THE BOOKS

 

 

PRAISE

Praise for American Jews and America's Game

“Informative, inspiring, historically significant and a pleasure to read, this is a book that anybody who cares about America’s game or America’s Jews will cherish.”

Jonathan D. Sarna, author of American Judaism: A History
and chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History

 

“The Boys of Summer was really something else: genuine players in their next life. But American Jews and America’s Game is as much cultural history as it is baseball, and there is nothing quite comparable.”

Sol Gittleman, Alice and Nathan Gantcher University Professor of Judaic Studies, Tufts University

 

Famed Kirkus Reviews caught the book’s spirit, substance, and its author’s persona, accurately in its timely first review, among many others:

“An idiosyncratic collection of interviews with American Jews on, off and some barely near the field of baseball.

 

“By interviewing the descendants of Hank Greenberg, baseball’s first Jewish superstar, and contemporaries of the famously reclusive Sandy Koufax, Ruttman (Voices of Brookline, 2005) checks off the two most important names on anyone’s list of Jews who have made a mark in the national pastime. Of course, there’s room for plenty more: MVP Al Rosen; Ken Holtzman, the Jewish pitcher with the most career wins; Ron Blomberg, the game’s first designated hitter; today’s stars like Kevin Youkilis and Ian Kinsler. Surely there’s a place among these pages for baseball executives like Commissioner Bud Selig (who provides the foreword), owner Jerry Reinsdorf, longtime front-office man Randy Levine, and the youngest GM ever, Theo Epstein. It’s also easy to make a case for many of the talented Jewish writers who’ve memorably covered the game, among them Ira Berkow, Roger Kahn and Murray Chass. More than a few of Ruttman’s choices are eccentric, but prove worthy inclusions: for example, two women from the defunct All-American Girls Professional Baseball League or the man who came up with the idea of Jewish baseball cards. However, by the time the author gets around to Jeffrey Maier, who as a 12-year-old authored a tiny footnote by interfering with a ball in play during the 1996 ALCS, and certainly to the likes of merely well-known fans Barney Frank and Alan Dershowitz, Ruttman stretches the notion of Jewish “voices” in baseball about as far as it can go. Nevertheless, this longtime attorney remains a gentle, always enthusiastic questioner, interested in his subjects’ love for the game, their experiences with anti-Semitism and their connection to their faith. Other subjects include Marvin Miller, Marty Appel, Donald Fehr and Gabe Kapler.

 

“Almost always charming, occasionally enlightening and sometimes just plain odd.”

Kirkus Reviews, highly respected reviewer of published books since 1933

“Ruttman reports on his subjects’ backgrounds and the manner in which their Jewishness has affected their lives and careers. In this regard, American Jews & America’s Game is as much about American Jewish identity and the anti-Semitism that pervaded the country in decades past as it is about Jews and baseball, and this adds depth and dimension to each chapter. With the exception of [Hank] Greenberg, who passed away in 1986, Ruttman interviews all his subjects; Greenberg’s story is told via conversations with those who are connected to him, starting with son Steve, daughter Alva, and Ralph Kiner.… Prior to reading a chapter on an individual with whom I was familiar, I asked myself: What will I learn about this person that I do not know? More often than not, Ruttman offers observations that transcend the obvious.”

Rob Edelman, NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, Vol. 22, No. 1, Fall 2013 

 

Praise for Voices of Brookline

“Many, many thanks for the copy of Voices of Brookline.... I only wish Jack could have read it too!”

—Senator Edward M. Kennedy

 

“[Ruttman has] done a wonderful job at bringing a community to life, through the voices of its citizens—a fascinating array of people whose personalities and characters shine through. What is so appealing about the book is the warmth of spirit, the good-humor, all conveying a feeling of community that is very encouraging.... Congratulations on a fine job of oral history. Oh, yes, the photos are a special treat.”

 

“[This] book is a model of how an oral history of a town ought to be written.”

—Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus, Boston University; author of A People’s History of the United States

 

“Thanks for sharing the book with me. Brookline has a special quality that I think you conveyed very well. The method of doing it not simply by asserting it, but in a very non-didactic way by presenting this wide range of people who embody that character works very well. I’ve been reading it and in some ways it’s like getting a chance to spend time with some old friends whom I hadn’t seen for a while. Thanks!”

Barney Frank, former outspoken and longtime United States Congressman

 

Voices of Brookline is truly fascinating and deserves everyone’s applause. It is vibrant, dynamic, compelling and important. It is the voice of the best in America as heard, lived, and cherished in an amazing and beautiful village. It is a story of a precious community where friendships and love will continue to prevail.”

—Robert F. Drinan, S.J., former congressman representing Brookline;
Dean Emeritus, Boston College Law School; author of Can God and Caesar Coexist?

Praise for My Eighty-Two Year Love Affair with Fenway Park

Ted Williams in 1940 at Comiskey Park.

Ted Williams at Comiskey Park in 1940. Already The Kid is showing the moodiness that accompanied his prolific rookie slugging feats.
Photo copyright © Boston Red Sox. Used by permission.

A front-row seat on Sox history, from Ted to Mookie and everyone in between

“At 87, Larry Ruttman can’t yet claim to be the longest-living inhabitant of Red Sox Nation. But as he unspools a lifetime of memories that begins with a 5-year-old’s glimpse of Lou Gehrig — Lou Gehrig! — and is bookended with a story of the letter he sent to the Sox general manager predicting greatness for a hot new prospect named Mookie Betts, Ruttman reveals an unmatched, and highly personal, view of what it meant to have a front-row seat on Fenway Park history.

“What for many of us can be summoned only through black-and-white photographs, yellowed newspaper clippings, and dusty tomes, Ruttman offers first-hand recollections in My Eighty Year Love Affair With Fenway Park, From Teddy Ballgame to Mookie Betts, the memoir Ruttman has posted on his website....

“....It is with something approaching incredulity that we arrive at the end of Ruttman’s memoir, marveling at the obvious love he has sustained for the game, and for the Sox, through good times and bad. There is just one thing missing: A 'TO BE CONTINUED’ line at the end. The Sox, and Larry Ruttman, remain an interlocking work in progress.

“Follow this link to read Larry Ruttman’s memoir.
http://www.americanjewsandamericasgame.com/fenway-memoir.html"

Gordon Edes, former historian of the Boston Red Sox

Medium.com

June 7, 2018

MookieBetts.jpeg

Red Sox Nation was saddened by the departure of All Time Great Mookie Betts, but Fate knew his true future lay in Tinseltown, USA.
Photo copyright © Boston Red Sox. Used by permission.

Praise for Intimate Conversations: Face to Face with Matchless Musicians

The paragraphs below are from a recent letter Larry Ruttman wrote to the twenty-one world class musicians with whom he conversed to write this book, and who each have a chapter in the book:

"These past few months spent putting this book together have been an odyssey for me. To produce a book fulfilling my dream of a layman probing into the psyches of musicians who have thrilled me for a lifetime is an unlikely dream come true! It has brought forth talents in producing the book in addition to its writing I never knew I had. It is a beautiful book. To see it take life is an astounding life enhancing experience, especially for a nonagenarIan. In its present form it will find a home in musical and regular libraries including the Library of Congress, musical, historical, and other associations, symphony orchestras, museums, the homes of my many friends and associates, other appropriate institutions, and others. I will then use my energy to place it with a foremost trade publisher to give it the popular dissemination I believe it deserves. I am optimistic about that prospect.

 

"I might also add that the nature of the book makes it not only one to be read for pleasure, but also appropriate as a reference work to be used as a teaching tool in college courses not only focused on music directly, but also as music and musicians relate to the values of Western culture. To that end, I have contracted for a general index easily navigable to all the book’s topics by all academics whether teachers, students, or researchers.”

Larry Ruttman, letter to interviewees of Intimate Conversations

"An avid classical music fan talks with some of his favorite composers, conductors, and musicians in this collection of interviews. Ruttman makes it clear from the outset that he is not a professional musician. He approaches his questions from the point of view of an enthusiast whose appreciation for music spans roughly 60 years. He has assembled an impressive list of interviewees in the classical music world, separating them into such sections as composers (John Harbison, Unsuk Chin, Osvaldo Golijov), conductors (Gil Rose, Martin Pearlman), instrumentalists and vocalists (Anne-Sophie Mutter, Susan Graham, Aiko Onishi), music management (Mark Volpe), and the “beyond genre” (Ran Blake, Eden MacAdam-Somer, Monica Rizzio). An attorney who penned American Jews and America’s Game (2013), Ruttman found himself immersed in the classical music culture in Boston, digesting the details of the program at every performance he attended. That’s on clear display in these interviews, as the author has historical notes on heavyweights like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven at the ready. He examines his subjects’ personal histories and their philosophies, musical and otherwise, and comes up with good questions, as when he asks Harbison if he can compose while working as a conductor. And he gets some thought-provoking answers, as when Chin says, with regard to her composing, 'Music is not self-expression. One has to alienate, to keep a distance from themselves.' . . . "

Kirkus Reviews

"Dear Larry, Thank you ever so much for sending along your beautiful book, and for the lovely inscription. Your fascinating subjects are well served by the lyricism of your accounts of their work and by your piercing and perceptive questioning."

Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"What an exciting signed present that just arrived! I read four of the fantastic interviews so far and learned so much more about people I thought I knew. It is such an interesting document of depth in how these excellent musicians think about so many things. The “conversation” is multifaceted and fascinating. Bravo on an amazing project!!!"

Joan Tower
Renowned American composer and esteemed Professor of Music at Bard College

"Wow, I’m so excited! I just got a copy of your book in the mail. So looking forward to reading the whole thing, and this is a good summer to do so when I am spending so much time sitting with a new baby. Congratulations! And thank you so much for including me. I am truly honored to be a part of this collection."

Eden MacAdam-Somer, DMA
Co-Chair, Department of Contemporary Improvisation, New England Conservatory

"Thank you so much for inscribing a copy of INTIMATE CONVERSATIONS to me.  The volume is beautifully produced and introduces me to a host of musical figures about whom I know all too little.  Wonderful that you have written this book!    I hope that it enjoys great success."

Jonathan D. Sarna

University Professor, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History,
and Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

"When I returned to my home today, your wonderful book greeted my at the front door. What a fabulous opus!  Your book is both touching and scholarly.  I feel quite honored by your generous gift and kind remarks. I will read it with great interest. Many thanks!"

Lew Lipsitz
Nationally known Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard gerontologist
Director, Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife

Praise for Larry Ruttman: A Life Lived Backwards - An Existential Triad of Friendship, Maturation, and Inquisitiveness
 

"For those who love to read well-crafted memoirs, and I include myself in that population, let me introduce you to  a dynamic audio experience, titled, A Life Lived Backwards, One Man’s Life, your chance to listen to life-changing stories straight from the master memoirist’s mouth.  I have the honor and pleasure of sitting across from Larry Ruttman, author of the engrossing memoir titled above, in a recording studio.  Larry and I have created a podcast series that definitely lives up to  the expression 'must-listen' radio.   I simply pose the questions to launch Larry Ruttman  into sharing fascinating stories about  his youth, family,  romance, baseball, the law, medicine, philosophy and so much more.  These conversations are engaging, humorous and heartfelt, the recollections crystal clear, told to us by a master wordsmith whether in writing or in person whose love of life  and appreciation for so much of it is infectious!"

Jordan Rich
Broadcaster and Podcaster, Chart Productions, Inc. / WBZ