From Library Journal
When historian Goodwin was six years old, her father taught her how to keep score for "their" team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. While this activity forged a lifelong bond between father and daughter, her mother formed an equally strong relationship with her through the shared love of reading. Goodwin recounts some wonderful stories in this coming-of-age tale about both her family and an era when baseball truly was the national pastime that brought whole communities together. From details of specific games to descriptions of players, including Jackie Robinson, a great deal of the narrative centers around the sport. Between games and seasons, Goodwin relates the impact of pivotal historical events, such as the Rosenberg trial. Her end of innocence follows with the destruction of Ebbets Field, her mother's death, and her father's lapse into despair. Goodwin gives listeners reason to consider what each of us has retained of our childhood passions. A poignant but unsentimental journey for all adults and, of course, especially for baseball fans.?Jeanne P. Leader, Everett Community Coll., Wash.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Pulitzer Prizewinning historian Goodwin (No Ordinary Time, 1994, etc.) turns her gaze inward, looking back on a childhood enlivened by books and baseball. In many ways Goodwin had a typical '50s girlhood. She grew up on suburban Long Island at a time when many families were relocating to such communities. Her father worked, her mother was a homemaker. Perhaps the biggest difference between Goodwin and other girls growing up in this era was her deep and abiding enthusiasm for baseball. When she was six, she recalls, her father gave her a score book and taught her how to use it, a gift that ``opened [her] heart to baseball.'' Retelling games for her father's benefit after he came home from work was her ``first lesson . . . in narrative art.'' One can easily see how re-creating these games from the score book taught her to harness her imagination to quotidian details to re-create history. If baseball bonded her more deeply to her father, books served the same purpose in her relationship with her mother, a sickly woman with severe angina and numerous other problems. Goodwin also offers a child's-eye view of the Cold War, from the lunacy of bomb shelters and ``duck and cover'' drills to a particularly disturbing memory of reenacting the McCarthy hearings with other neighborhood children. Gradually we see her neighborhood unraveling under economic pressures, the Dodgers and Giants moving to the West Coast, and finally, her mother dying of an apparent heart attack at 51. Regrettably, Goodwin recounts all this in unimaginative prose, offering surprisingly few original insights into either baseball or the sociopolitical currents of the time. Except for the final chapter about her mother's death and her father's subsequent depression and drinking problems, the book falls far short of her compelling historical narratives. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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