I just finished this yesterday. I gotta say, I thought the book was great. I had no plans to read it at all, but a friend who is not even a Red Sox fan recommended it to me. I was afraid that it would be just a lot of gossip, and the excerpts compounded this fear. But I was assured that it was not, and I am glad I read it.
I thought Shaugnessy did a great job telling Tito's story. There were some annoying DS one-liners, but for the most part I thought he told the story well. What I wanted to learn was: what was it like to manage this team, these players, working for these people? What were the biggest challenges, what was Francona's day like, what did he value in people, what was his ethic when it came to managing? It could have been much longer for my taste, so that he could have explored some of that. What DS had to do was put in a lot of background story--to rehash the details of the seasons and post-seasons. I did not need any of that, but I understand why it needed to be there.
I thought DS handled the ownership pretty well in the book. Francona acknowledged that they had other issues to worry about, admitted that he stayed out of all of it, explained the issues from his angle, and then let it lie. DS did not pile on either.
Francona came across as a good man and a great manager. I never thought he was anything special as a tactician, but Francona taught me (even before this book) that managing the 25 men in that room is an order of magnitude more important than how he used Mike Myers. For all the bullshit he took from Manny Ramirez, and all the bullets he took for him, he deserves a statue in Boston. For getting his team ready to play in ALCS 4 in 2004, they should retire his number. I think he and the Red Sox both benefited immeasurably from the partnership, and I think the partnership had to end. I look forward to a true Francona Night at the ballpark some day when all the wounds have healed. And they will.
I would love truly love to read a straight memoir from Lucchino. Not a he said/she said book, but something that describes how he has gone about his business, especially the past 11 years. He is very good at his job, obviously.