Received with enthusiasm by critics and public alike, Kahn’s book succeeds on a number of levels. While it is more than “just” a baseball book, The Boys of Summer is quite good on baseball. Kahn is a keen observer and has the command of language needed to bring the game alive. Readers who have played baseball will nod recognition and perhaps long for another turn at bat, in the field, or on the mound. Those who have never played will be as close to the game as mere telling can bring them. More specifically, Kahn brings to life the considerable baseball talents of the 1952-1953 Dodgers, the mighty throwing arm of Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson’s aggressive baserunning and all-round style of play, Duke Snider’s graceful home-run swing, Preacher Roe’s craftiness on the mound, Pee Wee Reese’s field leadership, Billy Cox’s amazing play at third base, Joe Black’s overpowering fastball during the 1952 season, and other elements that contributed to one of the finest and most colorful teams in baseball history. Kahn also captures the glory and pathos of a team that won two National League pennants, each of which was succeeded by a disappointing near-miss in the World Series. In addition to his mastery of events on the field, Kahn presents a convincing account of baseball’s front-office intrigues, profiling such wheeler-dealers as Branch Rickey, Walter O’Malley (who moved the Dodgers out of Brooklyn), and Buzzy Bavasi.
The book also...
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