In this case, the main story is the tumultuous 1978 Yankees's season. What makes this particular season an interesting subject for a book is that it is not the story of a group of young heroes who rallied together to make a team that was somehow larger than its parts. Rather, the 1978 Yankees was a team patched together with aging stars (Reggie Jackson, Goose Gossage, Catfish Hunter) from other teams, held fast by George Steinbrenner's money, and piloted by the tempestuous Billy Martin. This was a team expected to win a world championship. The story Kahn tries to tell is how this boatload of talent nearly ran aground because of bickering, paranoia, and racism.
Kahn's breadth of knowledge is impressive, and the many insider tales he relates are entertaining; but October Men does not flow effortlessly as a narrative of the 1978 team. If one can excuse the digressions and occasional disjointed transitions, though, there is much pleasure to be had from this prime spectator's seat. --Patrick O'Kelley