Chuck Klosterman returns with “The Nineties”


With our tendency to assign nicknames to decades, such as the Roaring 20s and the 60s, it seems strange that we have never found a good one for the 1990s. (“Noughties” for the decade 2000-2010 has not never caught on.)

Former Beacon Journal reporter (1998-2002) Chuck Klosterman doesn’t assign a name either, but “The Nineties: A Book” does well to illuminate a decade that may now be forgotten.

Klosterman begins with a look at baby boomers and Generation X and the Mandela effect, a phenomenon that describes a false collective memory; it is named after a 2009 occurrence of a large group who were certain that Nelson Mandela had died in prison in the 1980s (he actually died in 2013).

Reading the book can evoke wonder at reminders of culture and events. Klosterman delves into film and music, particularly Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” which he calls “the inflection point where one style of Western culture ends and another begins,” with Kurt Cobain dying just after that. of Tupac Shakur in prominence.

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Klosterman devotes space to the 1992 and 1996 elections and the unsuccessful 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. The growth of VHR technology allowed consumers to watch movies at home anytime, the availability of cell phones meant they didn’t have to stay home and wait for a call. The explosion of the internet has made it possible for users to research and shop from their living room.

Dissecting the call of “Friends” and “Seinfeld”, the 1994 baseball strike and the era of steroids, the OJ Simpson trial and the panic of the year 2000, Klosterman puts the entire decade into perspective.

“The Nineties” (384 pages, hardcover) costs $28 from Penguin Press. Chuck Klosterman’s other books include the “Raised in Captivity” collection of stories and “Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota”.

‘Hebrew Hammer’

In his introduction to “Hebrew Hammer: A Biography of Al Rosen, All Star Third Baseman,” author Joseph Wancho says his book is the first comprehensive biography written about Rosen.

The full length is right. A fuller examination of the Cleveland slugger’s career is unimaginable. Wancho, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, has devoted much effort to chronicling Rosen’s life from his childhood in South Carolina and Miami, where he endured taunts from schoolmates for he was Jewish. Rosen’s sports hero was Hank Greenberg, then of the Detroit Tigers and also known as the Hebrew Hammer.

Rosen excelled in sports and earned a full scholarship to a military academy in Florida, where he was a boxing champion and also excelled in football, baseball and boxing. After some time in college and the minor leagues, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Battle of Okinawa.

Rosen joined Cleveland in September 1948 and played in the World Series, which the Indians won 4-2. He played for the team for his entire career, retiring in 1956. Wancho includes stats to appeal to the most particular reader, as well as items like Rosen eating carrots to improve his night game viewing.

After retirement, Rosen became a stockbroker and later a baseball executive, serving as president of the Yankees, Astros and Giants. He served as a bodyguard for television news pioneer Dorothy Fuldheim when she traveled to Israel in 1967 to cover the Six Day War.

Al Rosen was the unanimous choice for American League Most Valuable Player in 1953; no Cleveland player has won it since. He was also Baseball Manager of the Year in 1987; no other person has won both awards. He’s in the Cleveland Indians, now Guardians, Hall of Fame.

“Hebrew Hammer” (230 pages, softcover) costs $29.95 from McFarland Books. Joseph Wancho lives in Brooklyn and is also the author of “So You Think You’re a Cleveland Indians Fan?” Stars, stats, records and memorabilia for the real diehards. »


“Benny Feldman’s All-Star Klezmer Band,” the middle-level debut novel by Akron authors Allison and Wayne Marks, has been named Outstanding Book at the Sydney Taylor Book Awards presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. They are also the authors of “The $150,000 Rugelah”, featured in Book Talk on January 23.


Mandel Jewish Community Center: The Cleveland Jewish Book Festival continues with a virtual local authors day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Featured authors are Terry Gilbert and Carlo Wolff (“Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year’s Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs,” featured January 30 in Book Talk), Joshua Cohen (“Best Assassination in the Nation”), Irene Shaland (“Shaland’s Jewish Travel Guide to Malta and Corsica”), Rachel Hollander (“From There to Here: An Insider’s Guide to Navigating the Darkness”) and Dina Rock and Hannah Cohen (“Ezra’s Invisible Backpack”) Register at

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights) Andrew Pegman signs “Outdoor Tales of Northeast Ohio,” featuring tales of fishing and birding, Sundays at 1 p.m. At 2 p.m. Sunday, Echo Brown signs “The Chosen One: A First-Generation Ivy League Odyssey.”

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Vernon Odom Branch, 600 Vernon Odom Blvd.): At a Black History Month event, AB Wilson talks about his Christian thriller “The Attic,” 5:30-7 p.m. Monday. Register at

Hudson Library and Historical Society: Mina Stone talks about her “Lemon, Love & Olive Oil” cookbook, which reflects her Greek-American heritage, during a Zoom event at 7 p.m. Tuesday. At 7 p.m. Thursday, former Beacon Journal writer Thrity Umrigar talks about her novel “Honor,” featured Jan. 16 in Book Talk, about cultural violence in a rural Indian village. Register at

Tuscarawas County Public Library (121 Fair Ave., New Philadelphia): Wendy Koile discusses “Lake Erie Murder & Mayhem,” 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at

Supper Club Music Box (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): The Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties series continues with “Jane Scott: One of the Greatest Rock Critics of All Time” presented by photographer Janet Macoska, author (with Peter Chakerian) of “Bruce Springsteen: Live in the Heartland,” Plain Dealer entertainment editor Michael Norman and Plain Dealer former pop music critic John Soeder, who is working on a biography of Scott, Thursday at 7 p.m. Go to

Cleveland Peace Action: The activist group is hosting a virtual appearance by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of “Not a Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion,” in conversation with Detroit writer Frank Joyce, 7:30 p.m. Friday. Sign up at

Portage County District Library (Pierce Streetsboro Branch, 8990 Kirby Lane): Sharon R. Hunter of Streetsboro discusses “Holiday Salsa: A Christmas Romance,” Saturday 2-3 p.m. Register at

Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.): Former Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern talks about “The Road to the Horseshoe and Beyond: How a Small-Town Athlete took advantage of Ohio State football to build a life,” 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Register at

Email information about local books and event notices at least two weeks in advance to [email protected] and [email protected] Barbara McIntyre tweets at @BarbaraMcI.

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