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Fielder's Choice Paperback – October 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: TradeWorks Publishing Company (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982617437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982617434
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,591,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

 A Must Read November 19, 2012
Anyone who grew up in the South in the late 60's amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights will find Mark Hart's book a must read. He has captured both the conflict between being a loyal American and an anti-war activist and the impact of civil rights on the students of the 60's in an imaginative and compelling way through high school sports and puppy love. Having grown up in Birmingham in the 60's, I understood...Read More


Shane Cashion reviewed Fielder's Choice
 Jami and Shane February 26, 2013
I enjoyed this book so much that I convinced my wife to take a break from Emily Giffin and give it a shot. It's now one of her favorite books, too. Fielder's Choice is a wonderful, coming of age story that takes place during the Civil Rights era in Birmingham, Alabama. At once, it's a love story, a sports story, a political story, a cultural story, and simply put, a great American novel. Hart weaves numerous themes and plots...Read More


By Glenda Earwood-Smith
This review is from: Fielder's Choice (Paperback)
Hart has weaved several topics into a good story told by a high school senior growing up in Birmingham during the late 60s!


Anyone who grew up in the South in the late 60's amidst the turmoil of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights will find Mark Hart's book a must read. He has captured both the conflict between being a loyal American and an anti-war activist and the impact of civil rights on the students of the 60's in an imaginative and compelling way through high school sports and puppy love. the ways they chose to cope with the stresses of the times. I highly recommend this book to anyone who understands what it is like to be facing not only the end of a sports career, but the end of your life.


.
But this book is about more than just baseball. I also grew up in Birmingham, in a Steel City, in the '60s and '70s. I remember when the ice cream fountains were taken out of the local Rexall's (THE local pharmacy at the time). Why? I asked my parents. A Person of Color (what I was taught to say) had tried to sit down. 
So many unanswered questions. So many different issues. Bussing, integration, school districts redrawn. The State Governor standing on the school steps of the University of Alabama to prevent a Black girl (the newest polite phrase I was taught) from attending school.

From the Author

The next year John Lennon sang, "The dream is over."  And it was.

The Sixties movement died.  You knew it when the rednecks grew long hair.  We didn't change the world like we thought.  But then again, it wasn't the same world.
Along with the sixties passed the hope for a quick end to the war and more tragedy lay ahead-on the college campuses and in the rice paddies.
Writing Fielder's Choice brought back so many memories of my upbringing.  I was fortunate to have such a strong solid family that could be my sounding board.  It was easier to stand up for what you believe.  The New South and all that comes with it is a great place to be, a wonderful place to raise a family and enjoy our unique culture.  Yet even now, when people move in from out of state and say Birmingham is a good place to live, a good place to raise a family, their kind words always surprise me.  I must expect them to say something else, it must be that weight.
           
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

J Mark Hart has written a page turner taking us back in time to the 60's in Birmingham Alabama. Brad Williams is a teenage boy that loves playing baseball. Brad has reached that fork in the road and needs to decide the right thing for him to do. The Vietnam Draft Lottery? Civil Rights and how it is affecting him personally? Or take the easy route and just play ball. The timing of Fielder's Choice is very important, it coincides with The Movie release of 42, The Jackie Robinson story. Although the teen in the story is not a famous baseball player, he is exposed to similar racial prejudices and wants to do The Right Thing. Also in Birmingham they are celebrating 5o Years Forward. The beginning of The Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement combined with baseball and teen boys dreams.. Nothing could be more All-American. A love of the South and of the written word has made this a compelling page turner. J Mark Hart describes "the sky having a pink glow at night" from the mines and Sloss Furnace. The contempt raised by the words "Conscientious Objector" or the baiting from teen boys named Bubba "I don't allow no niggers riding in my car". These take you back to the time and the place.. The Bible Belt..1969

J Mark Hart practices law in Birmingham Alabama today and is recognized in Best Lawyers in America as well as being a powerful music trivia resource.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This is a compelling story right to the last page.
Leatherneck
You don't have to be a baseball fan nor do you need to be a child of the 60's to love this book, but being both made it all the more enjoyable.
Yankeelin
The character descriptions are so good you find yourself emotionally involved and rooting for your character.
Bentley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frances and Keith on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love the way Mark Hart writes. "Fielder's Choice" is a gem of a book. I couldn't stop turning pages once I started reading it and the characters stayed in my consciousness after I finshed. The novel is clearly a labor of love, but the author's attention is fixed on more than the satisfaction of stringing together words in a way that tells his story artfully and well. He knows his subject and he wants his cast of characters to succeed, not only the teenage baseball players who dare to reach beyond their individual comfort zones, but the city of Birmingham itself. Baseball is life's parallel in this story. As Brad and Robbie's baseball team struggles to integrate on its way to fight for the state championship, Birmingham is stuggling to overcome prejudice and fear in the heated battles to gain civil rights and put an end to brutality in the 1960s. Most Alabamians will find something to stir them in this book, but any reader will recognize the overarching themes of decency and humanity. If you love to read, you should treat yourself to this gem of a book too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glenda Earwood-Smith on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hart has weaved several topics into a good story told by a high school senior growing up in Birmingham during the late 60s!
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By DS Art on March 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
This novel was a tough read for me, not because the story line was thin, or the narrative sketchy. Quite the opposite.

'Fielder’s Choice' was difficult for this reader because I found myself way too close to the book’s content. I was raised in Birmingham, Alabama, the setting for the story. My family moved here shortly after the events outlined in the book, but in plenty of time to experience the aftermath of the powerful historic forces detailed in the narrative – the deep rumblings of which can still be felt today.

Confronting page after page of a teenager’s daily encounters with racism, social upheaval, the Viet Nam draft and the struggle to grow beyond his blue-collar roots (one summer working in the steel mill was more than enough for this reader) was an effort in itself, but not one that went unrewarded. Dealing with just one of these multiple crises would have provided ample fodder for any author. Mark Hart’s ability to manage them all so well reveals his personal familiarity with the times, the culture and the characters, and his impressive talent as a writer.

Looking past the occasional blips and typos that heckle any first edition of a first novel, 'Fielder’s Choice' is a powerful book, an immensely satisfying read, and a full-color view of Birmingham in the late sixties.
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By Chervis Isom on February 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
It's possible that some librarians may index J. Mark Hart's novel, Fielder's Choice, under the category of Sports. But that would be a mistake. His coming-of-age novel is a story about baseball in much the same way that Moby Dick is a story about a whale. It's true, his story is about Brad Williams, a talented baseball player at his high school on the west side of Birmingham, in the shadows of the steel mills. But there are bigger themes at work here. It's 1969, and Brad is faced with a daunting challenge. He has played first-string shortstop on the varsity team for three years, and now he's a senior. He reports to his team for the first practice and learns that his shortstop position has been assigned to a new boy in his school—a black boy.

It's the year his school has finally been integrated—fifteen years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. And it's Birmingham, Alabama. Brad understands that how he reacts to this humiliating dilemma will affect the rest of his life. He knows his only hope of escaping a lifetime in the steel mill is to earn a baseball scholarship to college.

It's springtime, and time for baseball—and love. And looming over everything is the War—and a mandatory draft based on a lottery. Brad is well aware that boys only a few months older than he were coming home every day from Vietnam in body bags. He is convinced the War is wrong. He doesn't want to go. But could he claim to be a Conscientious Objector?

Choices! There was a fielder's choice to make in every game—and, Brad learned, in life as well.

I love the way Hart bunted baseball metaphors all over the infield.

"So in a little while we were walking up her porch steps. My heart raced…I felt pretty off balance.
Read more ›
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By Gordon Gerick on January 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I grew up in Birmingham, but missed the civil right issues. I was in the Air Force doing my part in Europe.

Through Fielder's Choice, I could relate to the limited options kids had about getting into college, going to work, worrying about the draft, or joining the Army. Mr.Hart paints a good picture of attitudes of high school students regarding dating and social issues of this time.
It's a good book regardless of your personal background.
Gordon Gerick
Author, Adoption- Lost and Found..
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Format: Paperback
and brought back to mind many memories from that period, both good and bad. Brad was a likeable character, a teenage boy who was conflicted and torn between the status quo of the old South and the rapidly changing new South, which he wanted to be a part of. The description of his anguish at losing his first lost love, and the tough choices he had to make about his future, some of which were out of his control, i.e., the lottery for the Vietnam war, and civil rights, are cleverly woven together within the prism of baseball and Brad's love of the game, and make for a wonderful story.
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