Memories of summer : when baseball was an art and writing about it a game /

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Kahn, Roger.
Edition:1st ed.
Imprint:New York : Hyperion, c1997.
Description:xi, 290 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Subject:Kahn, Roger.
Kahn, Roger.
Sportswriters -- United States -- Biography.
Baseball -- United States -- History.
Baseball in literature.
Baseball in literature.
United States.
Format: Print Book
URL for this record:
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Notes:Includes index.
Review by Choice Review

The full title of this reminiscence evokes nostalgia and invokes irony, thereby preparing the reader for a loving but complex discussion of the two crafts that Kahn knows best: sportswriting and professional baseball playing. A student of literature, Kahn gently invites his reader to see his admiration of heroes as Homeric, his alertness to transience as Whitmanesque, his suspicion that the age of the gods is past as Wagnerian. But the book is far more than an educated person's guide to the world of ballplaying and sports journalism in the 1950s and 1960s. It overflows with stories, both funny and mordant. It includes the best re-creation of the 1952 World Series this reviewer has read. It features wonderful discussions of the managerial gifts of the malicious Leo Durocher, the evolving maturity of the haunted Mickey Mantle, and the baseball smarts of the humane Willie Mays. Undergirding the entire work are Kahn's enduring respect for appropriate pride and his fierce detestation of all forms of bigotry. Kahn concludes his work with a list of 12 indispensable baseball books. Anyone else's list would have included his The Boys of Summer (1972). Many will conclude that Memories of Summer also belongs. All levels. R. Browning; Kenyon College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Kahn's masterpiece is The Boys of Summer (1972), a nostalgic study of the great Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s. Though Boys spawned a quickly tiresome onslaught of pastoral baseball memoirs, the original retains its charm because Kahn--now nearly 70--is a master at evoking a sense of the past. Here he offers a pleasing potpourri of autobiography, professional memoir, and anecdotal baseball history. Kahn came of age just after World War II, beginning his career as a copyboy with the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune. The sports section of that paper was referred to as the "toy" store, but it was an erudite one with legends such as Red Smith, Heywood Broun, and editor Stanley Woodward manning the typewriters. Kahn moved quickly up the ranks. By his mid-twenties--he was younger than most of the players--he was covering his beloved Dodgers. It was the start of a distinguished career that includes 16 books and stints at Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and the Saturday Evening Post. Interwoven among his journalism anecdotes are impressions of controversial New York Giants manager Leo Durocher and his relationship with young superstar Willie Mays; thoughts on Mickey Mantle; and reflections on Mays' last hurrah as an aging, largely ineffective superstar. Of special note to journalism buffs is Kahn's account of his role in the inception of Sports Illustrated. Kahn's reputation will generate deserved interest for this worthwhile, satisfying reminiscence. --Wes Lukowsky

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Any baseball book from the man who wrote The Boys of Summer is expected to be a treat, but this one is extra-special, for Kahn has crafted an informal mini-autobiography about his early years as a baseball writer. "I saw my first World Series game in 1920, seven years before I was born," Kahn says as he begins to explain his close, yet difficult, relationship with his father, who died in 1953. He recalls boyhood trips to Ebbets Field in Brooklyn with his dad and living in a household where education was valued and the mellow voice of Red Barber on the radio calling a Dolph Camilli home run was a natural. His father, a high school teacher and one of the guiding lights behind radio's Information Please, helped his son secure a position with the New York Herald-Tribune, and pretty soon Kahn was covering the Dodgers of Reese, Robinson, Snider and Campanella. There are terrific profiles: Willie Mays ("The only magic ballplayer of my lifetime"); Carl Furillo telling time ("Two-oh-fucking clock"); and Leo Durocher's love tips ("put your hand on her crotch"). There are also stories of working for Henry Luce at the brand-new Sports Illustrated, recollections of the dry wit of columnist Red Smith and the messy business affairs of a "hustler" named Mickey Mantle. This is a wonderful book that rekindles memories of 1950s baseball¬Ďa time when baseball was indeed our national pastime. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Kahn, dean of American sportswriters, shares his memories of a time when baseball players and writers were not the servants of different corporate masters and the game itself was not a virtual hostage to corporate or political interests. Growing up in Brooklyn during the Depression, Kahn acquired his love for the game, and for the Brooklyn Dodgers, from his father, Gordon. Ever the runners-up, the Dodgers were nevertheless a part of the warp and woof of Brooklyn life. Beginning as a copyboy at the now defunct New York Herald Tribune, Kahn eventually caught on with that paper's fabled sports section--home to Red Smith's column--and landed a sports beat in time for the 1952 season. At that time the press seldom violated players' and managers' privacy, primarily because it would have seemed wrong to do so. (However, Giants manager Leo Durocher resorted in some cases to bribery to keep overzealous reporters ``honest.'') Kahn was a gifted witness to a golden period, and he captures here what the game was really like in the 1950s and '60s, recounting both the good times and bad. He reveals how alcohol and easy camaraderie made responsible reporting difficult but fun; how racism kept many worthy players off the field and many worthy columns off the sports pages; and he gives readers a fly-on-the-wall view of the birth and infancy of Sports Illustrated. His vivid tales of some of the remarkable but less familiar players remind us that, in baseball as in life, numbers seldom tell the whole story. As ever, Kahn is earthy, forceful, graceful, and seldom sentimental. Rather than take potshots at today's much altered game and players, he reminds us clearly of what baseball used to be, and allows us to come to our own conclusions. Simply put, this is a marvelous book. (photos) (Author tour)

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review

Review by Booklist Review

Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Review by Kirkus Book Review