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Summer of '49 Mass Market Paperback – April 2, 1990


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (April 2, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380710757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380710751
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,619,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.
- 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.

More About the Author

David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has chronicled the social, political, and athletic life of America in such bestselling books as The Fifties, The Best and the Brightest, and The Amateurs. He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

I've read this book twice, and it is one of my favorites.
John Cannon
Even if you are not a Yankee or Red Sox fan, this book is a pure joy for any baseball fan and one interested in the history of America's pasttime.
William Capodanno
This book is a good read for someone who enjoys a well written story.
John Watson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Fran Fried on July 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
David Halberstam's finest gift, among his many as a writer, is his ability to weave a wonderful, colorful, extremely important yet oft-ignored fabric called perspective out of the many-threaded and minute details he uses in his books. (An even better example is the way he swept away history book cliches and "Happy Days" gloss in "The Fifties," but that's another review for another day.)

In "Summer of '49," Halberstam not only gave us an engaging blow-by-blow of one of baseball's best pennant races, as well as some of the key minor players to accompany the all-star cast, he gave us a feel for why baseball was so important to so many people at the time. Even though the book is about two of the last Major League franchises to racially integrate (the Yankees in 1955, the Sox in '59), the crumbling of the color barrier works its way into the story nearly as deeply as the tales of the two teams' immigrants' sons (the DiMaggios, Pesky, Rizzuto). So do baseball's postwar popularity boom, the suburban flight that would soon force franchise shifts and expansion, and the dawn of the television age. The social perspective Halberstam sewed together is just as important, and colorful, as the fine drama that played out on the book's main stage.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Johnson on February 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book doesn't just talk about baseball, but explores the psyche of the men who played and formed the game. An incredible history lesson of the times that will give a deeper understanding of just how great and how heartbreaking baseball really is.

Even if you aren't a fan of the Red Sox or Yankees or if 1949 isn't a part of your life, this is something for any student of the game. Of course, baseball is the main theme but it also ties in how much our culture is and was affected by it. And if you just want to learn more about DiMaggio or Williams, Halberstam offers great insight into the legendary players.

Even today, when it isn't the most popular sport in America, baseball still has sociological implications on society. I am definitely getting this for my dad.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an American history buff who has long admired the books of David Halberstam ("The Fifties", "The Best and the Brightest"), I would argue that the "Summer of 49" is one of Halberstam's best works to date. I was visiting a friend's house when I noticed a copy of the "Summer of 49" on his bookshelf. My friend, a passionate baseball fan, told me what the book was about. Although I'm not a huge baseball fan (growing up in North Carolina and following the Duke-Carolina rivalry gave me more of an interest in college basketball), I was enough of a fan of Halberstam that I borrowed the book. And, was I pleasantly surprised! Even if you're NOT a big baseball fan you'll still love this book if you're at all interested in American history. Instead of focusing on ERAs, bases stolen, and the other statistics that would appeal only to baseball buffs, Halberstam focuses on the human side of a great sports rivalry - the New York Yankees versus the Boston Red Sox. And in the "Summer of 49" he gives the story of one of that rivalry's greatest moments - the breathtaking, down-to-the-wire showdown between Joe DiMaggio's Yankees and Ted Williams's Red Sox. As always, Halberstam evokes a sense of nostalgia for the past that's almost overwhelming - reading about DiMaggio's health problems, or Williams's running battles with the vicious, always-critical Boston newspapers, or pitcher Ellis Kinder's bitterness at Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy - you get the feeling that you're right there with them.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Famefanatic on June 2, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Take me out to the ballgame..." One might find themselves singing the endearing, catchy tune after reading, Summer of '49 written by Pulitzer-prize winner, David Halberstam. The reader is drawn into the baseball universe in a time when it truly was "America's favorite pastime." The era Halberstam captivates is a time when young children played outside the stadium in hopes to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. It was a time when even Red Sox fans cheered for DiMaggio when he was back in the game after recovering from an injury. The era was surrounded with the glamour of baseball in the purest sense. There was something captivating about being at the game, cheering for the team while eating peanuts and hot dogs. From the New York Yankees greatest player, Joe DiMaggio to Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox and the less famous names in between, Halberstam pulls us into the good times and hardships that came with being on two of the most successful teams of the sport. As readers, we are attracted to everything about this great sport because Halberstam makes us care about the individuals and the teams contributing to its success. The great players portrayed in this book not only shape baseball, but are a major aspect in shaping part of US history in the 20th Century as well. Halberstam brings the players to us and makes us appreciate their hard work and love of the game. This book is about excellence, the joy of being a part of a team. We see the importance of not just being good, but being better. Better than you thought you were or what others think you can do. It is about human nature and the nature of baseball.
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