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Showing 1-10 of 107 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 162 reviews
on May 5, 2017
I received this book as a gift in a Secret Santa who only knew I was a Dodger fan.

The first half of the book is more akin to an autobiography of the author which I found a bit tedious. When the author does indeed get into the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and later to the player interviews the book becomes a joyous and quick read that leaves you wishing for more.

I've been a Dodger fan since the 70's and after reading this book I really do wish I was alive to see The Boys of Summer play.
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on September 5, 2015
Since I grew up during those Dodger years of "magic" baseball AND I had a friend (in Philly) who was a rabid Dodger fan while the rest of us rooted hopelessly for the Phillies, this book led me back to those days when players played for pittances and the great American shame was finally challenged in the persons of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. Mr. Kahn was a guy on the inside as a reporter and on the outside as a fan. His reminiscences enhanced by re-contacting the same team members who made up the Dodger "glory days" in Ebbets field are a tribute to all of us whose star shines brightly all too shortly and then back to the dust heap of everyday life -- since when they retired there was no real pension fund nor aid for the various physical and sometimes mental injuries sustained during the MLB competition over those years. This short span of time led up to the 1954 US Supreme Court decision outlawing segregation. The character of these players worked within this highly charged era in baseball and the United States history of slavery, horrendous killing bigotry and barriers to the voting booth. At that time, few of them realized what changes were then happening and that were actors in this unrealized drama...until some years after it all happened. In the end, the tale tells more than baseball...it extends baseball's democracy to all but it was a long hard fight and this is its legacy.
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on September 6, 2014
I recently finished this book and I want to read it again ! I have been a Dodger fan since 1959 when they beat the Chicago White Sox for the World Series title. This book has many different themes, the realities of corporate life, father-son as well as other family relationships, the realities of change, and racism. This is also a book about a different America. You see a self reliant, hard working but more divided America. Although there are multiple themes the, book never strays far from its focus on baseball. How do I view baseball after reading this book ? Baseball as Roger Kahn describes it is a confrontational, collisional, and athletic sport. At times I felt that I was "stepping into" the book. On another note, I was a little surprised that Kahn did not talk more about the famous nickname of the Dodgers " The Bums". I think that if you want to relieve the glory days of American baseball the book is for you.
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on June 4, 2012
This is a very touching book because the author loved the baseball team he had the privilege to travel with and to write about, and he loved his father who fostered this love for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and early 1950s. Roger Kahn writes with heart, with enthusiasm and with the utmost respect.

It is a long time now since the Dodgers were in Brooklyn but each time I read about that era I get a lump in my throat. I loved Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Wait Till Next year about the same years, the same Dodgers, and what could have been (but wasn't, of course) the same father. I don't know if fathers still pass down the love of a sport to their children because sports are so different now, but it sure made a difference to these two Dodger lovers back in the day.

This is touted as the best sports book ever, and it is certainly one of the very best that I have ever read, but as other reviewers have said here, the book is about more than baseball, it is about a disparate group of men, and boys, coming together to play a game and to learn about themselves and life and love and loss and the social changes in the aftermath of World War 2. It is delightful and fun to read, and it rings of truth and packs a punch.
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on March 30, 2014
Starts out with an interesting glimpse of life in Brooklyn in the 30's and an autobiography of Roger Kahn. Once Kahn gets to the part about covering the Dodgers for a newspaper, the story gets more interesting, but that's just a fairly brief part of the book.

The rest of the book covers what happened to the main players after they left the game. I enjoyed that much more, as well as some history of the franchise.

Overall a good book for baseball fans.
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on December 6, 2014
I had heard favorable things about this book for years, so when World Series time rolled around, it was a logical choice for my semi-annual "baseball book" reading. It simply lived up to all my expectations. Khan, who reported on the Brooklyn Dodgers in the mid-1950s knowingly discussed the team organization, its players, and the newspapers who reported on them. In a touching epilogue, Khan interviewed key players years after their retirements to expand on the more mundane and human sides of these personalities. In short, if you're a baseball fan of any age, this book is a must-read.
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on December 26, 2007
..because Kahn wrote it right after Jackie Robinson died, so there's a lot toward the end about him. Things which--in later editions, aren't there, and in earlier edition aren't there because they hadn't happened yet.

Called by "Sports Illutrated" "the greatest sports book of all time," it follows the life of the author, Roger Kahn (briefly and intermitantly), and then becomes intensely involved with the Brooklyn Dodgers, 1952-53 (when Kahn covered them for a newspaper). The portraits of the players are so vivid, and he apparently had a way of getting them to open up to him, because you will read explanations of things you will read nowhere else. He listens in on threir conversatioons on Pullman trains, in dugouts, on the field. Preacher Roe says: " I have three pitches: my change, my change off my change, and my change off my change off my change." Roe tells a story about--I think it was Johnny Mize--to whom he threw 'three of the wettest spitters he ever saw," and Mize, passing him on the way back to the dugout, after striking out, said pleasantly "Your curve ball gets better every day."
After Kahn had been taken off of the Dodgers (no reporter was allowed to spend more than two years with the Dodgers---their reporting became warped after that), and then, after they moved to L.A.--he missed them. So there's a second part to the book: retired Dodgers at home, and what they were like. They talk about the old days, and the less old days. He is especially good with Robinson and Reese--but he's good with all of them.

The first time the Dodgers played the Atlanta Crackers (an excellent minor league team), in 1949, in Atlanta, the Dodgers and Robinson personally got threatening letters from the KKK--death threats. As Robinson was warming up, Reese saw that he was a little tense. "Don't stand so close to me today, Jackie," he said. "Move away a little bit." Jackie smiled.
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on May 1, 2017
Would have liked more info about individual players.
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on July 22, 2017
A classic book recommended to me and I pass that on to you. Anyone who appreciates baseball history will thoroughly enjoy this book. Revisit the Brooklyn Dodgers before their move and then catch up with the key players over a decade later. Excellent writing!
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on January 2, 2002
This book is so good that as soon as I finished it, I started reading it again. No wonder it's considered a classic! Time after time, Kahn blew me away with prose that on occasion rises almost to poetry and that is never less than first-rate, whether he's writing about his own life and what brought him to his enduring love of baseball, or the Dodgers team that so won his heart (and mine!) in the early 1950s.
Few books have moved me as this one did, both by its content and the sheer excellence of its writing. Kahn is no mere sports writer--he's an artist. And he's writing about so much more than just a couple of baseball seasons. His broader subjects are human mortality, the passage of time, the relentless process of ageing, the slow or swift destruction of dreams, the outrages of bigotry, the painfully slow progress of racial integration, and the open-ended Socratic enterprise of knowing oneself.
Although Kahn doesn't have a lot of advanced education, the book makes clear that he comes from an intellectual family and it reflects his wide-ranging but never intrusive erudition. Even the title, taken from a poem by Dylan Thomas, is so perfect for the subject that it has entered ordinary speech as a synonym for baseball players in their fleeting prime. But it helps to know the whole line ("I see the boys of summer in their ruin," to feel the full impact of Kahn's work. This is a beautiful but profoundly sad book, worlds removed from the peppy cliches of conventional sports writing.
The pace of the book is as leisurely as that of a baseball game. We hear a lot about Kahn himself at the beginning, before he's launched in his career as a young sports writer, covering the team he's always idolized: the Brooklyn Dodgers. We follow him, and the team, through the 1952 and 1953 seasons, with their triumphs and heart-breaks. Then Kahn fast-forwards his readers a decade or so, into the turbulent mid-1960s and relates his personal odyssey of tracking down members of that 1952-53 Dodger team.
The resulting interviews, with a chapter per player, form the last section of the book and are quietly but devastatingly poignant. At the time of Kahn's reunions with them, none of the former players were old by any standard other than the unforgiving one of professional sports--they were in their 40s and early 50s. But by then most had lost their athletic physiques and few had achieved much in the way of post-baseball success; all (except the perennially newsworthy Jackie Robinson and Mets manager Gil Hodges) were living in relative obscurity and a couple were existing barely above the poverty level. Several had experienced personal tragedies: we witness Carl Erskine devoting himself to raising his fourth child, a boy with Down Syndrome, and Clem Labine in painful estrangement from his only son, who had a leg blown off in Vietnam. Most difficult to bear is the image of cheerful, roly-poly Roy Campanella as a mangled quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair after a car accident.
Fifty years have passed since those beautiful boys of summer--Robinson, Reese, Hodges, Furillo, Snider, Campanella, Erskine, Roe and Labine are the ones I remember most vividly--lit up my childhood with their marvelous baseball playing. Kahn's book provided an opportunity to relive some of the best moments of my own youth. For readers who saw those players in the flesh, as well as for younger fans who never saw them play, but heard about them, this book is an absolute MUST HAVE. Buy a hardback edition if you can find one--it will become a family heirloom.
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