From Publishers Weekly
The caveat about this book is that it is as much about political personalities and the social changes that post-WWII America confronted as it is about the '56 Dodgers. Still, this is one terrific read. The Brooklyn Dodgers won their only world championship in 1955; in '56 they lost the series to the Yankees; two years later, the team was in Los Angeles. "The move" is the thing that haunts the 1956 season. New Yorker writer Shapiro (The Shadow in the Sun; Solomon's Sword) dissects Walter O'Malley absorbingly, in a meticulously dead-on portrait of a man still virulently hated in the borough of churches. There are the stories of O'Malley's soft adolescence, how he became a lawyer and how he came to own the Dodgers. Shapiro tells of O'Malley's plan for a domed stadium (designed by Buckminster Fuller) and of his battles with another hated New Yorker, Robert Moses, who would not condemn land, a first for Moses; hence O'Malley could not come up with property on the cheap. There are wonderful vignettes of the Dodgers: Pee Wee Reese, the captain and the glue that held the Dodgers together season after season; the still intense Jackie Robinson and his dislike for the easygoing Roy Campanella; the sulking Duke Snider; the good-guy Carl Erskine; the enemy from the Polo Grounds who came to pitch, Sal "The Barber" Maglie; and how the team rallied to win the pennant. In a surprise, Shapiro contends that the real villain of the Dodgers move to Los Angeles was Moses because he blocked O'Malley's plan to build a stadium in downtown Brooklyn. With equal parts sport, history, politics and sociology, Shapiro's book is reminiscent of the works of Caro, Halberstam and Kahn, a volume that belongs right next to The Boys of Summer in every sports fan's library.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"There are many things I could say about Michael Shapiro's engrossing book. But here's all you need to know before you pick it up and decide for yourself: It's about baseball. It's about Brooklyn. And it's dedicated to two guys named Lenny Wexler and Barney Karpfinger. What else do you need to know?"
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-Bob Costas, NBC and HBO Sports
“Michael Shapiro tells us the parallel tales of the Dodgers’ battle with the Braves for one last pennant and Walter O’Malley’s fight with Robert Moses for a new stadium in Brooklyn. In so doing, he proves once again that the Dodgers in the 1950s were just as compelling off the field as on. It’s a fascinating story well told by a real fan.”
-Ron Rapoport, Sports Columnist Chicago Sun-Times and sports commentator for NPR’s “Weekend Edition”
"I read Michael Shapiro’s The Last Good Season in one long fascinated sitting. He certainly did his homework, and I can honestly say that this book will satisfy those skeptical about the motives behind the Dodgers’s move west. Furthermore, his account of the 1956 season reads like a novel, with a new twist or turn in every chapter."
-Buzzie Bavasi, former general manager of the Dodgers
"Michael Shapiro has written a wonderful book--it's about much more than the last season of a team of icons. Rather, it’s about nothing less than the passing of an age in America."
- David Halberstam
"Thanks for the opportunity to read The Last Good Season. Michael Shapiro certainly writes wonderfully about the 1956 Dodgers, and I enjoyed every chapter. He has given the Brooklyn fans a much better insight into what Walter O'Malley was trying to do at that time--that he was truly trying to keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn. He also gives the reader the opportunity to understand what that great team itself was all about."
- Clem Labine, former Brooklyn Dodger