Summer of '49 Paperback – May 9 2006
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With the airwaves saturated with so much sporting choice, it's hard to imagine how, not that long ago, baseball so completely dominated the landscape and captured imaginations. Given the 1949 season that veteran journalist David Halberstam meticulously recreates, maybe it's not so hard after all. It was a season of great public and personal drama for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, with the conflict finally resolving itself in a Yankee pennant following a head-to-head showdown on the final day of the season. Each team was led by a star of the highest magnitude: Joe DiMaggio spurred the Yankees despite missing half the season with a foot injury; Ted Williams virtually carried the Sox on his back, missing an unprecedented third Triple Crown by mere decimal points on his batting average. Halberstam focuses much of his narrative on the trials of these two individual sporting giants, adding fine supporting performances by Yogi Berra, Ellis Kinder, Dom DiMaggio, even restaurateur Toots Shoor. Both on and off the field, Halberstam beautifully captures the ethos of a more innocent game that no longer exists, played by heroes far more driven by their pride than by their salaries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This book is ostensibly about the pennant race between the Yankees and Red Sox that year and the "rivalry" between Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. But, as he did in Breaks of the Game (LJ 11/15/81) and The Amateurs (LJ 7/85), Halberstam focuses on a season and studies an era. Baseball came of age in the summer of 1949. Postwar America looked to baseball for a sense of normalcy in its life; television began to have an impact on the sport; Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Summer of '49 is more than a collection of anecdotes. It is a study of all the elements and personalities that influenced baseball that year and beyond. Halberstam brings them together in such an enjoyable, interesting, and informative manner that a reader needn't be a baseball fan to appreciate the book.
- Martin J. Hudacs, Towanda H.S., Pa.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Early on, Halberstam reveals his original perspective on the season in question -- as a pre-adolescent Yankees fan, listening to the games on his radio. He finds several other fans of the day, and gets them to recount the meaning of baseball to their young lives. This perspective is important, because this is where the myth of these giant players began. And then much later on, Halberstam, now a prominent journalist, decided to recreate the myth, but to also use his tools as a journalist to get a glimpse of the forces behind the myths.
We are talking, here, about giants that strode the earth. And the giants that manipulated their salaries, and the giants that wrote about them. They are all very pale giants. Halberstam shows us the managerial politics, the salary negotiations, the long road up from the minor leagues. He shows us the families of the players, he shows us the grisly wear and tear of the long season. He shows the bars, with their newly installed televisions. Climactically, he shows us the amazing conclusion of the 1949 regular season, and its devastating impact on the Red Sox.
He also inadvertently shows us what was missing. As an afterthought, one of the latter chapters details the 1949 World Series. There, the Yankees make mincemeat of the semi-integrated Brooklyn Dodgers. Oddly, though, the tale of the black Dodgers playing in Yankee Stadium is the most electrifying in the book. That energy, that tension, is clearly what's missing from everything that goes earlier.Read more ›
The research done by the author is impeccable as he interviewed most of the players involved (with the exception of DiMaggio) and you hear their stories as well. The author is able to weave the players stories against the backdrop of the pennant race with fantastic results. From the managers Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel down to the players this book has many characters that will bring a smile to your face and make you long for when baseball was a simpler game.
Besides being a beautiful account of the 1949 season it is also a nice biography of all the players involved. An ailing Joe DiMaggio, a young Yogi Berra, a brilliant Williams and Kinder
and Doerr. Great names from a great era.
With this book Halberstam again has shown that in America serious historians can also write about baseball, America's national pasttime.
Most recent customer reviews
Great book on a past time when men were men and leadership was not only present in words. The best baseball book that I have read. A piece of Americana.Published on July 29 2013 by Louis Patenaude
I think that this book is one of the best baseball books that I have ever read. I think that people who want to know about the history of the Red Sox and the Yankees should read... Read morePublished on March 22 2004 by Juan Moronta
The mistakes here fill a chapter in one of Bill James' stellar baseball books. Mel Parnell was not a rookie in 1948. Gene Bearden did not win the Rookie of the Year award. Read morePublished on June 30 2003