With the airwaves saturated with so much sporting choice, it's hard to imagine how, not that long ago, baseball so completely dominated the landscape and captured imaginations. Given the 1949 season that veteran journalist David Halberstam meticulously recreates, maybe it's not so hard after all. It was a season of great public and personal drama for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, with the conflict finally resolving itself in a Yankee pennant following a head-to-head showdown on the final day of the season. Each team was led by a star of the highest magnitude: Joe DiMaggio spurred the Yankees despite missing half the season with a foot injury; Ted Williams virtually carried the Sox on his back, missing an unprecedented third Triple Crown by mere decimal points on his batting average. Halberstam focuses much of his narrative on the trials of these two individual sporting giants, adding fine supporting performances by Yogi Berra, Ellis Kinder, Dom DiMaggio, even restaurateur Toots Shoor. Both on and off the field, Halberstam beautifully captures the ethos of a more innocent game that no longer exists, played by heroes far more driven by their pride than by their salaries.
From Library Journal
This book is ostensibly about the pennant race between the Yankees and Red Sox that year and the "rivalry" between Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. But, as he did in Breaks of the Game (LJ 11/15/81) and The Amateurs (LJ 7/85), Halberstam focuses on a season and studies an era. Baseball came of age in the summer of 1949. Postwar America looked to baseball for a sense of normalcy in its life; television began to have an impact on the sport; Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Summer of '49 is more than a collection of anecdotes. It is a study of all the elements and personalities that influenced baseball that year and beyond. Halberstam brings them together in such an enjoyable, interesting, and informative manner that a reader needn't be a baseball fan to appreciate the book.
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- Martin J. Hudacs, Towanda H.S., Pa.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.