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Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager [Kindle Edition]

Buzz Bissinger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1065 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (4 April 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005Y23KKG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #601,936 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for lovers of baseball 3 Oct. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This beautifully written book is about far more than the three games Cubs at Cardinals series that it revolves around. It is about the intricacies of the game from not just the manager's (Tony La Russa's) perspective but also from the point of view of the players and their families. It tackles some of the game's controversies and shows both sides of the argument.

Above all, it lays bare the mind of the major league manager. It examines his thought processes and shows how the game is all-consuming. La Russa loves it despite that fact that it more often than not completely stresses him out. It is this surprising dichotomy that is at the heart of the book.

A superb incite into the game. Highly recommended for any fan.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  140 reviews
66 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light Book for Baseball Fans 9 April 2005
By Richard R - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
St.Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hired Buzz Bissinger ("Friday Night Lights") to pen this study of a three-game series between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in August 2003. It's a good read, but won't be of much interest to a non-baseball fan. Bissinger clearly read Daniel Okrent's "Nine Innings" before he sat down to write, for Okrent's book is a detailed look at a single 1982 game, with analysis of personalities, baseball lore, tactics, and psychology sprinkled in as the game goes along. Fortunately, and unlike "Nine Innings", this book lets a few pitches go by in the name of a smooth and lively narrative. So readers don't get bogged down in too many details but can get through the three-game series in 250 pages. Bissinger clearly knows his audience, since the Cardinals big year wasn't 2003 and the season covered by this narrative, but rather 2004 when the team went to the World Series. So the author apends a few pages at the end describing the fates of some of the key players and the 2004 season -- certain to satisfy any Cardinal fan.

The most interesting sections are the discussions of the personalities of the players. Even La Russa, driven and manic and oblivious to the damage he is doing to his own marriage, is not quite as interesting as some of the athletes. There is Cal Eldred's journey from New York phenomenon to effective elder statesman; there is Kerry Robinson, who over-estimates his own talents and squeaks by with the occasional ability to have startling success; there is Yoda-like pitching coach Dave Duncan; the frustrating wasted talents of JD Drew and Garret Stephenson. And of course, there is the great Albert Pujols, with a talent so majestic and sublime that he may eventually rank among the handful of greatest players ever.

"3 Nights in August" is a fun read for baseball fans, and particularly Cardinal fans. Bissinger is a bit rah-rah in his devotion to La Russa, who paid him to write this book, but the cheering --like the book-- is all in fun.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buzz Bissinger's Best Writing Yet 30 Mar. 2005
By Charles Schlumberger - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Buzz Bissinger's Three Nights in August is his best effort yet -which says much, given the Pulitzer Prize winner's achievements with Friday Night Lights and A Prayer for the City. Three Nights in August is a marvelous blend of insights into baseball technique and strategy (information that will intrigue even the most knowledgeable of the sport) and revelations about the human condition, particularly in the context of teamwork, role-palying and leadership. This tightly written book, which uses as its setting a three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs in the heat of a division race, is one of substance. Anyone who has not read the book and might believe it to be just another cookie-cutter, pedestrian "as told to" vanity piece is sorely mistaken. Like Bissinger's previous works, this is a must-read.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific look at baseball behind the scenes 18 May 2005
By pistol pete - Published on
3 Nights in August is an awesome look at baseball and why it is such a great game. Buzz Bissinger follows Tony LaRussa around and chronicles a 3 game series with the Cubs. There are plenty of asides - histories of players, coaches, strategy think sessions, etc. It really brought baseball to life for me. For too many years I have lived through "fantasy" baseball, numbers flying at me through the internet. That is no way to enjoy baseball. To enjoy it through the eyes of a manager and a team that love the game - that was something very fun.

However, if you don't like baseball, you probably will be bored silly throughout this book. But you never know - give it a chance and you may appreciate the game a little bit more.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Already Seems So Long Ago 4 May 2005
By Kevin Killian - Published on
Bissinger's book isn't as inspiring as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, but he's a careful stylist, and the depth of his take on manager Tony LaRussa may never be equalled. Tony's fights and reconciliations with his wife, Elaine, over family issues and how to work out a long distance marriage are part of the book, a big part, and any honest reader will see both sides to the story and will come away with admiration for both LaRussa's for trying to handle a difficult issue in public.

Darryl Kile's death, which ironically occurred in Chicago, the city with which St Louis has such a great rivalry, is presented here in moving detail. I feel sorry for Flynn, Kile's lovely wife, and their children. Their little boy is maybe three or four now and yet he will never know his father.

The story of Rick Ankiel is treated more lightly, and will keep you in stitches. Ankiel, the pride of Fort Pierce, comes off in Bissinger's aphoristic prose as a bit of a flake.

The three games Bissinger writes about are thrillingly presented, but when I closed the book it all seemed to have happened so long ago, particularly because only in the past year or so has the issue really been broached about steroid use. LaRussa seems honest about this, but it's hard to tell how much he's covering his own ass about rampant steroid use on his team and what he knew about it. After Jose Canseco's book and congressional hearings into the matter, maybe the real story will have to wait until a few more players die brutal and unexpected deaths. Or perhaps, as Canseco implies, you're not really a man if you can't handle the drugs that go with baseball.

I must also add a word in favor of LaRussa's work with the Animal Rescue people. No matter what people say about Tony, you know his heart is in the right place, and this animal work is nothing new for him, he's been into it for eons. Good for him. If St Louis ever tires of T, there's a place for him reserved at Rainbow Bridge.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner by Buzz 1 April 2005
By Todd Bakersfield - Published on
This is another wonderful book by Buzz Bissinger. It is not only entertaining, but also enlightening. But what else would we expect from a collaboration between a top writer and one of baseball's best managers? "Three Nights in August" rates as one of my three favorite reads this 2005 season -- with "Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America" and "The Luckiest Man Alive." All three are superb.
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