Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 243
The Boys of Summer, by Roger Kahn, is a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s and about the young men who learned to play baseball in the decades before and then went on to become members of the team. It is also a book about Kahn’s life as a sportswriter for the Herald Tribune. Kahn wrote about the Dodgers during their heyday, and he documented the glories and struggles of Jackie Robinson, Carl Erskine, Pee-Wee Reese, and other players who became legendary in the field of baseball.
Kahn grew up near Ebbets Field, and he longed to play for the Dodgers someday. He never did; however, as a sportswriter, he traveled with the players and learned about their lives from an insider’s perspective. For this reason, his book tells about these players not just as celebrities, but as ordinary people. He tells of the things they valued and of how they felt about the events that molded their lives during the time they played for one of the most legendary teams in history. He discusses Jackie Robinson’s struggle with racial prejudice. He discusses Carl Furillo’s bitterness after being blacklisted from baseball and his decision to sue the team. By documenting the trials of the players and his own experience of documenting them, Khan provides insight not only on the players' lives and their significance in history, but on the overriding concerns and issues that characterized the times.