August 20, 2009

The Rangers, The Bruins, And The End of an Era by Jay Moran

If you are a die-hard fan of the Rangers/Bruins rivalry from say 1965 to 1976, The Rangers, the Bruins, and the End of an Era by Jay Moran is the book for you.

Everyone else will likely be too overwhelmed by the size of the book to enjoy it.

Cities have rivalries. Nothing grows the metropolitan antagonism as much as professional sports.

Few cities have as big and as deep rooted Boston and New York. The Giants and Patriots. The Knicks and the Celtics. And there's a little baseball rivalry you may have heard about - the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Let's not forget about hockey. The Bruins and the Rangers have fed into the tale of two cities nicely. Never more so than during the Emile Francis era in New York, 1965 through 1975.

You know, the Big Bad Bruins with Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. Wayne Cashman running around like a wild man and Gerry Cheevers heroics in nets. Then there's the Broadway Blueshirts, with the famous Goal-a-Game Line with Vic Hadfield and Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert. And no one got more caught up in the rivalry than did Brad Park. Then, amazingly enough, Park and Ratelle were traded to Boston for Espo and Ken Hodge, really taking the rivalry to new depths!

This is the focus of new author Jay Moran's book The Rangers, the Bruins, and the End of an Era.

Buy The Book | - - |

I have gotten to know Jay a bit over the past couple of years. He often has personal insight into my questions and my writings courtesy of the extensive research he has done for this 644 page (!) book in the form of player interviews. The book also has over 100 previously unpublished photographs.

Extensive, exhaustive, exhilarating. The gigantic volume appears so overwhelming that you would truly have to be a die-hard fan of either the Rangers or the Bruins and of the rivalry from say 1965 to 1975 to truly appreciate this book. Anything less, even the curious types like myself, will be intimidated by the size of the book.

The book's size does it no favors, and it is a shame because this could have been pared down quite easily. In fact, a good amount of the bulk of this book really should not be here.

For example, there are about 150 pages of game summaries. A nice touch yes, but a costly one. This is roughly a $40 book that could have been dropped in price with a lower paper count. Maybe Moran could have printed the summaries the way newspapers print the daily box scores to save space? Even better, perhaps Moran could have used the summaries as a nice drawing card to the book's website.

The bulk of the book's content is within the author's interviews with over 40 players/personalities from both the Bruins and Rangers of that era. But rather than work the various comments into a neatly organized and chronological history of the rivalry, the author simply chose to run transcripts of the interviews. For those of us unfamiliar with the rivalry, getting a taste of it is hard in this fashion. Many of the questions are monotonously repeated, and the players' answers are printed even if they gave a one-word answer or flubbed the question altogether. Just give us the best of the best, and not make us wade through page after page of searching for hidden gems. It is a tiring task, especially if the book has given us little reason to invest ourselves into it that much.

Another concern I had was the players interviewed. Over 40 were, but none of them were named Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Ken Hodge, Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Vic Hadfield or Brad Park. Without them, the rivalry is nothing. Without them, the book is hollow.

As I said - if you are a real die hard Bruins or Rangers fan of the era from 1965 through 1975, you will want to consider this book. That is a pretty small target audience. If you are curious about the rivalry, you can find value in this book if you are prepared to delve into the player interviews. But most people will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the book.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP