Full Swing: Hits, Runs and Errors in a Writer’s Life

Ira Berkow
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012

Ira Berkow’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy is hard­ly earth-shat­ter­ing, but it does pro­vide ample evi­dence of his writ­ing skills. The New York Times colum­nist, whose 16 pre­vi­ous books include adroit biogra­phies of Hank Green­berg and Rod Carew, chron­i­cles the path that took him from his youth on Chicago’s West Side — he was all bas­ket­ball and no books — into the world of writing. 

Berkow is affa­ble and very fun­ny, often tak­ing a breezy tone except when he’s being pas­sion­ate about jus­tice and truth. There seem to be two main pur­pos­es to his book: He deals with the state of news­pa­per writ­ing (par­tic­u­lar­ly sports­writ­ing) past and present, mak­ing use of some fas­ci­nat­ing anec­dotes tak­en from a long and dis­tin­guished career. He also con­fronts his mor­tal­i­ty by look­ing back at his par­ents. In sec­tions that open and close the book, he eulo­gizes his father, Harold. Index. 

David Cohen is a senior edi­tor at Politi­co. He has been in the jour­nal­ism busi­ness since 1985 and wrote the book Rugged and Endur­ing: The Eagles, The Browns and 5 Years of Foot­ball. He resides in Rockville, MD.; his wife, Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen, writes Jew­ish children’s books.

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