"If we have more information -- better information -- we can make better choices and build a better Philadelphia."
I have had the chance to tell some pretty interesting stories...
Minor Player, Major Dreams
In 1994, I spent a season signed to a minor league player's contract to write a book about the minor league experience and tell the story of the young men who chase their major league dreams in the little show. Minor Players, Major Dreams is the Paper-Lion-meets-Bull-Durham tale of that season of dreams.
"Mandel has given us a riveting insider's account of the experience of playing minor league baseball. A must for all aficionados of our National Game." - Benjamin G. Rader, author of Baseball: A History of America's Game.
"Brett Mandel has written a minor book about the minor leagues, but a good and honest one. No Plimptonesque exhibitionism is to be found here, and no new-journalistic narcissism: just a plain, straightforward account that is amusing, revealing and affecting." - Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post.
"Here's the sleeper of spring....Mandel has a gifted eye for detail, be it the rookie pitcher who sticks a feather inside his cap before each game or the frustrated manager who takes out his anger during batting practice by plunking his own players....Snap this book up." - John Ensslin, Rocky Mountain News.
"Mandel doesn't romanticize the experience: the money is poor, and the odds are stacked against the young players, most of whom, he notes incredulously, are unaware of the unique opportunity they've been given. A fine baseball book....Every aspiring big leaguer should read this revealing account of day-to-day life in the low minors." - Booklist
Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction
Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction poses the question: What must city government do to make the City of Philadelphia a preferred place to live, work, and play into the next century? Philadelphia: A New Urban Direction received the 1999 "Special Project Award" from the National Association of Local Government Auditors.
"We can wholeheartedly endorse the boast in the book's blurb that it is 'an extraordinary insider's account of the inner workings of city government.' [...] This is a fascinating book at many levels, and not merely for those interested in the specific case of Philadelphia: most of its lessons can be applied to any metropolis. [...] In summary, this is a valuable contribution to urban history and social science. Congratulations to Saint Joseph's University Press for having tackled such an innovative venture." - Philip Jenkins (The Pennsylvania State University), Pennsylvania History
"It is refreshing to read an analysis of the issues facing Philadelphia coupled with a charge to its government that it can make a difference. If the city government were to adopt this process as a means of shaping its programs, the results would be truly revolutionary. Saidel's presentation combines traditional liberal government policies (addressing community needs) with conservative operating assumptions (the city as business) and a communitarian ethic (the government is responsible to the people, and should be evaluated by the quality of its work). What Saidel promises, he provides, in a well-written and engaging style. It should be of interest for all those who are concerned about the future of Philadelphia." - David Bartelt, Professor and Chair, Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University
Is This Heaven? The Magic Of The Field Of Dreams
Is this Heaven? The Magic of the Field of Dreams brings readers along on the continuing pilgrimage to the Field of Dreams Movie Site where life imitates art and everyday people find redemption and reconciliation in an Iowa cornfield.
"It makes people feel like they want to be kids again." Once he finished pitching batting practice and taking a few cuts at the plate, Mandel dug out his tape recorder and notebook and started talking to visitors. a book that tells the stories of people who found peace, hope and renewal at the baseball diamond carved out of a cornfield." - Chuck Schoffner, Cincinnati Enquirer
"In a fascinating blending of reality and fictions, the field has become a shrine to those qualities and to nostalgia itself. The stories shared there are so memorable that Philadelphia writer Brett H. Mandel compiled them in a book." - Diane Daniel, Boston.Com
"A book that tells the stories of people who found peace, hope, and renewal carved out of a cornfield for the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams.'" - Independent Mirror
"A book dedicated to examining whether the magic found in a popular Hollywood movie is fact or fiction. Looks at the effect traveling to America's heartland for the sake of running around the bases, shagging fly balls and knocking a few out of the park has had on countless fans of America's pastime." - D. E. Kern, Express Times