Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

By 1968, when he began work on The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn had progressed from copy boy at the old New York Herald Tribune, where he began work in 1948, to editor-at-large for The Saturday Evening Post. Kahn had established himself as a sportswriter with the Herald Tribune before switching to a more prestigious job at Sports Illustrated in 1954. From 1956 to 1960, he served as sports editor for Newsweek. Kahn then worked as a highly successful free-lance writer before taking the job at The Saturday Evening Post in 1963. By this time, Kahn had moved beyond sports and had become recognized as a deft commentator on a broad range of contemporary topics. Along the way he edited The World of John Lardner (1961) and wrote Inside Big League Baseball (1962), the latter aimed at a juvenile audience. Kahn published his third book, The Passionate People: What It Means to Be a Jew in America, in 1968.

The Boys of Summer brought Kahn back to his first important sportswriting assignment, reporting on the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1952 and 1953 baseball seasons. During this period, Kahn established himself as a writer of extraordinary promise. He also won the respect of the ballplayers about whose success and failures he reported. Without the willing cooperation of these players some fifteen years later, The Boys of Summer could not have been written. Kahn goes back further still, baring his personal roots. Born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family far more interested in literature and politics than religion, Kahn early became fascinated with baseball, and a particular baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The catalyst for this relationship between boy and team was Kahn’s...

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(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Campanella, Roy. It’s Good to Be Alive, 1959.

Neugeboren, Jay. “Ebbets Field,” in On the Diamond, 1987. Edited by Martin Greenberg.

Peterson, Robert. Only the Ball Was White, 1970.

Ritz, David. The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn, 1981.

Voight, David Q. America Through Baseball, 1976.