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77 Reviews
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, well-written time-travel baseball novel
Darryl Brock has hit a home run with this well-crafted time-travel novel that revisits the early years of baseball in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Brock is transported from contemporary San Francisco to 1869, where he encounters the first great professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The resulting story is engrossing and is chock full of...
Published on July 18, 2002 by Douglas A. Greenberg

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, had potential
The Internet has made us a nation a amateur and amateurish reviewers so consider this, like all others in this skein, just another layman's opinion.

This book is a mix of upsides and downsides. The backdrop of baseball's early roots is inventive. The stories around the games are entertaining, although the newness wears off quickly. Baseball is the not the...
Published on September 5, 2005 by RFiche


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, well-written time-travel baseball novel, July 18, 2002
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Hardcover)
Darryl Brock has hit a home run with this well-crafted time-travel novel that revisits the early years of baseball in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Brock is transported from contemporary San Francisco to 1869, where he encounters the first great professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The resulting story is engrossing and is chock full of information and lore concerning the early years of our national pastime. As a bonus, Brock writes perceptively about social and cultural customs and attitudes from this earlier time, and this renders *If I Never Get Back* more than just another baseball yarn. The romantic aspect of the story borders on the corny at times, but within the context of the overall novel a bit of schmaltz is certainly forgivable. All baseball fans with an interest both in good reading and the history of the game will enjoy this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite baseball novel., July 26, 1999
By A Customer
My baseball loving wife bought me this book and for years it sat on my shelf. Finally I picked it up and was enamored with it. It rekindled my love of old time baseball. I thoroughly enjoyed the depiction of George & Harry Wright along with the rest of the original Cinc. Reds. I also loved the plot line about Mark Twain and the Fenians. A few years after I read the book I visited Cooperstown and on the top floor was the very same picture of the Reds that was on the cover of the book. I had to then reread the book and enjoyed just as much. I wish brock would write another.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Time Travel Book for Baseball Lovers, March 27, 2002
Is this science fiction? It is science fiction in that If I Never Get Back is a time travel book like you have never read before. This book takes Sam Fowler from modern San Francisco back to the early days of baseball (post-Civil War) and the newly formed Cincinnati Red Stockings. What makes this book so interesting is the description of how baseball was played in 1869 - so different than what it is today even as to the way pitchers pitched.
Sam Fowler begins riding the rails with the fledgling Cincinnati Red Stockings and their trip around the U.S. to play other early baseball teams. It also goes into the atmosphere of the time, as in the description when the team played in New York City in a park that now is no more in these modern times.
Ah, but then it is also a love story. But is it unrequited love? Is it a lost love? And does Sam ever find her again?
Great baseball book and would make a great movie also.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great adventure, one of my absolute favorite books.., June 16, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Hardcover)
The story was tremendously appealing. Sam Fowler, a washed up reporter drinking his life away suddenly finds himself making a Twilight Zone-like leap into post Civil War America with the first professional baseball team, The Cincinnati Red Legs. Joining the team as a substitute player and assistant, he begins a roller coaster ride involving political scandal, organized crime and even a get rich scheme with Mark Twain! There's something for everybody in this novel and you'll find yourself unable to put it down. Every bit as good as Field of Dreams or The Natural.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those books you lend and never get back!, October 21, 2002
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This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Paperback)
I bought this book when it first came out, in part because I am a huge baseball fan, love history, and love books about time travel, but also because Mr. Brock was at the time a history teacher at my high school. I did not have the pleasure of being in his class but his students always raved about his teaching and loved being in his classes. When I read the book, I wished very much he'd been my teacher too. I am delighted to see he has authored some other books. I can't wait to read them! I will, after I replace the copy of "If I Never Get Back" I bought, loaned, and never got returned. A great book to get lost in! I didn't want it to end.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My All Time Favorite Book, January 21, 2001
By 
"ken345" (Somewhere in Indiana) - See all my reviews
I've read this classic book four times, the only novel I've read more than once. Brock combines a fascinating account of baseball's infancy, a close-up look at special friendship and love, and a touch of adventure. The result is a remarkable book that is impossible to put down. Baseball has such a rich history, but most people know nothing about the game that existed prior to Babe Ruth. The fact is, however, that Brock used the history lesson on baseball simply as an avenue to tell the tale of Sam Fowler's discovery of himself. Mr. Brock, if you're out there, I would love to see this book reprinted. My copy is showing it's age.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, had potential, September 5, 2005
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Paperback)
The Internet has made us a nation a amateur and amateurish reviewers so consider this, like all others in this skein, just another layman's opinion.

This book is a mix of upsides and downsides. The backdrop of baseball's early roots is inventive. The stories around the games are entertaining, although the newness wears off quickly. Baseball is the not the subject of this book, only its background.

This is really a time travel book where the main character dabbles in gambling, grave-robbing, gold speculation, the nascent Irish Reublican Army and of course, love. A tour de force of 19th-century pop culture. Several of the protagonsist's daliances are enlightening. So is his feverish attempt at profiteering by applying 20th merchanidising techniques to baseball.

The book's weakness is its choopy writing. There are paragraphs scattered throughout that seem like drug-trips, demanding several re-reads to conclude they should have been edited out. A few characters are developed to the point of madness, while others are ignored.The book could have ended many ways, but concludes flatly. I desired no sequel and certainly no movie version.

Where the book suprised me was its unwillingness to touch on post-Civil War race relations or the divisions between the North and the South. We get instead a contrived valentine to Mark Twain.

As entertaining reading, the book succeeds and a love of baseball is hardly required.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Woman and Not a Baseball Fan, April 17, 2003
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Paperback)
I picked this book up at my Mom's yard sale, and had a hard time putting it down. I've been to a few baseball games, so I can visualize the game, but I'm not a fan by any means. Still, I enjoyed the protagonist; he is a rough and tumble guy--very masculine, and it was fun inhabiting a man's world for a while. I mostly skipped over the details of the ball games, but enjoyed the glimpse of 19th century life. I was convinced he was there, I was even persuaded that Mark Twain would have talked and acted as he was described. I think the author did his homework. Very enjoyable and highly entertaining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely my Favorite Book, June 5, 2011
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Paperback)
I've owned this book since it's first edition. I read it every other year...yes, a bit obsessive, but this is simply put the most favorite book on my shelf. The way Mr. Brock weaves history with time travel, 1800s baseball, the Irish Fenian Brotherhood and Mark Twain is fascinating. To top it off a bit of romance, intrigue and spiritualism. If I had the dollars, I'd option this book for a movie, it's a winner. You cannot go wrong reading IINGB. The sequel "Two in the Field" is equally entertaining as is "Havana Heat".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best, June 5, 2005
By 
Brkat (Southeast, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: If I Never Get Back (Paperback)
Baseball addicts, casual sports fans and non-sports fans alike will enjoy reading this highly entertaining work by author Darryl Brock. This has to be one of the best fictional sports books ever. It certainly is my favorite and one which I've enjoyed re-reading during spring training. The variant backdrops - time displacement, political conspiracy, historical characters, love affairs and, oh yes, baseball - will keep every reader totally engaged.

The basic story begins when protagonist Sam Fowler steps off a modern day Amtrak train and finds himself transported back into 1869 where he becomes involved with, amongst many other things, the legendary Cincinnati Red Stockings. But in this era baseball is in its infancy. The game, the rules and the players are not the same as today. Just how Fowler manages to cleverly integrate the modern game with its colorful past is but one of the many intriguing storylines in this wonderful novel. Throw in a couple of gamblers, treasonous villains and romantic love interests and you pretty much have something for everyone.

"If I Never Get Back" is a captivating fast-paced book that shouldn't disappoint any avid reader. It's no fluke that the vast majority of Amazon.com reviewers give it their 5-star rating. Highly recommended for a great summer read.
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If I Never Get Back
If I Never Get Back by Darryl Brock (Hardcover - December 30, 1989)
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