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The Boys of Summer
by Roger Kahn
ISBN 0060956348 / 9780060956349 / 0-06-095634-8
Publisher Harper Perennial Modern Classics
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This is a book about some young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s in such places as Reading, Pennsylvania; Anderson, Indiana; Plainfield, New Jersey; Woonsocket, Rhode Island; and then went on to play for one of the most exciting professional teams that the major leagues ever fielded--the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s--the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson and set many other records besides.
It is also a book by and about a once-young sportswriter for the Herald Tribune who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s within shouting distance of Ebbets Field, was nurtured on Joyce and Shakespeare and occasionally escaped to see his bumbling heroes play, and then had the miraculous good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodger team for the Tribune.
Finally, this is a book about what's happened since to Jackie Robinson, Carl Erskine, Preacher Roe, Pee Wee Reese, Billy Cox, Roy Campanella, Carl Furillo and the others, no longer boys but men in their middle years with their glories behind them. For some, they have been happy years; to others, fate has not been kind. In short, it is a book about America and how it has progressed from the 1930s to the 1970s, about fathers and sons, prejudice and courage, triumph and disaster. Told with warmth, humor, wit, candor and love, The Boys of Summer is delightful and exhilarating.[via]