It takes a writer of Howard Bryant’s ability to produce The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron (Anchor, $16.95). Bryant explains the forces that shaped Aaron’s life, from his childhood and youth in the segregated South, to his national recognition in baseball, to his political maturation after he retired from the game. Bryant describes Aaron both as a human being and as the different symbols he came to represent for different Americans. Perhaps the sport’s greatest player, Aaron comes across in this biography as a man with many, heretofore unexplored, dimensions.
When you watch this year’s Major League All-Star Game, you may not realize that many of the players hail from the same city: San Pedro de Macoris, in the Dominican Republic. Mark Kurlansky’s Eastern Stars (Riverhead, $16) explores this place, where boys dream of playing baseball in America but most grow up to become men working in their home sugarcane fields. Kurlansky delves into both the past and the present of this fascinating region that such a large part of our national