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Macht, Norman L. 1929–

Macht, Norman L. 1929–

(Norm Macht, Norman Lee Macht)

PERSONAL:

Born August 4, 1929, in Brooklyn, NY; married Lois P. Nicholson (a writer). Education: University of Chicago, Ph.B., 1947; University of California—Sonoma, M.A., 1978.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Easton, MD. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Military service: U.S. Air Force, 1952-55.

MEMBER:

Society for American Baseball Research (director, 1999—).

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Jim Abbott: Major League Pitcher ("Great Achievers: Lives of the Physically Challenged" series), Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

Julius Erving ("Basketball Legends" series), Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1995.

Clarence Thomas ("Black Americans of Achievement" series), Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1995.

Roy Campanella: Baseball Star ("Great Achievers: Lives of the Physically Challenged" series), Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1996.

(With Mary Hull) The History of Slavery ("World History" series), Lucent (San Diego, CA), 1997.

The Composite Guide to Baseball, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1997.

The Composite Guide to Track and Field, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.

Roberto Alomar: An Authorized Biography ("Latinos in Baseball" series), Mitchell Lane (Childs, MD), 1999.

Taxes, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Money and Banking, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Famous Financiers and Innovators, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

"JUNIOR WORLD BIOGRAPHIES" SERIES; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Sojourner Truth, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1992.

Christopher Columbus, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1992.

Sandra Day O'Connor, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1992.

Roberto Clemente, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

Muhammad Ali, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

"BASEBALL LEGENDS" SERIES; FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Christy Mathewson, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

Babe Ruth, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

Jimmie Foxx, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

Frank Robinson, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

Satchel Paige, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1991.

Cy Young, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1992.

Lou Gehrig, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1993.

Ty Cobb, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1993.

Tom Seaver, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

Reggie Jackson, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1994.

Greg Maddux, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1997.

Roger Clemens, Chelsea House (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.

OTHER

(With Dick Bartell) Rowdy Richard: A Firsthand Account of the National League Baseball Wars of the 1930s and the Men Who Fought Them, North Atlantic (Ukiah, CA), 1987.

(With Rex Barney) Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu for Fifty Years in Baseball from Brooklyn to Baltimore, Tidewater (Centreville, MD), 1993.

(With Vince Bagli) Sundays at 2:00 with the Baltimore Colts, Tidewater (Centreville, MD), 1995.

(With Jack Kavanagh) Uncle Robbie, Society for American Baseball Research (Cleveland, OH), 1999.

Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, foreword by Connie Mack III, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

In his many biographies of famous people for young adults, Norman L. Macht covers a broad spectrum of influential figures, ranging from professional baseball players to U.S. Supreme Court justices. Part of a series about remarkable individuals overcoming physical challenges, Macht's 1994 work Jim Abbott: Major League Pitcher chronicles the life of athlete Abbott as he worked his way to major league baseball despite being born without a right hand. In addition to detailing the pitcher's baseball career, Macht also provides young readers with interesting bits of information about Abbott's personal life, such as his favorite topping for french fries. Reviewing the book in School Library Journal, contributor Blair Christolon wrote that "librarians wanting more details on Abbott's career will want to add Macht's book to their collections."

Another of Macht's works about the lives of remarkable Americans, Clarence Thomas, details the story of Clarence Thomas, nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. Macht shares with young readers the trials and hardships Justice Thomas endured while growing up as a poor black child in Georgia at a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws still persisted. While noticing the limited amount of information about Justice Thomas's legal career, Carrol McCarthy commented in a review for School Library Journal that Macht's "writing style is clear and easy to read." Recommended as a "strong addition to … biography collections" by Booklist reviewer Anne O'Malley, Clarence Thomas is "a very well written biography of a contemporary figure who is not easy to cover."

Macht has also written other books about sports, publishing The Composite Guide to Track and Field in 1999. Filled with information about the world of track and field, including portraits of famous athletes, the book includes a brief history about the early origins of the sport as well as its prominent role in the Olympics. In a Voice of Youth Advocates review of The Composite Guide to Track and Field, critic Chris Crowe noted a few problems with a "disjointed" chronology in the book, though he did go on to say that Macht "should be complimented for including a chapter on notable women in the sport and for acknowledging some of the problems that have dogged modern track and field in the final chapter, ‘Money and Drugs.’"

Though Macht is mainly known for his nonfiction for young readers, he has also written several books on baseball for older readers. His Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu for Fifty Years in Baseball from Brooklyn to Baltimore, coauthored with Barney, profiles the former baseball player and announcer for the Baltimore Orioles. Reviewing the work in Sporting News, Steve Gietschier noted that the book is "a pleasure to read for its honesty, lack of malice and plain good manners." Working with Jack Kavanagh, Macht penned Uncle Robbie, a biography of Brooklyn Dodgers manager Wilbert Robertson, who helmed that club from 1914 to 1931. During those years he managed two pennant-winning teams and even made the cover of Time magazine. Macht and Kavanagh also examine Robertson's professional baseball career as a catcher from 1886 to 1906, playing mostly with the Baltimore Orioles. Reviewing the biography in Nine, Brant E. Ducey felt that Uncle Robbie is "an enjoyable read and an obligatory one for baseball historians and Brooklyn Dodger fans." Also writing in Nine, Chuck Partington noted that it is "evident that the authors researched and collected a mass of material in order to write this book."

A labor of love over two decades, Macht's 2007 title, Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, follows the trajectory of the first half of the career of that baseball great, the longtime Philadelphia Athletics owner and manager, as well as a baseball player of renown himself. Writing in Library Journal, Robert Cottrell observed that the "tale Macht offers is often riveting, spanning the years of labor strife, the birth of the American circuit, and the evolution of the World Series." Born Cornelius McGillicuddy in 1862, Mack employed his entire life to the nascent sport of baseball. After playing catcher for his local Massachusetts team, he moved on to the Washington Nationals of the National League and then became manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers before going to Philadelphia. In these early years of baseball, he was instrumental in helping to form the American League as a strong competitor to the National. He was also known as a shrewd field tactician, initiating such practices as using more than one pitcher during a game. His skill as a talent scout was also legendary. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted of Macht's book: "Some 700 pages take us only to 1914, but the book is so detailed that it makes fascinating reading despite its length." For the same reviewer, Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball was a "compelling look at a legend and an era." Writing in the Boston Globe, Katherine A. Powers also commented on Macht's use of detail, noting even when the newly installed electric streetlights went out at night in Mack's hometown. "Macht's weakness for extraneous detail almost drove me mad with impatience and, during the first hundred pages, I came close to abandoning the book," Powers wrote. "On the other hand, Macht also includes so many fascinating details of baseball from the 1880s to 1914 that I finally forgave him."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 1995, Anne O'Malley, review of Clarence Thomas, p. 1937.

Boston Globe, October 21, 2007, Katherine A. Powers, review of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball.

Christian Library Services, January, 1998, Patricia Braun, review of The History of Slavery.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007, review of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball.

Library Journal, October 1, 2007, Robert Cottrell, review of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, p. 78.

Nine, fall, 2001, Brant E. Ducey, review of Uncle Robbie, p. 150; Chuck Partington, review of Uncle Robbie, p. 153.

School Library Journal, September, 1994, Blair Christolon, review of Jim Abbott: Major League Pitcher, p. 251; September, 1995, Carrol McCarthy, review of Clarence Thomas, p. 226; August, 2002, Jonathan Betz-Zall, review of Taxes, p. 200.

Sporting News, October 18, 1993, Steve Gietschier, review of Rex Barney's Thank Youuuu for Fifty Years in Baseball from Brooklyn to Baltimore, p. 8.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 1999, Chris Crowe, review of The Composite Guide to Track and Field, p. 135.

Weekly Standard, November 12, 2007, John C. Chalberg, "Tall Tactician; the Philadelphia Athletic in the Three-piece Suit," review of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball.

ONLINE

Philadelphia City Paper Online,http://www.citypaper.net/ (December 4, 2007), Andrew Milner, review of Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball.

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