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Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art, and Writing about It a Game (Bison Book) Paperback – March 1, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The book closes with two long, agonizing interviews with Mantle and Mays. On Mantle he concludes the alcohol abuse wasn't as serious as the debilitating knee and leg injuries. On Mays he agrees with George Will, who angrily attacks those who condescendingly praised Mays as a natural talent, etc. Mays, Will says in Men at Work, was always thinking ahead. So also with The Catch, which Kahn says Mays was certain he would make; the concern in his mind was getting the ball back to the infield before the runner could score from second. I saw this on TV in 1954 and of course I failed to grasp the importance of The Throw. Mays never said "Say hey!" which I saw as gently racist stereotyping. Mays went along with this nonsense. His last interview, when "Willie Mays says goodbye to America" because he couldn't play as he used to, provokes tears every time I think of it. Mantle was white and so he was deified; Willie was simply the best ever.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
lovers who value the essence of the sport and the human quality of its protagonists over cold statistics. Need I say more?Published 3 months ago by Jose F. Vega
Excellent book. Kahn paints a sepia toned picture of that great era of baseball. I'm a Giants fan but Mr. Khan's eloquence had me rooting for Jackie, Pee Wee & Co.Published 5 months ago by Krysch
Mickey,Willie and the Duke. Great song, Great book, a great time in the history of Americas GamePublished 6 months ago by Ralph L Dickenson
A good book but not a bell ringer. Roger Kahn has written much better books....Published 14 months ago by Philip A Headley
If you like baseball and its history this is very good. It clears up some myths and gives good insight to the game, especially the '50s.Published 17 months ago by C. Bruce Cornett
Great book. Robinson, Mantle, Reese, Mays, Dodgers, Yankees, and more. Roger Kahn was there and tells us about it.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer