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A remarkable memoir from the best-selling author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August. Buzz Bissinger's twins were born three minutes--and a world--apart. Gerry, the older one, is a graduate student at Penn, preparing to become a teacher. His brother Zach has spent his life attending special schools. He'll never drive a car, or kiss a girl, or live by himself. He is a savant, challenged by serious intellectual deficits but also blessed with rare talents: an astonishing memory, a dazzling knack for navigation, and a reflexive honesty that can make him both socially awkward and surprisingly wise.Buzz realized that while he had always been an attentive father, he didn't really understand what it was like to be Zach. So one summer night Buzz and Zach hit the road to revisit all the places they have lived together during Zach's twenty-four years. Zach revels in his memories, and Buzz hopes this journey into their shared past will bring them closer and reveal to him the mysterious workings of his son's mind and heart. The trip also becomes Buzz's personal journey, yielding revelations about his own parents, the price of ambition, and its effect on his twins.As father and son journey from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, they see the best and worst of America and each other. Ultimately, Buzz gains a new and uplifting wisdom, realizing that Zach's worldview has a sturdy logic of its own: a logic that deserves the greatest respect. And with the help of Zach's twin, Gerry, Buzz learns an even more vital lesson about Zach: character transcends intellect. We come to see Zach as he truly is: patient, fearless, perceptive, kind--a man of excellent character.
In 1990, Buzz Bissinger's Friday Night Lights became an acclaimed bestseller and national sensation, igniting immediate debate about the role of high school football in small-town Texas. Now, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist does for big cities what he did for small towns in this epic story of one remarkable politician's efforts to save a dying American City.Mayor Edward Rendell will do almost anything for Philadelphia. He will clean the bathrooms in City Hall, endure a joint appearance with Mickey Mouse, and personally lobby President Clinton to keep jobs in the city. He is that rare politician who is larger than life in his ambitions, compassion, and flaws--a man wise enough to see the comic absurdity of his job, yet crazy enough to think he can actually revive his declining city.To succeed, Rendell must negotiate a tough new contract with city workers who are threatening to strike and wreak havoc on the city. He must allay African-American leaders engaged in a zero-sum game of racial politics. He must combat the loss of tens of thousands of jobs that have brought the Workshop of the World to its knees.As Rendell and his brilliant chief of staff, David Cohen fight these political battles, four citizens of Philadelphia engage in their own personal struggles, each one connected to events at City Hall:Jim Mangan is a thirty-seven-year-old welder with a wife and six children. Unless the mayor can achieve a miracle, he and thousands of others will lose their jobs at the city's historic Naval Shipyard.Linda Morrison is a city-employed policy analyst who believes urban life can improve if the mayor embraces unprecedented change. But will Rendell have the courage? Will she be able to sustain her love for the city, or will the pressures of crime and taxes drive her away?Mike McGovern is a prosecutor whose anger at the urban violence of the city fuels his drive for justice. As he questions the personal cost of what he does, he faces one of his toughest trials, seeking life imprisonment for a teenager charged with murder.Fifi Mazzccua is an elderly woman from the inner city raising four great-grandchildren while faithfully visiting her son in prison and hoping she'll live to see the day when he is freed.At turns heart-wrenching and hilarious, A Prayer for the City dramatically illustrates high-pressure politics and the threat of economic decline facing so many cities. No author has ever written with such humanity and insight about a politician in power and the way cities really work.
A Prayer for the City is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Buzz Bissinger's true epic of Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, an utterly unique, unorthodox, and idiosyncratic leader who will do anything to save his city: take unions head on, personally lobby President Clinton to save 10,000 defense jobs, or wrestle Smiley the Pig on Hot Dog Day--all the while bearing in mind the eternal fickleness of constituents whose favor may hinge on a missed garbage pick-up or an overzealous meter maid. It is also the story of citizens in crisis: a woman fighting ceaselessly to give her great-grandchildren a better life, a father of six who may lose his job at the Navy Shipyard, and a policy analyst whose experiences as a crime victim tempt her to abandon her job and ideals. Heart-wrenching and hilarious, alive with detail and insight, A Prayer for the City describes a city on its knees and the rare combination of political courage and optimism that may be the only hope for America's urban centers.
From the ultimate team- basketball superstar LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August--a poignant, thrilling tale of the power of teamwork to transform young lives, including James's own. The Shooting Stars were a bunch of kids--LeBron James and his best friends--from Akron, Ohio, who first met on a youth basketball team of the same name when they were ten and eleven years old. United by their love of the game and their yearning for companionship, they quickly forged a bond that would carry them through thick and thin (a lot of thin) and, at last, to a national championship in their senior year of high school. They were a motley group who faced challenges all too typical of inner-city America. LeBron grew up without a father and had moved with his mother more than a dozen times by the age of ten. Willie McGee, the quiet one, had left both his parents behind in Chicago to be raised by his older brother in Akron. Dru Joyce was outspoken, and his dad was ever present; he would end up coaching all five of the boys in high school. Sian Cotton, who also played football, was the happy-go-lucky enforcer, while Romeo Travis was unhappy, bitter, even surly, until he finally opened himself up to the bond his teammates offered him. In the summer after seventh grade, the Shooting Stars tasted glory when they qualified for a national championship tournament in Memphis. But they lost their focus and had to go home early. They promised one another they would stay together and do whatever it took to win a national title. They had no idea how hard it would be to pursue that promise. In the years that followed, they would endure jealousy, hostility, exploitation, resentment from the black community (because they went to a "white" high school), and the consequences of their own overconfidence. Not least, they would all have to wrestle with LeBron's outsize success, which brought too much attention and even a whiff of scandal their way. But together these five boys became men, and together they claimed the prize they had fought for all those years--a national championship.
Three Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball's quintessential form, the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of the legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball. A great leader, he built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play. Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy and offers many surprising tactical insights. Bissinger also furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative Afterword.
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