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Summer of '68: The Season That Changed Baseball--and America--Forever Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First edition (March 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306820188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306820182
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Special Libraries Association Baseball Caucus Readers’ Choice Award Finalist


Ken Burns, filmmaker, creator of the Emmy Award–winning documentary series Baseball
“As always, Tim Wendel gets to the heart of this game and the complicated republic it so precisely mirrors.”

David Maraniss, author of Clemente and When Pride Still Mattered
Summer of ’68 captivated me from the get-go: I was eighteen that summer, reeling from the chaos of an unforgettable year, awestruck by the ferocious beauty of Bob Gibson, rooting for Willie Horton and the Tigers from the city of my birth. Cheers to Tim Wendel for bringing it all back so vividly.”

Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail
“A year of great convulsion and heartbreak, 1968 was the closest we’ve come to a national nervous breakdown since the Civil War. But as Tim Wendel so deftly captures in this fine book, it was also a year when baseball soothed and thrilled us—and urgently reminded us why it’s called the ‘national pastime.’”

Tom Stanton, author of The Final Season and Ty and The Babe
“No book better captures how in 1968 sports changed America—and vice versa. In splendid fashion, Tim Wendel takes us on a rollicking journey through an unparalleled year of tumult, tragedy, and, too, joy. Summer of ’68 reads like a novel brimming with surprising action, colorful characters, and fresh insights. I enjoyed every page.”

John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden
“It seems like only yesterday when both our nation and its pastime seemed in mortal peril. Tim Wendel’s Summer of ’68 brilliantly evokes the glories and the grim realities of that time, when America and baseball came to a crossroads, and emerged for the better on the other side.”

Library Journal, 2/1/12
“Wendel has interviewed many of the key participants to bring this crucial year to life. Transcending baseball history alone, this is recommended for baseball fans and students of the era.”

Kirkus Reviews, 2/15/12
“[Wendel] charts the thrilling Series game by game. More intriguing, though, is the season’s unique backdrop: the ‘Year of the Pitcher’ in baseball and the national turmoil surrounding the sports world…An appealing mix of baseball and cultural history.”
 
Publishers Weekly, 2/20/12
“Wendel mines one of baseball’s more absorbing episodes in this rich chronicle of the 1968 season. It’s a sociologically resonant account…Wendel provides telling color commentary…and sharp analyses of on-field strategizing and play-by-play.”
 
Cardial70.com, 2/6/12
“Wendel doesn't disappoint in Summer of '68…especially if you are a fan of the pitching side of the game…this is going to be a book that you are going to want on your bookshelf if you are a fan of baseball history in general or Cardinal history in specific.  It's a quick and entertaining read and one that you'll probably come back to time and time again.”
 
Relaxed Fit e-zine, 2/22/12
“A well-written, fast moving book…It would be useful for those who did not live through The Sixties to take a look back; it is useful for those of us who did to be reminded.”
 
PopMatters.com, 3/16/12
“[Wendel] tells the story…with verve, in the familiar cadences found in sports j

About the Author

Tim Wendel is the author of nine books, including High Heat, Far From Home, Red Rain, and Castro’s Curveball. A founding editor of USA Today Baseball Weekly, he has written for Esquire, GQ, and Washingtonian magazines. He teaches writing at Johns Hopkins University and has appeared on CNN, ESPN, SiriusXM, and NPR, and recently served as an exhibit advisor to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He lives in Vienna, Virginia.

www.timwendel.com

 


More About the Author

Tim Wendel is the author of 11 books -- novels and narrative nonfiction. His latest book is DOWN TO THE LAST PITCH (Da Capo Press). His writing has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Gargoyle, The New York Times, The Washington Post and American Scholar. He's a writer in residence at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches nonfiction and fiction. For more information, www.timwendel.com.

Customer Reviews

I forgot how many things happened in 1968 both good and bad.
John McCarthy
With pitchers like Gibson, Tiant, McClain, and my boyhood heroes, the Detroit Tigers, it reminded me how great it was to be a baseball fan in the Summer of '68.
Patrick Chase
This book covers it all in the context of the period very well.
J. S. Etkin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Tx. Hoosier on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Tim Wendel has written a fascinating and well written account of the '68 baseball season, and the historical events that made the Summer of 1968 a pivotal time "rocked by tragedy and sweeping change." Reading the book brought back a lot of memories for me. I'd graduated from high school that May, and the summer was a time of baseball, daily news events, and my first job. There was a lot of information in the book that was a surprise to me, such as the 1967 Super Bowl and how it got the name. The impact that historical events had on the baseball season, such as the MLK & RFK assassinations and the decision to play or not to play. The book is a page turner, and there is something of interest on almost every page. However, Mr. Wendel needs to fire his editor. Every few pages I came across typos. In most cases it had to do with sentences missing one or more words. I'd be reading along, then, all of a sudden, a sentence fragment. One I can deal with, but not the amount that I found in this book. Obviously somebody didn't proofread the final version before it went to press.
It's too bad because this is a very good book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By William Capodanno VINE VOICE on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Browsing around amazon one day, I saw this book and couldn't resist. As a baseball fan (Yankees) and someone who has read a lot of books on the '60s, this had my name written all over it. I was looking forward to a deeper look into the intersection of the myriad of seminal moments of that year and the season that saw the Detroit Tigers defeat the defending WS Champion Cardinals.

While there was some interesting stuff in here, the writing is surprisingly poor and I'd be hard pressed to believe this book had an editor that was awake while doing their job. The title of the book is the "Summer of 68" but the author seems to have a fascination with the rise of pro football as America's sport even though it bears no relation to the heart of summer and the baseball season. The author often begins a story, only to interrupt the story with some non-sequiturs and irrelevant material, before finally closing loose ends. The raw material is so promising, but ultimately the author's storytelling does an injustice to the subject matter and makes this only a mediocre read.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bill Emblom on March 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Tim Wendel has written an interesting account of an extremely difficult year in America's history while concentrating on the two teams that made up the 1968 World Series, the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. While providing a factual presentation he also provides interesting anecdotes regarding some of the principals involved.

As a 25 year-old and a fan of the Detroit Tigers at the time I remember vivid details of this "Year of the Tiger". Tigers' manager Mayo Smith pretty much let 31 game winner Denny McLain come and go as he saw fit which didn't sit well with the other members of the Tigers. The cover illustrates the play at the plate in which Willie Horton threw out Lou Brock at the plate guarded by catcher Bill Freehan. Author Wendel notes that prior to the Series it was Detroit center-fielder Mickey Stanley who noted that Lou Brock didn't slide when trying to score from second base on a single because outfielders would concede the run due to Brock's speed. Should the opportunity arise, Stanley noted, the Tigers should attempt a play at the plate. Many point out this play as the one that turned the tide in the Series.

Tigers' manager Mayo Smith's gamble to place defensive whiz center-fielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop in place of light-hitting Ray Oyler in order to provide a position for veteran Al Kaline in right field made Smith look like a genius. Had it not been for Mickey Lolich's three wins in the series Kaline probably would have been named the Series MVP.

I did find two mistakes in the book. On page 108 author Wendel states a game between the Tigers and White Sox was moved from Chicago to Milwaukee due to rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. This is incorrect.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A reader in New England on March 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
To read the Summer of 68 is to fall headlong into a moment in time when baseball was the national currency. Tim Wendel gives us memorable portraits of the great pitchers of the era -- Bob Gibson, Denny McLain and Luis Tiant among them. He gets us caught up in the great plays and the blown calls, the what-ifs that still reverberate. It was a singular season in a tumultuous time and Wendel has brought it back for us. The Summer of 68 is a great pleasure to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Karr VINE VOICE on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book describes the "Year of the Pitcher" with the assassinations and civil unrest of 1968 as the backdrop. The focus is definitely on the baseball and particularly on the World Series participants, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers.

"Summer of '68" is a fun review of the highlights and lowlights of the 1968 baseball season. It incorporates interview responses from players from baseball and other sports describing their reactions to the world events of 1968. Some of the interviews are recent. Many of the quotes are lifted from the late 60s.

Unfortunately, the book suffers from numerous typos that interrupt the flow.

I liked the book, but I think you have to be a die-hard baseball fan, or at least, a Cardinal fan or a Tiger fan to enjoy this one.
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