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Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art and Writing About it a Game Paperback – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786883162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786883165
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,879,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Esteemed baseball writer Roger Kahn's Memories of Summer makes a fine companion to his earlier classic,The Boys of Summer. Both books plow similar soil--Kahn's roots in Brooklyn and his years covering the Dodgers with fertile prose--but the similarities end there. The new volume, subtitled "When Baseball Was an Art, and Writing About It a Game," foregoes its predecessor's route of wistful melancholy and broken dreams for the exhilaration of the sport itself. Kahn focuses his considerable powers on the ways baseball permeated America's post-World War II ethos, and why, in an era less blemished by cynicism, baseball blossomed into a writer's playing field. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Kahn's masterpiece is The Boys of Summer (1972), a nostalgic study of the great Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s. Though Boys spawned a quickly tiresome onslaught of pastoral baseball memoirs, the original retains its charm because Kahn--now nearly 70--is a master at evoking a sense of the past. Here he offers a pleasing potpourri of autobiography, professional memoir, and anecdotal baseball history. Kahn came of age just after World War II, beginning his career as a copyboy with the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune. The sports section of that paper was referred to as the "toy" store, but it was an erudite one with legends such as Red Smith, Heywood Broun, and editor Stanley Woodward manning the typewriters. Kahn moved quickly up the ranks. By his mid-twenties--he was younger than most of the players--he was covering his beloved Dodgers. It was the start of a distinguished career that includes 16 books and stints at Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and the Saturday Evening Post. Interwoven among his journalism anecdotes are impressions of controversial New York Giants manager Leo Durocher and his relationship with young superstar Willie Mays; thoughts on Mickey Mantle; and reflections on Mays' last hurrah as an aging, largely ineffective superstar. Of special note to journalism buffs is Kahn's account of his role in the inception of Sports Illustrated. Kahn's reputation will generate deserved interest for this worthwhile, satisfying reminiscence. Wes Lukowsky --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

A truly worthwhile and most enjoyable read.
Unknown
The combination makes this book a nice light, and quick summer read.
Andrew
Good recount of 50s baseball and life in NY and the players.
NostalgiaLover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to receive a preview copy of this book a few weeks before its release because I was interviewing Mr. Kahn on a radio interview program.
As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. Although I was not alive during the 1950's, I have always been fascinated with baseball during that era, particularly the lovable Brooklyn Dodgers. Kahn's latest book does such a wonderful job of describing what it was like to be around baseball every day in that bygone era.
The easiest interview I have ever done was that one I did with Roger. His love for baseball was evident from the first question I asked him. His insight gained from covering the Dodgers in the 1950's is something every baseball fan could use. In this season of home runs, the average fan is once again starting to appreciate baseball. Roger Kahn will make you appreciate it even more.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Kahn turns back the clock to the days when baseball was the true American pastime. His anecdotes and interviews about Mantle, Mays, and Early Wynn bring these individuals to life more than any statistics possibly could. His love of his father is written about in such a profound manner that is timeless. In all a classic piece of Americana that hopefully will be read fifty years from now.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
So much has been written about baseball in the 1950s that it takes a special writer to offer something truly new about the subject. Kahn is such a writer. His book includes original essays on Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, essays which offer new perspectives on the two great icons of '50s baseball. And Kahn's look back on his reporting days for the New York Herald-Tribune and the young SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is the best account of the PROCESS of sportswriting yet written. Kahn poignantly recalls how baseball brought him closer to his father and, later, his mother. He closes with a list of his favorite baseball books, certain to stir Hot Stove League discussions for the next few winters. MEMORIES OF SUMMER is a splendid evocation not only of a game, but of the three-dimensional people behind it
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tony McBeth (HbgEagle@aol.com) on June 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Kahn has done it again. His prose, from the unique perspective of veteran baseball writer who cares about his subjects, is at once soothing and revealing. Kahn's appreciation for the history that he witnessed - and helped create - is sure to enrich any baseball fan's appreciation of the history (to say nothing of vitally important players both on and off the field) of this great game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Bowman on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Let me explain this way: Growing up, I was never a fan of the Dodgers, they were my Giants' rival. This book made me a fan. In fact, this book made me long to be the kind of fan Khan was, want to be a roadie for a team I barely knew of beyond a few big names a week before. It revived my slumped interest in baseball overall, and taught me a lot that I had never considered about the sport.

There's not one place in this book where names and stats are thrown at the reader; every name and every statistic is a story, some seen from the wide eyes of a child and some with the reverence of an adult around his human heroes. Neither is this book a whitewash nor the disillusionment of heroes not living up to their image: Everyone is alive and fresh, everyone has a meticulously researched backstory told with a folksy sense of humor about their all-too-human foibles. Mixed into the stories are comments from the people involved from interviews many years later, when they can look back with more honesty, written in seamlessly. Of course not everyone's stories match - instead of choosing a truth, Khan just lays a few sides out, lets the reader feel some of the disharmony that occasionally shook the teams, without stopping to exhaustively debate the reality of each.

It's very obvious that Khan is an astute master of language, someone who spent fifty years not only writing stories daily but perfecting his craft. The emotion he pours into every page never comes off tacky or trite, it's manly but not chauvinistic, and filled with a lifelong boyish wonder. Most of all, the retelling of each game is something special, breathing life back into an afternoon decades past.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Francis Demmler on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
In "Memories of Summer," Roger Kahn takes the reader back to a time when the Dodgers were an integral part of the life of a Brooklynite, through his career as a writer for several different newspapers and magazines, up to modern times where he interviews former baseball stars, including Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays.
Though he grew up a Dodger fan, forced to wait 'til next year seemingly forever, his love not just for the Dodgers, but for the game, is made manifest through his memoir and his reprinted articles. His painting of baseball in his earlier years as a game engulfed in wonder and mystique is shared by many who cherish old-time baseball.
Kahn is not remiss in placing baseball in the context of the social realm in which it was played--a time where writers were reluctant to write about the off-the-field lives of players and where racism, which barred blacks from playing in the majors for almost 50 years, slowly gave way to integration, very slowly. He saw the Jackie Robinsons and the Willie Mays and the Monte Irvins in Major League Baseball as baseball players, not black baseball players.
This book is funny at times, sad at others, but always piques interest. Kahn does an outstanding job of painting vivid images of a time when baseball truly was an art, and writing about it truly a game.
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