Martin Brady

This holiday season’s essential sports volumes offer a feast of biography and history, ranging from the fairways of the PGA and the ice palaces of the NHL to the fields of pro football, international soccer and beyond.

ARNOLD PALMER'S LEGACY
Golf legend Arnold Palmer passed away in September. Fortunately, the ever-popular Palmer had just completed his own personal memory book, A Life Well Played, in which he affectionately recalls the people, places and things he cherished most in his eventful 87 years. Palmer had his fingers in everything, it seems, from business ventures (car dealerships, golf course design) to media (Golf Channel) to charity work and endless endorsement deals spanning golf equipment to the famous iced-tea-and-lemonade drink that bears his name. Among many other favorite topics, Palmer discusses his native Pennsylvania, his positive career-long relationship with the press, the “Arnie’s Army” that followed him on the golf course in his playing days, his heroes (Dwight Eisenhower, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, his dad) and his 45-year marriage to his beloved first wife, Winnie. Eminently readable and delightfully Arnie, A Life Well Played is a must for any of his many admirers.

KICK START
Olympic and World Cup soccer star Carli Lloyd has absorbed some deep professional and personal wounds along the road to establishing her champion’s persona. In When Nobody Was Watching, 34-year-old Lloyd frankly lays out her life and career, from her middle-class New Jersey origins to her ascent to the international stage, while pulling no punches in assessing soccer team dynamics, her various coaches and the sometimes political nature of relationships within the sport. Paramount among Lloyd’s more serious concerns is her longtime rift with her parents, the result of disagreements over her management. “To become the soccer player I am, I had to grow up, become my own person, and make my own decisions about what to do on the field and in life,” Lloyd writes. Through it all, Lloyd has achieved global recognition and earned acclaim as the first person ever to score a hat trick (three goals) in a FIFA Women’s World Cup final. Lloyd reserves special words in her memoir for her longtime trainer and mentor, James Galanis, and her lifelong best friend and fiancé, Brian Hollins.

HOCKEY'S HEART
Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky’s long career saw him establish astonishing statistical marks and win four Stanley Cup titles. With 99: Stories of the Game, “The Great One” gives us a wide-lens journey through hockey history. Gretzky’s number was, of course, 99 during his playing days, but the current 2016-17 season is also the 99th anniversary of the NHL. The coverage here focuses mostly on the development of the pro leagues, the founding of legendary teams and the importance of individual players (Esposito, Lemieux, Clarke, Orr, Parent, Hull, etc.). On a more personal level, he opines on the future of violence in the game and also provides sidebars on the realities of a long hockey career and the inevitability of retirement. Poignantly, Gretzky pays special homage to the original great one himself, Gordie Howe, who passed away earlier this year.

GREEN BAY GIANT
Jeff Pearlman, known for his controversial 2011 book, Sweetness, about the late football great Walter Payton, now presents Gunslinger, his biography of Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre. While Pearlman ably accounts for Favre’s supremacy on the gridiron, his assessment of the private Favre is less than flattering, depicting a good-ol’-boy prone to drinking and practical jokes, not to mention a history of painkiller abuse and infidelity. Some of the more interesting topics covered include Favre’s college victory over Alabama as signal caller for Southern Mississippi, his early pro career with the Atlanta Falcons and his later success leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory. From there, Pearlman reports on Favre’s difficult retirement and his last seasons quarterbacking the Jets and Vikings. While Favre’s high place in football history is forever guaranteed based on the numbers, Pearlman’s account might be a somewhat troubling read for his subject’s more devoted fans.

AFTER THE GAME
Noted FOX Sports broadcaster Curt Menefee has teamed up with sportswriter Michael Arkush to produce Losing Isn’t Everything, a collection of profiles of athletes whose careers—and sometimes, later lives—were marked by challenges, disappointments and the search for the fortitude necessary to carry on. The 15 “Where are they now?” chapters focus on folks such as Red Sox pitcher Calvin Schiraldi, loser of both Games 6 and 7 of the 1986 World Series; tennis player Aaron Krickstein, whose otherwise respectable career is overshadowed by a famous five-set match he lost to a combative, aging Jimmy Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open; world-class runner Mary Decker, whose considerable achievements were marred by controversy and a devastating fall; and golfer Jean van de Velde, whose startling and unreal meltdown at the 18th hole in the final round of the 1999 British Open has pretty much become the gold standard for professional sports ineptitude. Menefee’s eloquent introduction on the nature of winning and losing sets the reader up nicely for this appreciative and refreshingly different take on the games we follow so intently and the flesh-and-blood, fallible humans who dare to compete—then must face their demons, even when their playing days are over.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

This holiday season’s essential sports volumes offer a feast of biography and history, ranging from the fairways of the PGA and the ice palaces of the NHL to the fields of pro football, international soccer and beyond.

Sports heroes, military giants, one handsome movie star and savory recipes to satisfy even the burliest man’s appetite—these are the hooks that drive this holiday season’s selection of gift books for guys.

INTO THE WAR ROOM
Best known for his novel Forrest Gump, Winston Groom is also a well-published historian. His latest project, The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II, is a multi-tiered yet wholly accessible examination of the intertwined careers of three brilliant American soldiers: George Marshall, George Patton and Douglas MacArthur. All three were born in the 1880s, gained critical experience in World War I and became key players in World War II. Groom outlines each man’s personal life and military exploits with special focus on the Second World War, where Marshall excelled as an army administrator, Patton as a fiery commander of forces on the European front and MacArthur as an inspirational leader in the Pacific theater. Groom balances the strictly biographical data with well-researched historical accounts, and along the way he offers invaluable perspectives on the world politics that critically influenced his subjects’ lives.

PIGGING OUT
Accomplished author and competitive hunter Jennifer L.S. Pearsall serves up Praise the Pig: Loin to Belly, Shoulder to Ham—Pork-​Inspired Recipes for Every Meal, a comprehensive collection of more than 50 pork recipes. Pearsall’s culinary celebration begins with a thorough overview of pork cuts and styles of preparation and cooking (roasting, smoking, etc.), plus an excellent discussion of bacon brands and pork-savvy kitchen tips. Then come the recipes, with inviting full-color photos, starting with Chili-Rubbed, Salsa-Braised Chops with Spiced Rice, moving to Roasted Pork Tenderloin Chili and ending with Connecticut Clam Chowder. In between are hearty sandwiches, soups (porkestrone!), breakfast dishes, puddings, mac and cheese variations and appetizers to die for, including a Bacon and Roasted Corn Salsa that demands the immediate gathering of ingredients. No self-respecting pork lover could ever refuse this book of porcine delights.

MAN BEHIND THE MUSTACHE
Man’s man Burt Reynolds has had a hit-or-miss acting career. Yet his life has certainly been eventful, as his new memoir, But Enough About Me, clearly attests. Penned with veteran author Jon Winokur, Reynolds’ book is frankly revealing but rarely mean-spirited. For example, Burt’s short-lived marriages to Judy Carne and Loni Anderson were admittedly rocky, but he always takes the high road when he can. More enlightening are his reminiscences of his close friendships with Bette Davis and Dinah Shore, both women of substance whom Burt cherished. Coverage here is chronologically ordered, from Reynolds’ youthful days as a Florida football star to his early acting adventures in New York City to his arrival in California in the 1950s, where small television roles eventually led to feature films, including the critically acclaimed Deliverance (1972) and Boogie Nights (1997), for which he received an Oscar nomination. The enduring Reynolds turns 80 in February, and his surprisingly entertaining show-biz retrospective should find a wide audience.

HEAVYWEIGHT HERO
Journalist Davis Miller’s obsession with Muhammad Ali has spanned from his childhood to the present day, and his book Approaching Ali: A Reclamation in Three Acts represents the culmination of that relationship. The heavyweight champ first inspired Miller when he was a sickly, depressed child. As a teen, Miller had an opportunity to spar with The Greatest, an event that spawned a short news account for Sports Illustrated and helped point him toward a writing career. In this latest testament to his hero, Miller blends new material on his more recent experiences with Ali with reworked excerpts from his previous writings, presenting what he believes to be “the all-time most intimate and quietly startling portrait of Ali’s day-by-day life, as well as the only deeply detailed look at his enormously rich years after boxing.” Ali, now 74 and courageously battling Parkinson’s disease, remains one of the great figures of 20th-century sports, and this profile finds the boxer’s playful good nature and magnanimous personal spirit intact.

TALLYING THE SCORE
Veteran sportswriter Gary Myers recounts the careers of the game’s marquee quarterbacks in Brady vs Manning: The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL. Myers successfully achieves a dual biography of these iconic figures, focusing not only on what the pair have meant to the National Football League but also what they’ve meant to each other. The relationship between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning emerges here as one of keen mutual respect—both on and off the field—despite the differing nature of their media personas. When Myers isn’t connecting the dots of the Brady-Manning friendship, he serves up thorough profiles of their separate lives, including their college football careers and their arrival on the pro scene: Manning as the coveted #1 draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 and Brady as an unheralded 6th-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2000. There are no shocking revelations here, just good information, solid quotes from important football folks and interesting viewpoints on two important athletes.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Sports heroes, military giants, one handsome movie star and savory recipes to satisfy even the burliest man’s appetite—these are the hooks that drive this holiday season’s selection of gift books for guys.

With every passing day, our world seems ever more gender-neutral. Nevertheless, some topics still fit pretty comfortably into the category of the “historical purview of men,” and some fine new publications have arrived to stake their claim as appropriate holiday gifts for special guys.

THE SPORTING LIFE
Bob Ryan recently retired after clocking in close to 50 years as a print sports reporter. But Ryan’s career also encompassed television, and through the miracle of ESPN, this less-than-obviously-telegenic fellow came to be known far and wide for his knowledge of sports and no-nonsense opinions about the controversial personalities who played them. In Scribe: My Life in Sports, Ryan offers an enjoyable memoir that spans his early days as a sports-crazy lad in Trenton, New Jersey, the launching of his career with The Boston Globe and on to the decades spent covering local teams, in particular his beloved Celtics. Ryan also covered baseball, football, the Olympics and golf, but it is no surprise that his most interesting words here concern basketball figures such as Red Auerbach, Bobby Knight and Larry Bird. Ryan’s on-air activities with ESPN continue, so this volume really serves as the capper to his newspaper days as a man on a steady beat.

FIXER-UPPER
Guys are certainly not alone these days when it comes to home repairs and general Mr. (or Ms.) Fix It concerns. Yet the phrase remains “nice to have a man around the house,” and the new fourth edition of The Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual updates a volume that’s been of value to amateur handymen since 1973. The coverage is exhaustive, from descriptions of the basic tools and accessories necessary to tackle any job to wonderfully detailed instructions for completing all manner of interior and exterior repair and remodeling projects. The editors assume the reader’s can-do spirit and dive right in with thorough descriptions of plumbing, electrical, landscaping, masonry and woodworking projects, along with step-by-step instructions supplemented by color photos and drawings. Even for those guys who may not muster the chutzpah to actually replace a toilet or asphalt shingles, this hefty tome will serve as a superior, safety-conscious general guide and reference for home use.

FIRE IT UP
In a health-conscious modern world, meat—especially red meat—has endured its share of revisionist dietary criticism. But that doesn’t stop acclaimed U.K. food writer Nichola Fletcher from providing endlessly supportive and knowledgeable text for The Meat Cookbook, which emerges as a salutary—and heavily illustrated—celebration of all things carnivorous. Fletcher’s lengthy opening section, “Meat Know-How,” is a storehouse of general info on meat, from assessing the various cuts to using cutlery, from modes of cooking to preparing sauces. The individual chapters focus on the specific meat categories—poultry, pork, beef, lamb, game and even offal (organ meats that require special cooking attention). A final section, “Home Butchery,” goes where most of us regular folks fear to tread, but it provides valuable information and useful diagrams for home kitchen prep, including good reminders on hygiene and safety. The hundreds of recipes by Christopher Trotter, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr and Rachel Green look nothing short of spectacular and provide a survey of meat dishes from across the globe.

FULL STEAM AHEAD
“Stunning” is one word that describes Train: The Definitive Visual History. This massive, gorgeously produced volume is nothing short of a feast for the eyes, at once an impressive publishing achievement and probably the definitive popular work on its subject. Produced under the supervision of the Smithsonian and general consultant Tony Streeter, the book’s beauty and authority outweigh even its serious poundage as it chronicles the development of locomotives and railroads, describes more than 400 train engines and railcars, explores worldwide rail journeys and features plenty of side trips over bridges and through tunnels. The detailing of the trains themselves is spectacular, all in vivid color and including the minutiae of technical specifications, which will enthrall any train buff. For those happy enough with the history alone, the text is enjoyable and comprehensive, filled with profiles of early 19th-century pioneer inventors, interesting facts about the industry’s expansion from England to Europe to the U.S., plus sidebars on the train’s roles as a prime mover of people and an engine of war.

WHAT A MARVEL
Finally, there’s Marvel Comics: 75 Years of Cover Art, yet another gloriously hefty volume. This one celebrates that perennial obsession of just about every young guy—and even some older ones. Historically, there was always a divide between lovers of DC Comics (Superman, Batman, etc.) and those who favored Marvel Comics, purveyors of Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, X-Men and many other iconic superheroes. Yet comparisons are odious, and at their best, Marvel’s covers were (and are) wonderful. This compelling gallery of enlarged examples pops with dazzling color and dramatic action, backed by Alan Cowsill’s captions and sidebars describing each print, along with capsule profiles of important artists such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr. The covers are divided into four historical periods—Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Modern Age—offering a striking overview of the development of the art form’s style, as well as comics’ reflection of societal changes. One cover even features President Obama!

 

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

With every passing day, our world seems ever more gender-neutral. Nevertheless, some topics still fit pretty comfortably into the category of the “historical purview of men,” and some fine new publications have arrived to stake their claim as appropriate holiday gifts for special guys.

The 2013 holiday season brings a choice selection of gift books that appear tailor-made for basic male interests. Football? Comic books? Bikini-clad supermodels? Somebody’s dad, brother, husband or uncle is going to be very pleased this year.

The only gift item here devoid of pictures is The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to Be a Man. Curated by novelist Colum McCann, the editors of Esquire and Narrative 4—a literary nonprofit launched last spring—this collection features fairly offbeat, often unbelievably terse contributions that aim to shed light on male identity and behavior. Most of the writers are men—some well known, others not so much—but women are represented as well. The latter group includes Amy Bloom, who serves up a charming slice-of-life tale about a white man of modest means in romantic pursuit of a black jazz singer 20 years his junior. James Lee Burke, Salman Rushdie and former NYPD cop Edward Conlon are just a few of the many male contributors, with material touching on sexuality, war, ethics, race and the manly struggle for emotional growth.

FUNNY GUY

Photographer Matt Hoyle’s Comic Genius: Portraits of Funny People is one of the most appealing photo books in recent memory. After drawing up a wish list of his favorite comedians, Hoyle invited each of them to collaborate in a creative photo shoot that produced animated, often hilarious portraits. Ninety comedy icons are represented, including Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Conan O’Brien, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Mindy Kaling, Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell, plus legendary vets like Don Rickles, Joan Rivers and Mel Brooks. There’s also a welcome shot of the late, great Jonathan Winters. Produced in close studio quarters, these portraits capture less about the comedians themselves and more about their individual comedic styles.

MY HERO

Any guy who’s been keeping an eye on the PBS series “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle” will doubtless be enthralled by its companion volume, Superheroes! Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture. This rich history of the rise and development of the American comic book industry is written by NYU arts professor Laurence Maslon in collaboration with the documentary’s filmmaker, Michael Kantor. The book features interviews with the artists and writers responsible for conceiving and crafting comic books through the decades—especially in the popular superhero genre. Plus, there are hundreds of full-color illustrations that lead the reader through the Depression-era origins of the art form and on to its expanding pop culture importance. There’s also a good deal of material on how comic book art has changed with the times, reflecting war, social upheaval and shifting artistic tastes.

FOURTH AND GOAL

Produced under the auspices of the Library of Congress and with sharp text by writer Susan Reyburn, Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game takes its place as an essential popular sports history. A surefire gift idea for that couch-potato football guy, this book deftly melds social history with a super-fan’s sensibility about great modern-day players and auspicious moments on the field. Coverage is comprehensive, from the sport’s nascent development in rural Colonial times, to its growth in colleges in the late 19th century, through its eventual explosion as a billion-dollar professional pursuit. The feast of archival material includes photos, drawings, reproduced magazine and newspaper excerpts, cartoons, advertising and more. This one should be under the Christmas tree just in time for the NFL playoffs.

MADE BY HAND

Even in our highly computerized modern world, there remains a deep respect for hands-on craftsmanship. With that in mind, photographer Tadd Myers set out for mostly rural outposts where dedicated men and women still rely on manual labor to achieve great things. The result is Portraits of the American Craftsman, a rare pictorial journey across America, with Myers visiting 30 small studios and workshops where handmade items such as hats, pipes, surfboards, knives, rifles, gun holsters, banjos, boots and brooms are lovingly produced by old-fashioned artisans. Small-town Texas and Vermont get paid multiple visits, as do Chicago and Nashville, and one surprising journey takes Myers to Colorado, where Billings Artworks metallurgy shop hand-renders each and every Grammy Award. Text by Eric Celeste provides background on these old-school industries and explains how the work is actually done.

COVER GIRLS

Finally, there is Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful, a doorstopper of a volume that is loaded with personal testimony and historical narrative about Sports Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issues, as told by the editors, photographers and models who made it happen. It’s no surprise, however, that the engaging text is blown away by the gorgeously printed photos, which capture the moments when cover girls such as Cheryl Tiegs, Elle Macpherson and Heidi Klum moved from mere models to international icons. A subsection focuses on athletes as models (Danica Patrick, Lindsey Vonn), including husband-wife teams, notably golfer Phil Mickelson and his bikini-clad better half, Amy, in a charming 1998 shot that predates Phil’s rise as PGA great and the couple’s heroic, public battle with Amy’s breast cancer. The ladies emerge as timeless stunners, but so does this richly designed book, which celebrates glamour photography and SI’s commitment to doing it with class for half a century.

The 2013 holiday season brings a choice selection of gift books that appear tailor-made for basic male interests. Football? Comic books? Bikini-clad supermodels? Somebody’s dad, brother, husband or uncle is going to be very pleased this year. The only gift item here devoid of pictures is The Book of Men: Eighty Writers on How to […]

Award-winning journalist Wil S. Hylton has contributed stories to the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire, Rolling Stone and other national periodicals. His previous assignments involved some interesting physical challenges, but his new book, Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II, offered him the storyteller’s task of rigorously and accurately bringing to life the exploits of a team of modern-day sleuths hell-bent on tracking down the remains of World War II MIAs from the Pacific Ocean theater.

The story begins with an old trunk passed down to a Texan named Tommy Doyle, whose father Jimmie was reported missing in the South Pacific when the B-24 bomber on which he served was shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. Doyle senior, it turns out, was but one of many Navy fliers whose whereabouts—and ultimate fate—remained unaccounted for. Enter Pat Scannon, a medical doctor but also a man of varied other talents and with a dogged curiosity about the events of WWII. In the early ’90s, Scannon and other researchers gained notoriety when they located a sunken Japanese trawler downed by Navy flier George H.W. Bush in July 1944. Scannon’s subsequent research into military records and his investigations into the fighting around the Palau barrier reef have led to the salvaging of many downed U.S. warplanes, not to mention the physical remains of MIAs whose families had grieved uncertainly for decades.

Much of this volume concerns itself with the underwater archaeology relevant to a bomber, the 453, that disappeared over Palau carrying 11 men on September 1, 1944. While Scannon is the story’s major player, there are other amazingly determined and dedicated men and women—scientists, military personnel, divers, archivists, historians, plus local island inhabitants drawing from their eyewitness memories of actual events—without whom the many clues might never have been precisely collected.

Besides the many-angled aspects of the seemingly impossible search and recovery missions, Hylton’s narrative covers the broader historical perspective via useful material concerning the military background to the war in the Pacific. He also gives poignant insights into the families of the missing men, some of whom ultimately found a certain closure that had once seemed unattainable.

Award-winning journalist Wil S. Hylton has contributed stories to the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire, Rolling Stone and other national periodicals. His previous assignments involved some interesting physical challenges, but his new book, Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II, offered him the storyteller’s task of rigorously and accurately […]

Father’s Day 2013 brings with it memoirs, nostalgia pieces, books on child-rearing (specifically from Dad’s POV) and also interesting volumes related to golf’s singular, imaginative hold on the father-son bond. We can’t review every item that made it over the transom, but here’s a sampler of our favorites.

SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND

In an epic mix of sprawling journalism and personal memoir, veteran magazine writer Stephen Rodrick presents The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey into His Father’s Life, in which he searches for clues to the mystery of his dad, a U.S. Navy pilot who crashed into the Indian Ocean in 1979 during maneuvers that were part of America’s response to the Iranian hostage crisis of that year. Rodrick, only 13 at the time, here acknowledges the resulting emotional gaps and confusion in his family’s life, and sets out to grapple with his own dysfunction while also investigating his father’s past to gain perspective on the man and on the military lifestyle in general, especially as it affects spouses and children. Rodrick’s approach is nothing if not frank, and at the risk of alienating those he loves, he emerges triumphant, purging some personal demons and seeming to gain a better understanding of what family means.

There are some interesting thematic similarities to Rodrick’s work in The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, a Son, and the CIA, in which former Newsweek foreign correspondent Scott C. Johnson recounts his curiously peripatetic upbringing and makes an effort to understand his father and his unlikely profession. It wasn’t until he was a teenager that Johnson learned his dad was a CIA agent. Looking back, Johnson recounts the veil of deception that always seemed to shroud his father’s attitudes, demeanor and social activities. Questions remain unanswered for years, yet some clarity emerges right before 9/11, when son elicits from father an understanding of his notions of patriotism and morality. Later, while working as an international reporter in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnson begins to find parallels in his own work, mainly in its secretive nature and its reliance on a certain kind of trust. With a scope spanning the Cold War and the war on terror, Johnson’s father-son memoir offers a rare glimpse of family, from separation to hard-won reconciliation.

LIFE ON THE LINKS

In Loopers: A Caddie’s Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey, professional golf caddy turned journalist John Dunn offers an engaging and surprisingly gritty approach to the sport’s literature. Against his father’s wishes, Dunn takes up the life of an itinerant caddy, and this volume essentially covers his episodic, two-decade journey across the U.S. working at golf courses great and small. Dunn makes it inside Augusta National Golf Club, manages to cross paths with celebrities and titans of industry, even travels across the pond to St. Andrews. It’s a gypsy existence that sometimes demands a scrappy persistence and a lot of compromises, yet Dunn’s account makes clear that his “a breed apart” personality is a good match for the vagabond lifestyle, which includes its fair share of fun and adventure. The book comes full circle when Dunn must confront his father’s imminent death from cancer. Closure occurs as the book reaches its poignant end, and golf’s linkage to the relationship between fathers and sons resonates once again.

TWO BIG DADDIES

Actor Steve Schirripa has had some great roles. Formerly the entertainment director of the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, he then parlayed his connections there into both TV and big-screen roles, mainly on “The Sopranos” as Bobby Bacala. Fact is, Schirripa is bigger than life. And while his new book, Big Daddy’s Rules: Raising Daughters Is Tougher Than I Look, written with Philip Lerman, definitely has a tongue-in-cheek feel to it, the tough-guy approach he espouses to child-rearing is heartfelt and refreshingly commonsensical. For Schirripa, it’s about protection—plus it’s his conviction that when parents assert an authoritative stance, kids will push boundaries more reasonably (and hence maybe end up with fewer tattoos!). This is parenting the old-school way, laced with tales from the trenches and committed advice on how to bring kids through the tough years, including discussion of topics like dating and sex, drinking and drugs, the value of money and hard work, and more.

“Today, big families are like waterbed stores; they used to be everywhere, and now they are just weird.” So says popular comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan, the author of Dad Is Fat but more tellingly the father of five young children, who, as of this writing, live with him and his “very fertile wife, Jeannie” in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Unsurprisingly, Gaffigan’s new book reads like one big extended stand-up routine about family life in general and the challenges of parenting a large brood in particular. Fans of the author’s sharp, dry wit will definitely be amused. The book is peppered with warm, candid photos of Gaffigans young and old.

AN AMERICAN ICON

Finally, there’s John Wayne: The Genuine Article, a coffee-table book suitable for the movie legend’s fans. Wayne was a dad, of course—son Ethan provides the preface here—and certainly was an authoritative film figure who epitomized the rugged American male. Michael Goldman’s text offers a welcome rundown of Duke’s life, from his almost accidental entry into the movies to his iconic rise in celluloid and later status as patriotic figure, with concluding chapters sharing a glimpse into Wayne’s personal moments and memories as a father. The plentiful graphic material includes reproductions of rare personal documents, family photos, letters to and from Hollywood stars and politicians, shooting-script excerpts from various Wayne flicks and other memorabilia.

Father’s Day 2013 brings with it memoirs, nostalgia pieces, books on child-rearing (specifically from Dad’s POV) and also interesting volumes related to golf’s singular, imaginative hold on the father-son bond. We can’t review every item that made it over the transom, but here’s a sampler of our favorites. SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND In an epic mix […]

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