Along with Roger Angell, Robert Creamer, Donald Honig, and Lawrence Ritter, Roger Kahn is one of the most highly respected authors to write on the history and sociology of baseball. The Boys of Summer, his study of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940’s and 1950’s, is a masterpiece of baseball literature. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kahn learned to love baseball from his father, a teacher who claimed to have played third base for City College of New York, and from his grandfather, with whom he attended Dodger games. When Kahn’s mother feared that his passion for sports would hinder his intellectual development and pleaded for him to read something, he chose Pitching in a Pinch, a 1912 how-to book by Christy Mathewson, legendary pitcher for the New York Giants.
When Kahn’s dream of being a baseball star himself evaporated because of his limited talent, he hoped to attend Cornell University but instead went to New York University. After three years there, he was a copy boy for the New York Herald Tribune, becoming a reporter in 1948. By 1952, he was covering his beloved Dodgers, growing to feel he was part of one of the best and most colorful teams of all time. His fellow sportswriter, Dick Young, became his mentor, teaching young Kahn to concentrate on the details of a game rather than its outcome. Kahn left the Herald Tribune in 1955 and later worked as a writer, editor, and columnist for Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, and Time.
Kahn wrote a book for young readers, Inside Big League Baseball; a consideration of his ethnic heritage, The Passionate People: What It Means to Be a Jew in America; and an account of antiwar protesters at Columbia University in 1968, The Battle for Morningside Heights: Why Students Rebel, before creating his best-known work. Inspired by his discovery that Dodger former third-baseman Bill Cox was a...
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