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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Magic Realism
I first picked this up off the bookstore shelf because of that Kevin Costner movie that came out in 1989, but I knew Kinsella for his writing ability before that. What made me buy the book was the back cover's description of a baseball game that lasts over 2,000 innings and the protagonist's insistence that it really did happen.
I wasn't disappointed, although I have...
Published on March 2, 2001 by B. PERKINS

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book for Baseball Fans
The Iowa Baseball Confederacy was about baseball and took place in Iowa, both pros in my world. However, it also involved a lot of magic and science fiction business, which is a definite con.

The story follows a man whose father has passed on a bunch of information about this supposed baseball league that existed and beat the 1908 Chicago Cubs (one of the best...
Published on September 24, 2011 by AgnesMack


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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midwest Magic Realism, March 2, 2001
By 
B. PERKINS (Denton, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I first picked this up off the bookstore shelf because of that Kevin Costner movie that came out in 1989, but I knew Kinsella for his writing ability before that. What made me buy the book was the back cover's description of a baseball game that lasts over 2,000 innings and the protagonist's insistence that it really did happen.
I wasn't disappointed, although I have to say that this novel doesn't offer the simple wish fulfillment of Shoeless Joe or the movie based on that novel. The Iowa Baseball Confederacy spends the first hundred or so pages describing how Gideon Clarke's father wrote a Master's thesis in History about a baseball league that noone else remembers, how the thesis was rejected and ruined his father's life, and how he (Gideon) inherited this "knowledge" of a non-existent league and this obsession upon his father's death.
Gideon seems to be following the same fruitless path of trying to prove the existence of the mythical Iowa Baseball Confederacy, when the (un)expected happens: he's taken back to 1908 to see the events occur that have so far only existed in his and his father's memory.
And then things get strange, in a bizarre and wonderful way: As the game stretches on, the flood waters rise higher, statues become animated, all manner of nature comes to life, love blooms, and the ballpark is repeatedly visited by Drifting Away, the Native American whose destiny is tied up with this small town in Iowa.
While the plot of the novel resembled Darryl Brock's If I Never Get Back, or T. Coraghessan Boyle's short story, "The Hector Quesadilla Story," The Iowa Baseball Confederacy reminded me of nothing so much as the Magic Realism fiction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. Indeed, at times, I felt like was reading a shorter version of Marquez' A Hundred Years of Solitude, only this time placed in the turn of the century American Midwest.
I did say that this book is not about wish fulfillment like Kinsella's more famous Shoeless Joe, but I didn't consider this a weakness. The fantastic does occur in The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, but only with the caveat that fantasy doesn't always help one's reality. Kinsella does entertain the reader with all kinds of strange imaginings, but Gideon is still searching for fulfillment in the same ways that the rest of us do. Some may be disappointed with bittersweet quality of this book, but that same quality only makes the novel true to life. In spite of all the bizarre twists and turns of plot.
And by the way, the game descriptions are wonderful reminders that baseball truly hasn't changed that much over the years.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spirit of the Game Brought to Life, November 26, 1999
This is a magnificent book, in so many ways. I've never been a sports fan of any kind, but after casually picking this book up -- without being able to put it down until far into the night, when I finished it -- I became entranced with the essence of the game which Kinsella captures so well.
This is one of the best fantasy novels I've read. It has something for everyone -- time travel, turn-of-the-century Americana, humor, mysticism, moments of High Weirdness, and, throughout, the power, mystery and symbolism of America's Game.
I loved "Field of Dreams", the film adapted from Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe" [another must-read], and I can only hope to see IBC follow the same path. One reading, however, will engrain the characters and plot in your imagination as no film can.
And guess who became a brand-new baseball fan? :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Classic Baseball Novel, September 8, 2004
By 
W.P. Kinsella is one of my all-time favorite writers, and this is one of his better novels. If you've seen the movie, "Field of Dreams," or read his book "Shoeless Joe," which was the basis for the movie, you know what to expect from Kinsella.

His stories of baseball and magic are written for readers with vivid imaginations. This is a story of a researcher looking for proof of an old league that nobody else can remember. He somehow ends up at a never-ending exhibition game between the 1908 Cubs and the all-stars from this Iowa league.

As usual with Kinsella, the book is about a lot more than baseball. If you're the type of reader who can accept a story that seems totally unbelievbale, and if you like baseball, you should try this one. If you like it, he's written quite a few other books and I haven't found a bad one yet.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, December 2, 1999
WOW, that's all that can describe this book. At first I thought this book to be slow, however, once I understood it, it became one of the best books I've ever read. W.P. Kinsella is a genuis. Just read this book, and Shoeless Joe, if you get a chance.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinsella's Finest, February 21, 2000
THE IOWA BASEBALL CONFEDERACY is the finest ode to the mysteries of life ever to centre around baseball. W.P. Kinsella's name has become synonymous with his love for the sport, and sometimes it can become overwhelming. His short stories have a tendency to push the sentimentality over the edge into the realm of muadlin. Here, however, the mix is perfect.
Gideon Clarke has a problem. Ever since his father died, he has become obsessed with the Iowa Baseball Confederacy, a league that never existed, except in his mind. Or so it seems. Over the course of his searchings (and he does find the league), Gideon also relates the problems he has with reality, his destructive relationship with his wife, and his theories of temporal displacement and rips in the fabric of time.
Kinsella here achieves a mastery of the genre of magical realism, on par with the terrific LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE. As Gideon continues on his quest, events around him get more and more bizarre, until a town is slowly flooded, a wooden Indian bats cleanup, home runs never come back down to earth, and baseball games never end.
In other hands, this mixture of whimsy and fantasy would leave the reader cold and confused, but Kinsella never falters. The more strange things get, the more Gideon becomes the rock we hold onto, and his willingness to accept the things he cannot understand, his sheer joy at the absudity of his situation, ensures that the reader will follow him to the ends of the Earth, if need be.
THE IOWA BASEBALL CONFEDERACY is a wonderful book, and that's something, coming from someone who rejects a typical fantasy novel from the book cover alone. Lovers of fantasy should read this. Lovers of baseball should read this. Lovers of life should read this. Lovers of great stories should read this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Fantastic, December 24, 2001
By 
W.P. Kinsella's "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" is about a lot of things: obsession, love, time travel, fantasy, and baseball. As is typical of most of Kinsella's fine stories and novels, baseball is the center piece to the story, but there's much more going on than a baseball game. And often, a lot of what's going on requires quite an imagination--maybe too much suspension of belief.
That's certainly the case with this novel. The story follows the obsession of Gideon Clarke (a white-haired, blue-eyed wealthy son of a man with the same obsession) in 1978 Iowa. Gideon is convinced (and obsessed with proving) there was a baseball league in the early 1900s called the Iowa Baseball Confederacy and that this league's all stars played a mammoth game in 1908 against the Chicago Cubs (eventual World Series champions). This belief was passed to Gideon by his father (who seemed to be instilled with his obsession after being struck by lightning) and there is no record of this game (or the league for that matter) and seemingly no one alive who has any recollection of the game or the league. Gideon spends years and much effort trying to get to the bottom of this with no success.
Along the way, we read about his relationship with his itinerant wife, Sunny as well as his dealings with others in the town of Onamata (formerly Big Inning). Flowers sing to him, his mother and sister abandon him (not in that order), his father is struck by a line drive, his best friend Stan shares big league dreams, and most people think Gideon is eccentric. And then, through a "crack in time", Gideon and Stan are transported to 1908 on the eve of the big game.
The story really picks up from this point and becomes more fantastic (er, unrealistic) with each inning played. There is (was) in fact an Iowa Baseball Confederacy and a game is (was) played against the Chicago Cubs. And Kinsella takes the reader for a heckuva ride. The teams play for 40 days and a total of over 2,600 innings (they take breaks for meals and darkness). Along the way, Gideon meets a 15-foot tall Indian, fly balls soar over the horizon, players leave the field to jump in raging flood waters (most of the game was played in rain, rain which eventually leads to a flood), mascots bat, starting pitchers never tire, Gideon meets (and falls in love with) a farmer's daughter, Stan continues to dream of the big leagues, and many other unbelievable things take place. All the while, we learn more about Gideon and those around him (both in 1908 and 1978) and ultimately the mystery as to who finally wins the game (and how).
This novel is a story of a ridiculously long baseball game, but even more, it's a novel of one man's quest and the resolution he makes regarding life (both past and present). It's well told, a quick read, and if you can accept the fantastic aspects to the baseball game and the events surrounding it, an enjoyable adventure. If you're looking for a realistic baseball tale, this is not it. On the other hand, if you've enjoyed Kinsella's other novels or short stories, you will definitely enjoy this one. Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious lesson in abracadabra, a potion in print..., April 4, 1997
By A Customer
They say certain words said in just the right way have magical properties. W. P. Kinsella proves this true. The Iowa Baseball Confederacy is a delicious lesson in abracadabra, a potion in print that cures the bored reader blues. He takes the agonies and ecstacies of love, mixes them with the power of lightning, sprinkles in the legends of summer and baseball and POOF - out comes one of the best books ever written. Don't read this if you want to get away from the everyday world. Read it to find the magic you've been missing (but that your heart always knew was there)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I saw and read Field of Dreams - wish for a movie of IBF!, November 19, 1999
By A Customer
I loved the movie "Field of Dreams" and its book "Shoeless Joe", and I wanted to read more. I stumbled upon "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" and I was totally taken in. I have taken my son and my dad to Dyersville, Iowa to see the "Field's" moviesite, and I feel that someday, we may visit and see a rail spur leading into a distant fog..................................WHAT A BASEBALL FANTASY BOOK !
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magical adventure, April 27, 2000
Kinsella has a quality that is hard to describe, but can best be understood by reading his literature. The Iowa Baseball Confederacy is quite a remarkable book. It wraps you up in the magic of the game, and the mystical quality that Kinsella dusts every corner of the story with including the unusual religious characters, historical figures and humorous twists and turns. I truly enjoyed this book. I found it an easy and enjoyable read, and the plot interesting enough to capture my heart and inspire me as a reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HOME RUN, August 2, 1997
By A Customer
Here is Kinsella at his very baseball best. It is Lewis Carrol on the basepaths, but instead of meeting the white rabbit or the red queen we meet Tinker and Evers and Chance. When you finish this book you will believe down in your heart of hearts--that it all really could be true
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The Iowa Baseball Confederacy: A Novel
The Iowa Baseball Confederacy: A Novel by W. P. Kinsella (Paperback - March 14, 2003)
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