What makes the Concise History such a valuable addition to an already packed baseball bookshelf is that it's an original. First and foremost, its strong, narrative push spans the divide between statistical encyclopedias and the chronicles that generally focus on individual years or teams or issues. It's quite thorough--reaching back to the 1840s and covering the game up through the 1998 sale of the Dodgers--clearly linking the game of baseball to the business of baseball. It covers trends as well as players and events, and, in one of its most useful features, offers succinct seasonal recaps at the end of each chapter. Koppett's a fine writer with a well-established voice, which he uses to analyze as well as report; he's no fence straddler on the more complex questions like free agency, franchise moves, collusion, realignment, and the replacement of family ownership by conglomerates. Like a good home run race, it's a book unique to this particular game, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.