In Marin / READING LIST
MM: What drew you to this
AS: In the summer of 2005 I happened to read two books, The Feast of
the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa and
Satchel Paige’s America by William
Price Fox. I was fascinated by the
story of Rafael Trujillo (former president of the Dominican Republic), and
when I read about Paige’s wanderings
in Trujillo’s country, I was transfixed.
I wanted to get to the bottom of the
story, so I took a trip to the library at
UC Santa Barbara, where I located
Dominican newspapers from 1937.
The story turned out to be better
than it had ever been told — so I set
out to tell it.
MM: The book seems like a marriage
of sports and politics. How did your
career as a political adviser influence
your narration of Paige’s story?
AS: This is not a typical sports
book — it is really a story about race,
politics and baseball. So knowing a
thing or two about politics gave me a
deeper insight into the motives and
actions of the political figures.
MM: What was the most surprising
thing you learned over the course of
your decade of research?
AS: That Satchel Paige’s struggles
were so monumental. They start with
being born in abject poverty, then
being incarcerated for most of his
adolescence, and then, as an adult,
becoming one of the most remarkable
athletes of his generation — yet, as
an African-American, being banned
from Major League Baseball.
MM: Trujillo’s whims and orders were
completely terrifying. What do you
think readers can learn given the current international political situation?
AS: We can learn that only by being
vigilant and willing to fight for our
liberty and civil rights can we maintain it. And for our country, that
means recognizing that elections
have consequences and we all need
to vote. CALIN VAN PARIS
Author Talk The Pitcher and the Dictator by Ace Smith (San
Francisco), University of Nebraska, $26.95. Soon after
Satchel Paige arrived at spring training in 1937 to
pitch for the Pittsburgh Crawfords, he and five of his
teammates were lured to the Dominican Republic
with the promise of easy money to play a short baseball tournament in support of the country’s dictator,
Rafael Trujillo. As it turned out, the money wasn’t so easy. After Paige
and his friends arrived on the island, they found themselves under the
thumb of Trujillo, known by Dominicans for murdering those who disappointed him. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera June 25, 7 p.m.
Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces by Michael Chabon
(Berkeley), Harper, $19.99. For the September 2016
issue of GQ, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael
Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son
Abraham, then 13, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
What gradually emerged was a deep respect for
his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral
sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six
additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning,
magic and mysteries of fatherhood as only Chabon can. Appearing at
Book Passage Corte Madera June 6, 7 p.m.
Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black (San
Francisco), Soho Crime, $27.95. In the 18th mys-
tery in Cara Black’s Parisian detective series,
private investigator Aimée Leduc is hired to find
a notebook that contains the full confession of an
accountant who, for decades, has been helping a
cadre of dirty cops launder stolen money. Leduc
isn’t sure what she’s more afraid of: the danger-
ous men who would kill for the notebook or the idea that her father’s
name might be among the dirty cops listed within it. Appearing at
Book Passage Corte Madera June 18, 7 p.m.
Dry-Me-Dry: The Untold Story of the “Amazing
3 Fibre Towel” by Sarah Horowitz (Greenbrae),
publisher and price TBA. In the 1930s, Alabama
textile firm West Point Manufacturing Co. came
up with a groundbreaking dish towel fabric that
combined cotton and linen with rayon, a relatively
new fiber. The patented blend became famous
among American homemakers for lint-free absorption and speedy
moisture evaporation. In the 1950s, Martex Dry-Me-Dry dish towels
got a face-lift from Manhattan industrial designers John and Earline
Brice. Appearing at Book Passage Sausalito June 27, 6 p.m.
Local Page Turners
Reviews by Book Passage Marketing Manager Zack Ruskin.
We sat down with
San Francisco’s Ace
Smith to discuss
his book The Pitcher
and the Dictator,
which tells the
story of baseball
player Satchel Paige
and his unique