John R. Tunis Ellen Lewis Buell - Essay

Ellen Lewis Buell

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

When those hypothetical historians of the next century begin to investigate the sports world of our day they will do well to turn to the works of John Tunis…. [They] will find in them an accurate picture of both the tempo and temper of American sports. Futhermore, they throw an interesting sidelight on certain contemporary issues of our times, for Mr. Tunis is much interested in the place of sports in the democratic way of life and vice versa.

[In "Keystone Kids"] he deals, as in "All-American," frankly and realistically with racial intolerance….

At first, casually, carelessly, then with conscious animus, the players rag the [Jewish] newcomer, ruining his nerve and also the chances of the team…. It is [manager Spike Russell] … who gropes behind the immediate problem to its implications, who lays down the law to the team, and who shows Klein how to fight back.

Although there is less body to this story than to most of its predecessors, and not quite so much of the swift-paced action of the diamond, its theme of sportsmanship in the fuller sense rings clearly through its racing prose….

Ellen Lewis Buell, "With the Dodgers," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1943 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), September 5, 1943, p. 9.