RARA-AVIS: The Godfather and Mark Winegardner

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 10 Feb 2003

Chris Martin wrote:

"This talk about the Godfather is interesting since Random House recently conducted a search to find an author to write a sequal to the book. I scoffed when I heard of this, but now that they've chosen Mark Winegardner to write the books, I am intrigued. As far as I know, nothing Winegardner has written is particularly hardboiled, but the guy such a great writer and storyteller that this could be interesting."

I found it interesting that Associated Press or the reporter (if AP picked up the story from the Random House announcement) didn't have the correct information on Winegardner. The AP article mentioned that he was the author of the baseball novel, Prophet of the Sandlots. That book actually is a non-fiction book about baseball scouting while his baseball novel was The Vera Cruz Blues about the Mexican League in 1946. He incorporated many real people into the story including Ernest Hemingway, Babe Ruth, Diego Rivera, Gene Tunney and the major league players who were lured to Mexico. It's near the top of my favourite baseball novels.

Winegardner also wrote a travel book titled Elvis Presley Boulevard that is worth tracking down as well co-authoring with Steve Fireovid, The 26th Man, about Fireovid's dream of making the big leagues as a pitcher. In his "big" novel about Cleveland between 1948 and 1969, Crooked River Burning, Winegardner again incorporates real people such as Eliot Ness, Alan Freed and Carl Stokes. I got to page 285 of this 561-page epic when I put it aside, but plan to get back to it soon. I haven't found his book of short stories, but based on what I have read, I expect Winegardner is up to handling The Godfather challenge.

Kent Morgan in Winnipeg

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