, but if you look at the author’s hijinks as a sign of a deliberate strategy that he was using in order to preserve his own sanity and his ability to be creative in a corporate environment at Hallmark, then one can glean what insight one can from the author’s own behavior and then choose to go about it in a different way.  For me, there is enough wisdom in this book that it is worthwhile to appreciate this particular book even if one does not find the author to be someone who would be easy to deal with when he was in full oddball mode.  And the central metaphor of the book, where institutions themselves are all giant hairballs that grow larger and larger with rules that stifle innovation and seek to swallow people up inside of their political games, is one that is well worth keeping in mind as it applies to many institutions.

This book is a bit more than 200 pages and is divided into 24 short chapters, many of them filled lovingly with quirky art and drawings from a variety of people.  Most of the book consists of a somewhat odd and episodic memoir of the author of his own time working within Hallmark where he found himself in a variety of positions, occasionally succumbed to the ambition of seeking to rise in the corporate hierarchy, and eventually how he came to reconcile the tension between the need for people at a company like Hallmark to be creative (coming up with clever cards is nothing if not a creative endeavor) while avoiding the extremes of either abandoning Hallmark or being swallowed up by what the author terms as the giant hairball made up of corporate regulations and traditions and approaches, something that all organizations have in some fashion.  The author’s solution, a particularly elegant one, was to orbit the hairball so that one is able to keep a distance from the political games and preserve one’s sanity and integrity while still able to contribute to the well-being of the organization through one’s creativity and originality.

This is admittedly a difficult balance, and the author was certainly benefited in this because he worked for a company where creativity was valued and which had places where oddballs and misfits could go while remaining productive members of the organization itself.  Not all institutions are able to create places where people can contribute while being different and unusual within an institutional environment, and not everyone is able to find such places where they are able to be themselves while also being productive and useful parts of an organization.  And that delicate task is something that the author does not sugarcoat, nor does he whitewash his own oddness in creating a place where he pretends to be some sort of Indian guru dispensing encouragement to those with creative ideas who simply need a bit of encouragement in the face of environments that tend to stifle creativity.  If I would not go about the problem the same way as the author does, his approach is worthwhile in that he recognized that all of the ideas others had were good enough to encourage, which I have generally found when people talk to me about something that they have puzzled over and studied.

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Book Review: Racisim Without Racists

Racism Without Racists:  Color-Blind Racism And The Persistence Of Racial Inequality In America, by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

This book is one I had a lot to disagree with, but also a lot to respect as well.  Despite the fact that my own perspectives and political worldview are very different from the author’s, this was not the sort of book that made its author seem ridiculous or dangerous, but rather it was the sort of book whose author shows such an open agenda that we may view the person as an accidental ally.  If the author is very clear that in the eyes of leftists like him those who come from black backgrounds like Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas but who espouse a conservative worldview are race traitors who are to be given no heed, even as the author celebrates those, especially white women, who are race traitors on the other side.  Also of great interest here is the fact that I believe the author correctly views the future racial identity of the United States as one that is in line with the complexity of Latin America, which does not view itself as racist because there is an intermediate racial class that separates elites from the underclass.

This book is about 250 pages long and is divided into eleven chapters.  After acknowledgements and a preface to the fifth edition, the author discusses the strange enigma of race in contemporary America (1).  After that the author talks about the new post-Jim Crow color-blind racism (2) as the author sees it, and the central frames of this view (3).  There is then a discussion of how one can discuss other cultures in a negative fashion without being racist, without acknowledging the same kind of codes that leftists use themselves (4) when discussing conservative minorities, as well as the racial stories of color blind racism that seek to delegitimize affirmative action efforts (5).  There is then a discussion of the significance of segregation (6) as well as a harsh examination of white racial progressives (7) and a look at the lack of color-blindness among blacks (8).  After this, the author discusses the future of racial stratification in the United States (9), the continuing significance of color-blind racism in the post-Obama America (10), and what is to be done about it (11), after which the book ends with notes, a selected bibliography, index, and some notes about the author.

It should be noted that the author’s work provides some very interesting aspects of race and identity politics in contemporary America that are worth noting.  Those who are of whatever racial identity but show themselves as being willing to work hard and not blame others for their state in life but show commitment to color blind ideals tend to find themselves respected by those who share such ideals.  Meanwhile, the only sort of white people that leftists care about are those who are susceptible to their ideology.  Even in this case the author shows a great deal of contempt for the racist views of white liberal and white feminist allies, which is quite entertaining as it shows the contradictions at the heart of this book’s political and cultural agenda that would make it impossible to receive a great deal of support from those who find themselves called racist despite their political support of leftist and progressive causes.  In the author’s eyes, to be white is to benefit from an unjust racial system that deserves to be destroyed but is likely to be perpetuated by a more complex view of race that allows for more grades rather than just white and black, and that scares the author because it means an end to political usefulness of the current racialist political narrative among leftists.  May that day soon come.

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Book Review: Tell Me Who You Are

Tell Me Who You Are:  Sharing Our Stories Of Race, Culture & Identity, by Winona Guo & Priya Vulchi

This book was a terrible one.  Yet it is the sort of terrible book that is instructive in discussing the authors’ views of race and identity.  Such a book is worse than useless, harmful even, but even in a case like this one the skilled reader can find something of worth in this book, namely the understanding that identity is highly weaponized in contemporary culture and that the only identities that are acceptable to leftists are either those identities that have become deeply tied to victim ideologies (which this book demonstrates in many cases and a great many levels) or those identities that serve as a sign that someone is an ally of various subaltern groups that seek to become viewed as cultural elites.  Indeed, the most important diversities of this book are not included, as there are no conservatives here, no even moderate white men, and none of that religious diversity that includes those who take their religion and its moral principles seriously.  That tells you all you need to know about how skewed and how misguided a book this one is.

This particular book, which is about the right weight to club someone over the head with, is over 350 pages and is divided into ten chapters.  The book begins with an introduction.  After this the authors opine that “race impacts everything” (1) and that the past is the present (2), so that no historical wrongs can be forgiven or forgotten.  After that the author talks about the richness of faux diversity (3) as well as the way that even our best friends are strangers in some fashion (4).  There is a discussion of the way that words matter (5) and that people need to stop fighting among themselves (6) among the coalition of subaltern groups that the authors want to encourage.  There is a risible suggestion that everyone is “normal” except those who are actually normal in statistical terms (7) as well as a recognition that diversity is not the goal (8), but rather cultural control.  Finally, there are chapters on the search for healing (9) as well as the call to leftist identity activism (10), after which the book concludes with suggestions on how people can share their story as well as acknowledgements, sources, an index, and some notes about the authors.

This book was not a joy to read at all.  The authors made sure to include a great deal of coded language to clue in readers as to their worldview and books like this are likely used by many people to convince themselves or try to convince others that they have an understanding of what diversity involves.  Yet the diversity included here is only ideology deep.  So you have a lot of women, a lot of various kinds of Asians and Pacific Islanders and various tribal or mixed identities.  There are a lot of so-called gender minorities or sexual minorities included here.  The authors have done the reader a service in showing all of the kinds of people whose identity and whose views they accept, and if you do not find yourself included here, you can rest assured that in the eyes of the racialist authors and others of their ilk that your perspective does not matter and your identity does not count for anything.  When person after person in this guide talks about how they reject and look down on their conservative relatives, especially parents, this book is a reminder that the hypocrisy and double standards and insufferable arrogance of leftists is alive and well when it comes to identity politics.

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Book Review: Working Toward Whiteness

Working Toward Whiteness:  How America’s Immigrants Became White:  The Strange Journey From Ellis Island To The Suburbs, by David R. Roediger

This book is somewhat misleading in several ways, but all the same there is something worthwhile to discover and so it is still worthwhile to interact with a book like this even where it is wrong a lot.  The reasons why this book is mistaken are still worthwhile.  For one, the immigrants who “became white” in the author’s term were already white to begin with, it is just that when they acculturated they no longer had the sort of problematic tendencies that made them an underclass and were able to be accepted as part of the mainstream culture after three generations or so.  The fact that the author uses a Marxist scheme of interpreting class and an intersectionalist perspective in viewing justice means that there is a lot of rubbish in this book (and these qualities, it should be noted, make for rubbish in any similar book, it should be noted).  That said, the author does at least provide enough of a discussion that it is possible to come to a better understanding when it comes to questions of race and culture than the author does.

This particular book is about 250 pages long and it is divided into three parts and seven large chapters.  The author begins with an introduction to the 2018 edition and then provides two chapters on how one sees race in new immigrant history (I) by looking at the language of new immigrants, race and ethnicity in the early 20th century (1) and the popular language, social practice, and messiness of race (2).  After that there are two chapters that look at the issue of new immigrants being “in between” (II), with chapters of the burden of proof and intermediate identities (3) as well as the racial consciousness of new immigrants (4), along with a healthy dollop of Marxist language.  After that the author provides three chapters that look at the way that new immigrants were able to “enter the white house” as the author refers to it (III), with chapters on the coercion of immigration restrictions (5), the way that people found homes in an age of social and racial restrictions (6), and the new deal, unions, and what new immigrants received by eventually becoming white (7) in the eyes of others.  After that the book closes with an afterword that shows the author’s own white guilt as well as acknowledgements, notes, and an index.

What worth does this book have?  For one, the author does a good job at pointing out that throughout American history a variety of ethnic groups have been viewed as simultaneously “white” but also not sufficiently American to benefit from the full privileges of being part of our dominant culture.  Indeed, one can see fairly easily a tripartite sort of picture.  Those cultures who are able to acculturate without any visible or linguistic or cultural differences are accepted by the third generation or so.  Those cultures which have praiseworthy qualities but who are not able to acculturate have respected places within society but also a certain sense of vulnerability to moods of xenophobia against those who are viewed as outsiders at all (see, after all, the fate of the Japanese and Jews in World War II in America).  And those cultures which are viewed (often with good reason) as inferior tend to have a difficult time seeking the respect and honor that they would wish.  One can see the patterns the author reveals and better understand the struggle that cultures (and historians) have in defining cultures and what one approves or does not approve of them in precise enough terms.  Language is hard, after all.

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Book Review: They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done:  The ’69 Mets, New York City, And The Most Astounding Season In Baseball History, by Wayne Coffey

You know the type.  You go to a sports bar and watch a few games on the television screens scattered across the room and someone wants to relive old glory to assuage the hard truth that their team has seldom been very good.  Mets fans are like that, all the more pressed than most fanbases since they have maybe the third or fourth (or perhaps even fifth) most illustrious baseball history within their own hometown.  The Yankees are pretty good nearly every year, and a down year for them has them barely missing the Wild Card game.  The Mets are the sort of team whose fans cheer on any playoff appearance because they are so few and so far between, and this book captures the feeling of what it was like to be a Mets fan in 1969, with a legacy of failure and the sort of success that helps save the career of an embattled mayor who had lost a primary because of the poor response the city showed to a blizzard.  But supporting the Mets in their year of glory in 1969 was enough to get him another term in office.  Imagine if baseball meant anything close to that today.

This book begins with a prologue that discusses the sad-sack history of the early Mets.  After this there are four chapters that discuss the season that the Mets went through, showing how a scrappy team of players was able to play respectable ball that ended up turning increasingly good as the season went on the team gelled under able management and showed considerable promise, thanks especially to its stellar pitching and defense and opportunistic hitting.  After that there are three chapters that show the Mets and their progress through to the playoffs thanks to a late-season push as well as their victory in the playoffs over the Braves.  After that the rest of the book, which takes up more than 100 pages of the book’s total length of almost 300 pages, discusses the five-game series in which the Mets shocked and then dominated the Orioles through superior offense as well as timely defense and pitching in key situations that saved a lot of runs.  The epilogue to the book urges readers not to consider the Mets’ win a miracle, but it was a striking win and the author is clear to demonstrate the glory of that season for New York’s other baseball team.

Admittedly, I am a reader who comes to this book somewhat fond of baseball as a whole but mainly a fan of a team about which few books are written (the Pittsburgh Pirates).  I have no active animus towards the Mets, despite not being in general a bit fan of New York or the sports of the city in particular.  This book, though, is the sort of volume that is very well aimed at one part of the baseball reading demographic that is very likely to find this book compelling, and that is the sort of reader who loves a good underdog story.  Few teams who play in New York or any other city that massive appear as underdogs, but that is certainly the case for the Mets in a way that is not the case for teams like the Yankees or Dodgers with their massive payrolls.  The Mets had a magical year in 1969, and this book does a very good job in discussing that season and what allowed a team with stellar pitching and just enough offense to win put all the ingredients together to win the World Series and bring a great deal of encouragement to their part of New York City.

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Book Review: Ten Innings At Wrigley

Ten Innings At Wrigley:  The Wildest Ballgame Ever, With Baseball On The Brink, by Kevin Cook

While this is in general at least a mildly entertaining book in parts about an interesting game, the book is not quite as exciting as it could have been.  One gets the feeling that the author was particular interested in the larger story of some of the people involved, many of whom had compelling lives and personal histories, than he was about this particular game itself.  The game was high-scoring, a 23-22 ten innings game between two teams that really didn’t do anything in 1979, but the game itself and its discussion only takes up less than half of the space of the book.  Most of the book is spent talking about two teams that I do not particularly care about and in the legacies of the people involved in the game, which in many ways is more compelling than the game itself and its ups and downs.  Even the high scoring nature of the game appears to be due mainly to the crummy officiating as a result of having a hungover scab umpire who shrank the strike zone to such a small level that both teams were able to tee off on the ball almost at will.  That tends to take away from this game’s grandeur a bit.

This book of a bit more than 200 pages is divided into three parts.  The book begins with starting lineups and rosters and shows where the Cubs and Phillies were as of May 1979, a few weeks into the season.  After that the author discusses the Cubs and Phillies as the National League Least (I), pointing out the history of these two franchises and their failures.  The middle part of the book is devoted to a discussion of the game itself, with lots of complaints about the umpire as well as a discussion of how the Phillies build a large lead and then watched it evaporate, forcing the game into extra innings, eventually leading to depleted bullpens on both sides and victory by the Phillies in ten.  The third part of the book, and the most significant, discusses the legacies of the the people involved in the game, including the managerial drama of the Phillies, the testy relationship between Kingman and the media, the disgrace suffered later by Bill Buckner thanks to his world series error, the splitter and its legacy, as well as the family history of the Boones in baseball.

Ultimately, what makes this book enjoyable is the discussion of the people involved in this game.  Whether one is dealing with a lassiez-faire manager who is too nice to deal with players in Philadelphia who could not win to the level of expectations (something that remains true even now), or one is looking at the troubled father-son relationship between Tug McGraw and his son Tim, this book has a lot to offer and a lot of material to reflect upon.  Ultimately that material is of far greater weight than the game itself, which was a close game that was not played particularly well and which ultimately had no weight on the playoff races of the NL East in that year.  Nor was society on the brink of anything at the time except for a merciful rejection of the malaise that had afflicted American political life for far too long, which ultimately led to our own age with its deep political divides and the obsession with data collection and statistics.  This book is a throwback to a more corrupt time when a good game of baseball was seriously damaged by someone who shouldn’t have been there abusing his authority as an umpire to create unnecessary drama and difficulty for two teams struggling for wins and relevance.

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Book Review: Inside The Empire

Inside The Empire:  The True Power Behind The New York Yankees, by Bob Klapish and Paul Solotaroff

Doing a season retrospective on a team is a tough task.  One can choose a team that one thinks will be really successful that fails spectacularly, leaving one with the choice of having to repurpose one’s book to reflect that changed reality or to let the manuscript be scrapped.  In this particular case, though, there was no collapse.  By and large the Yankees have been a safe choice to write about because even when they are “rebuilding” for their next championship window they typically do well enough to play in games that matter into September and frequently end up in the playoffs even when they do not have the talent to make it to the World Series.  So it was in 2018 when this particular book was written by someone who wanted to look at the way that the Yankees were seeking to become a perennial championship contender once again with a new manager and a new generation of pinstripe heroes to bring into the public consciousness, and even though the result of the season was nothing particularly impressive, the book still does its job of promoting the Yankees and their approach to baseball for readers who like that sort of thing.

This book, at a bit more than 200 pages in length, mixes its approach between a look at the 2018 season of the Yankees as well as an attempt to look behind the scenes at people who will be a lot longer than your usual trade deadline rental.  The authors begin with a discussion of the power hitters that the Yankees had assembled (1) and looks at the beginning of the season and a key series at Boston (2).  After that the author looks in detail at Brian Cashman and his contribution to Yankee greatness (3) as well as the importance of Aaron Judge as a leader of a young team (4).  There is a discussion of CC’s role as an elder statesman (5) and as well as of the injuries that decimated the team (6).  After this the authors explore the education of young Yankee players in Tampa (7) as well as the business nature of Yankees trading for key upgrades for deep playoff runs (8).  Then the personal angle returns with a chapter on Hal Steinbrenner (9) as well as the return of Judge after recovering from injury in September (10) before the inevitable-seeming end of the season in the ALDS against Boston (11).  The book then closes with an epilogue about hot stove season as well as acknowledgements, sources, an index, and some information about the authors.

This book is certainly an informative read, but I have to admit that I am rather ambivalent about the existence of such a book.  The 2018 Yankees were not a particularly special team, given that they won a wild card birth and then failed to even make the AL Championship series, much less the World Series.  They were, at best, one of the eight best teams in baseball, when most of their team was healthy, and if that was the case one would have books on the Astros and Dodgers and Red Sox nearly every year.  Part of the reason this book has a compelling narrative is that it appears the Yankees are even stronger this year, and so if the Yankees become World Series heroes in 2019 or the early 2020’s, this book will appear to be all the more prescient because it appeared before the beginning of that World Series window.  But if the Yankees do not end up having some championship runs, this is the sort of book that few people will remember in the future, and that would make this a much less compelling read, since the authors appear to be aiming for a reputation as prophetic sports analysts.

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