Jerry Izenberg, who published his first novel at age 90 in 2020, has penned tens of thousands of articles in his extraordinary career as a sports columnist, telling stories about other people. In his new memoir, “Baseball, Nazis & Nedick’s Hot Dogs: Growing Up Jewish in the 1930s in Newark,” Izenberg shines the spotlight on himself, his family, his Jewish roots and his beloved New Jersey hometown.
Blessed with a great memory, Izenberg’s eye for details and the ability to vividly describe what he experienced in the 1930s to the early 1950s elevates this book to the top tier of memoirs. The book is anchored by humor and nostalgia and recollections of childhood adventures and mishaps and accomplishments, as well as serious matters impacting society and the world, including the rise and danger of Nazism.
It’s also a moving story about Harry Izenberg’s shared love of baseball with his son (a recurring theme). Jerry’s maturation as a young man — various odd jobs (first gig at age 10: shoveling snow), friendships and romantic interests, early beginnings as a writer and his decision to pursue a career in journalism — adds another important layer to the overall story arc in this enjoyable, excellent book.