by Roger Kahn ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 29, 1972
If you are old enough or were fan enough to remember the heady, magnetic, brash Brooklyn Dodgers of the early '50's, Roger Kahn's story will have special appeal; but if you lived on your fingernails following those magnificent bums, hanging on each pitch which you literally had to do (twice in a row, 1950 and 1951, the team blew the pennant in the last inning of the last game of the season), agonizing like a small Lear over their defeats and cheering yourself silly when they won, Kahn's book is your book. Roger Kahn (The Battle for Morningside Heights; sports editor-writer) recalls how he found his way to the Dodgers, first as a boy growing up in Brooklyn near Ebbets Field (then ""always in reach"" -- now gone), later as a young Herald Trib reporter covering the team during 1952-53, pennant years though each time the Brooks dropped the series to the hated Yankees. Traveling with the club, he shared the players' obscene language, heard the vicious race talk (the Robinson Dodgers were always ""monkey-fuckers"" to some), drank with them, and once saw the great Furillo lying helpless on a table after being hit by a Sal Maglie fastball. But Kahn's book is more than a baseball reminiscence -- he sinks into his own past to get a handle on the present, lately realizing that ""I covered a team that no longer exists in a demolished ball park for a newspaper that is dead,"" and he begins to consider the Dodgers ""not as baseball players but as baseball-playing men."" Kahn proceeds to seek out all those boys of his summer who are now in their forties and fifties: Duke Snider, Billy Cox, Preacher Roe, Shotgun Shuba, Carl Erskine, Joe Black, Campy, and of course Robinson of whom Durocher said ""This guy didn't just come to play. He come to stuff the goddamn bat right up your ass."" Kahn talks to them about old times, the great moments, the feuds, the epithets; they remember, all of them, and at the end Kahn knows that he has grown up: ""Wandering among old Dodgers I again heard the echoing Shakespearean theme: Fathers perish to make room for sons."" And you too will make room for The Boys of Summer.
Pub Date: March 29, 1972
Page Count: -
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1972
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