Joe DiMaggio was born of Italian immigrant parents in 1914 in California. His father was a fisherman, a trade that DiMaggio was expected to carry on. The only problem was that young Joe hated fishing. He preferred baseball, and set out to prove to his parents that he could make a career out of playing the game.
DiMaggio played for the New York Yankees from 1936 to 1951, during which time he hit 361 home runs, had a career batting average of .325 and struck out only 369 times. In 1941 he set a record by hitting safely in 56 games in a row, a feat which may never be repeated. In 1943 DiMaggio stepped away briefly from baseball to enlist in the Air Force. He served for 31 months but saw no action, mostly because his celebrity was such that officials were worried it would devastate morale if he were killed in battle.
The book follows DiMaggio through his two anxious and high-profile marriages. The first was to Dorothy Arnold in 1937. The second, in 1954, was to Marilyn Monroe. DiMaggio had just retired and Monroe's career was just taking off when they met. They were "a mess of fame" together and the marriage lasted just 274 days. DiMaggio never remarried, and he and Monroe eventually did reconnect later in life.
As he aged, DiMaggio became a compulsive penny-pincher. He would do anything to save a buck when he had millions in the bank. He died in 1999.
This report prepared by Matthew Christensen