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The Boys Of Summer [Paperback]

Roger Kahn
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
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Book Description

April 27 2006 Harperperennial Modern Classics

This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster, and told with warmth, humor, wit, candor, and love.


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Review

"A work of high purpose and poetic accomplishment. The finest American book on sports. I commend it without qualification." -- -- James Michener

"A work of high purpose and poetic accomplishment. The finest American book on sports. I commend it without qualification." -- --James Michener

"The Boys of Summer is a book of life . . . beautifully and above all . . . respectfully observed." -- -- Paul Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Roger Kahn, a prize-winning author, grew up in Brooklyn, where he says everybody on the boys' varsity baseball team at his prep school wanted to play for the Dodgers. None did. He has written nineteen books. Like most natives of Brooklyn, he is distressed that the Dodgers left. "In a perfect world," he says, "the Dodgers would have stayed in Brooklyn and Los Angeles would have gotten the Mets."


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever on baseball? July 4 2004
Format:Paperback
Roger Kahn's "The Boys of Summer" may very well be the best book written about baseball. It certainly lies in the Top Ten of any self-respecting baseball fan's own personal list. It is beautifully written, often poetic. It is elegiac yet alive and vibrant.
The book is neatly split into two parts. The first is a reporter's account of his own love of baseball, specifically the Brooklyn Dodgers, while growing up there. The era comes alive with descriptions of his neighborhood, of the city, of what baseball meant to kids at that time.
Of how baseball bonded fathers to sons, children to adults, neighbors.
In that scenario, imagine the fortune of this young reporter who gets the dream job to end all dream jobs: follow the Dodgers.
You get to watch baseball, played by your favorite team and then write about it. And get paid!
It's a lovely evocation of the time...things aren't like the way they used to be. The earth doesn't stop rotating when the Dodgers come back in the bottom of the ninth.
It used to.
You get a sense of how important and vital the Dodgers were to that community. Daily conversations were incomplete without a mention of last night's game. Stickball was everything. A glove was gold.
The parts about being a member of the press in Manhattan for a big newspaper are terrific. I swear I could hear the chattering typewriters, the traffic outside the window, the tinkling of ice in a bar glass...you are there. As the golden era of baseball was ending, so was an era of newspapers. Soon TV would supersede the papers as the way to get your news. The influence of the newspapers on public opinion (and vice versa) would never again reach the heights they did here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Baseball Classic - for the fans, by a fan! Jan. 13 2003
Format:Paperback
New York City in the '40s and '50s ~ twenty-three of forty pennant winners during those two decades came from the city (including the '59 LA Dodgers). Eight times in twenty years, the city enjoyed a subway series; thirteen times the World Series champion came from New York. Imagine being a baseball fan in New York; could there be a better time and place to be a fan? Imagine loving the game and adoring the Dodgers, all the while, living in Brooklyn and growing-up in the shadow of Ebbets Field. Imagine then, your chosen career path offers you the opportunity to be the Dodgers beat reporter in the early '50s.
Sit back and let Roger Kahn take you on a trip to Brooklyn in the 1950s. It's part baseball, part memoir, and a part Americana that is likely gone forever. The book is a moving tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers and the city in which they played. It's all about a special relationship between the team, the city, and its fans. Some critics argue the book is self-indulgent, imposing too much of Kahn's personal life onto the baseball story. I would argue that Kahn is part of the story. He is not only writing about the Dodgers' and their fans, he is a Dodgers fan. There is no way the author could write an emotional tribute without the emotions.
Pay special attention to the detail in Kahn's account. He is a baseball reporter before the internet and ESPN, when an fan's only real contact with the team came from newspapers and radio. His access to the Dodgers is remarkable and his detail spot-on. You follow the team and its players through all the emotional ups and downs of two major league baseball seasons. You go inside the game, as seen from the Dodgers' locker room, with a team that is on the forefront of racial integration.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book and Team for the Ages Jan. 2 2003
By "tcd74"
Format:Paperback
One of the first baseball books I read was Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. I recently reread the book and it hasn't lost any of it's original impact. This isn't a book strictly about baseball, it is a book about life.
Having reread the book I was struck by how much I enjoyed the first part of the book which functions as an autobiography of the authors youth. The parts about his father and mother were very poignant. The reveleation about the importance of a simple game in people's relationships hit close to home.
The second part of the book deals with the players and their stories. Sadly so many of these men have now passed away Robinson, Hodges, Reese, and Campanella. Their stories are powerful but what was even more fascinating to me were the stories of the lesser known players. Billy Cox working in a bar, Carl Furillo working as a labourer, and especially the story of Carl Erskine and his mentally disabled son Jimmy.
I would recommend this book to anybody interested in baseball but I would also urge anybody to read it because it's the story about life, the good and the bad, and the past and the present.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a baseball book July 29 2002
Format:Paperback
To use a bit of a cliche, saying that is just a book about baseball is like saying Moby Dick is just a book about a whale. The Boys of Summer deals with one man's different perceptions of baseball players over time, as they change from demigods to mere mortals.
The book starts with Kahn's recollections of childhood, when the Brooklyn Dodgers were heroes. As he reaches adulthood, he is lucky enough to get an opportunity to report on his favorite team, and he learns that these players are more flawed than they seem at a distance. In the second half of the book, it is years later, and Kahn sees what retirement has done to the players.
There was a time that baseball was the dominant sport in the U.S., and there is something sad in seeing these idols - worshipped by kids and adults alike - forced into mundane existences by age. There is more: a lot of insights into racism and various players reactions to integration in baseball.
This is a great book about the Boys of Summer, those Brooklyn Dodgers who played great ball from 1947 to 1957. For fans of baseball, this book is a must-read.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Novelist Strikes Out
Roger Kahn is a journalist and not a novelist. He has merely glued years of sports articles into a long and boring story. If you read the sports page then read the book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Thomas McCavour
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!
If you love to read books on baseball and you don't own this one you are missing out. I own many baseball books and this one is in the top 5.
Published on July 5 2003 by steve
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic that should be required reading for any sports fan
This is one of the books that I had considered reading since I was a young man in love with baseball for the first time. Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by Robert Wellen
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys of Summer, Yes -Kahn,no
Although I enjoyed the book, I'm sorry now that I spent the money on Mr. Kahn. Given Mr. Kahn's anti-American spew to the people in Cooperstown (a holy place! Read more
Published on April 11 2003 by G. Crum
5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Summer Long Ago
It seems strange, looking back over the decades, to think that America seemed so close to perfect. The war was won, everyone had a job, family values ruled, and the Dodgers were in... Read more
Published on March 22 2002 by Peter Mackay
5.0 out of 5 stars As Authentic as it Gets
As a former sportswriter who once covered the Dodgers, I can vouch for the authenticity of Roger Kahn's excellent book about the fabulous Brooklyn days and the tenacious loyalty of... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2002 by William Hare
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Book about a Classic Team
This book is so good that as soon as I finished it, I started reading it again. No wonder it's considered a classic! Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2002 by A reader
2.0 out of 5 stars Half a Good Book
Roger Kahn has shamelessly used the attraction of the great Brooklyn Dodgers to lure people into reading what turns out to be his autobiography/confession/pyscho-therapy session. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2001 by The Blue Carbuncle
2.0 out of 5 stars Half a Good Book
Roger Kahn has shamelessly used the attraction of the great Brooklyn Dodgers to lure people into reading what turns out to be his autobiography/confession/pyscho-therapy session. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2001 by The Blue Carbuncle
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