The Boys of Summer Paperback – May 9 2006
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"Roger Kahn has achieved the near impossible in his "The Boys of Summer" by writing two splendid books in one, neither of which, strangely enough, is a sports book although baseball is the central theme of both. To Mr. Kahn, 'people' is the name of the game, and it's a game he plays with brilliance, insight and thoughtfulness. To say that I 'enjoyed' the book is to say that winning a World Championship is 'interesting', owing a derby winner 'nice', and starring in the Super Bowl 'fun'."-- Bill Veeck"Kahn's book is marvelous...a splendid historical work. It is about youthful dreams in small American towns and big cities decades ago, and how some of these dreams where fulfilled, and about what happened to those dreamers after reality and old age arrived. It is also a book about ourselves, those of us who shared and identified with the dreams and glories of our heroes."-- Gay Talese"What most people look for in a book is a good story. Roger Kahn gives us about fifteen of them woven into one coherent narrative that is moving and funny and sentimental (about people and things that merit sentiment) and cynical (about those that don't)."-- Ring Lardner, Jr. "To writer Roger Kahn, the old Brooklyn Dodgers National League baseball team is a forever a priceless violin and he is the bow which must play upon it. This isn't a book; it's a love affair between a man, his team, and an era."-- "Christian Science Monitor""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"A work of high purpose and poeticaccomplishment. The finest American book on sports. I commend it without qualification."--James Michener"The best team the majors ever saw, a team so extraordinary that Marianne Moore wrote poems to it--the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s...A moving elegy!"--"New York Times"Not just another book about baseball or a boy growing up to like baseball, but a book about pain and defeat and endurance, about how men anywhere must live."--Peter Prescott, "Newsweek
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I'VE READ.TELLS IT LIKE IT IS.(WAS). I LOVE THE REVEALING FOLLOW UPS ON THE PLAYERS LIVES THIRTY YEARS AFTER.Published 14 months ago by Bill Coles
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 morePublished on Oct. 22 2013 by Thomas McCavour
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
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 morePublished on May 18 2003 by Robert Wellen
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 morePublished on April 11 2003 by G. Crum
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 morePublished on March 22 2002 by Peter Mackay
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 morePublished on Feb. 9 2002 by William Hare
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 morePublished on Jan. 2 2002 by A reader