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The Farmers' Game: Baseball in Rural America Hardcover – December 6, 2012

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The Farmers' Game: Baseball in Rural America + Sports in American History:From Colonization to Globalization
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (December 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421407558
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421407555
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,253,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This highly readable book makes clear that rural baseball has always been every bit as central to the American experience as has its metropolitan counterpart.


The author has opened a window onto a rich area of exploration and understanding in rural history and into the complex relationships between Americans and baseball.

(Jim McCabe Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums)

A refreshing and thoughtful addition to the history of baseball.

(September 2013, George Kirsch Journal of American History)

While baseball thrives on statistics, this book is an absorbing read not for the numbers... but for the social and historical issues it brings to the forefront.

(Bob D'Angelo The Tampa Tribune)

Vaught's book is a masterwork... What makes this book particularly noteworthy is the author's rich knowledge of America's agricultural past. That alone is worth the price of admission.

(Roger I. Abrams American Historical Review)

For those interested in baseball's place in local history, whether in rural or regional terms, this is an extraordinarily good book.

(Benjamin G. Rader Annals of Iowa)

A solidly researched and well-written piece of history, one that fills a large void in our understanding of baseball's significant role in American life, particularly away from the big city lights... Baseball enthusiasts should find this book of interest, and university instructors of U.S. cultural history courses could use chapters as supplementary reading.

(Thomas Saylor Minnesota History)

The Farmers' Game would enhance any academic library's sports history collection... The Farmers' Game can be group with the works of Jules Tygiel as clear-eyed analyses of how the sport and its historical context illuminate each other.

(Chistopher DeRosa New York History)

The Farmers' Game is a sympathetic yet straightforward account of a pastoral game. Periods of prosperity and famine have always come to farmers as regularly and unexpectedly as streaks have to batters, though the stakes are almost never as high for the player. For its pointing out the symmetry in those alternately joyful and grievous experiences, and for much else, we are indebted to David Vaught's excellent book.

(Chris Beneke Journal of Southern History)

A critical, well-researched, and well-written analysis of the relationship between agrarian American and baseball.

(Joel S. Franks NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture)


Vaught... is a good writer, but an even more valuable trait... is his dedication to research.

(Journal of American History)

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Flynn on July 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As we watch Major League Baseball and its established teams, it's easy to overlook where the game first took root in this country and some of the pivotal moments that made it our national pastime.

Vaught returns to the rural American landscape and its pockets of baseball, some well-known, others forever obscure, where the sport coalesced into what it is today. From its very first moments (in legend, depending on whom you ask) near Cooperstown, New York to the heated town rivalries surrounding Milroy, Minnesota and the well-chronicled Iowa farm games of Bob Feller's youth, the author weaves a quilt of baseball's past.

What is so enjoyable about the The Farmer's Game is that it is neither dumbed-down for pop consumption nor written in the altogether resistible tones of many baseball books that scratch out their place in a crowded market by describing the game as if its beauty is lost without the aid of the author.

The book is instead well-detailed and researched and its stories concisely handed to us, town-by-town, so that we might see the map of the game on our own. Perfect. - Tom Flynn, Boxer Journal, Author - Venable Park
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lori on May 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was written about a very serious time in rural America with fun and games to ease the painful realities. I'm not sure about the other baseball teams mentioned in this book, but the Milroy Yankees are still going strong......with fewer but still ardent fans.
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