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The Boys of Summer

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  8,006 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
This is a book about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a book by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 13, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
”Sooner or Later,” the author Ed Linn observes, “society beats down the man of muscle and sweat.” Surely these fine athletes, these boys of summer, have found their measure of ruin. But one does not come away from visits with them, from long nights remembering the past and considering the present, full of sorrow. In the end, quite the other way, one is renewed.”

 photo Ebbets20Field_zpsdr2dfydf.jpg

Since the moment I was aware enough to process sounds and know what they mean, I’ve been a Kansas City Royals fan. From opening day unt
Jul 12, 2015 Brina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
This is another baseball book that I read in high school. It came up on recommendations and I would like to reread it. I might be a Cubs fan but my dad tells me the story of how he was allowed to stay home from school to listen to game 7 of the 1955 series on the radio because my grandmother liked the Dodgers. Seeing 42 made me remember this book, and it is definitely a memorable gem.
Jan 29, 2012 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You really can't pick a better book to read in the throes of summer, or in any season of life, for that matter. More than a book about baseball or summer, this is a book about living and what makes living so good.

The Boys, ascending from unassuming childhoods and lowly towns, somehow seemed fated to achieve the greatness that was the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1940's and 1950's. And what's more, Roger Kahn, one of the great sports writers that ever lived, was destined to be their chronicler. The B
Aug 29, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
I requested this book from the library expecting to love it, but the first few pages were so choked with baseball nostalgia of endless days of summer, boys growing to be gods in the green cathedrals of yesteryear, the tragic ending in the bitter days of autumn, blah blah blah. I almost put it down before I got through the intro. But I'm very glad I kept at it, because it ended up being wonderful -- if not at all what I expected when I decided to read it.

I thought I was going to get the story of
Feb 05, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and since this is coming from someone who dislikes baseball (a lot), that is high praise indeed. I loved the voice in this. It was very "folksy"; it felt personal and the love of the game came through loud and clear. The author was engaging. I liked that this book focused on the players of this early era, more than the sport itself. It also touched on civil rights and the first few African Americans who played major ball.

Sometimes I get to the end of the book and wonder about
Harold Kasselman
Ok, so I finally decided to read "Boys Of Summer" and I'm melancholy. I have just gone through an emotional ride with the epilogue. This is a wonderful book. I was hesitant the first 80 pages to understand why the book was heralded as great and then I understood. The inside look at the life of great sports reporters,the insider voices of Durocher the antagonist and Robinson's responses, the feeling amongst the team when they began to win, the insecurity of the Duke even at his prime,the humorou ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
I tried to read this book when I was much younger (maybe 8th grade?) and couldn't get through it. Now I know why -- it's not a book for a 13-year-old. It's about aging, and disappointment, and nostalgia, and its very good at exploring these emotions through the lens of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early 1950s. I enjoyed the baseball very much, and also liked the way Kahn wove in both his own life story and the stories of several players, as athletes and as people. It's striking how much the tale ...more
Porter Kelly
May 01, 2013 Porter Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in high school. It was on a list of books that we could choose from in my honors English class. Of course, as a lifelong baseball fan, I was very excited to read it. When we went around the room and told the teacher my choice he said, condescendingly, "Now, you know that's a book about baseball and not boys, right?" What a dick.

Anyway, I digress...I loved this book. Seeing "42" made me remember it.
Len Washko
Mar 24, 2011 Len Washko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much enjoyed - savored every word, every phrase. I remembered this as a baseball book - having read it as a 16 year old in the seventies. Reading it as a 52 year old man (it was written by a 52 year old man) I find it is not a baseball book at all - but a memoir, a tribute to Kahn's father and family, a sweet remembrance of his initiation as a young beat writer covering the Dodgers, and a lament (and again a tribute) to the his aging childhood heroes... the Jackie Robinson Dodgers. this is ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, sports
What I disliked about this book: I would NOT agree with those that called this book "America's finest book on sports". I think the problem is... the majority of the book was about "where are they now". When the book was originally published in 1972, most of the readers were very familiar with the players. Now-a-days, the readers are not. I was interested to hear more about the ballplayers as ballplayers and more about how the season went. I've heard that the 1952 World Series was one of the grea ...more
Barnabas Piper
Oct 06, 2011 Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nostalgic in the best sense of the word. Kahn paints a picture of one of the great eras in the great eras of baseball. The portraits of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson are especially gripping. But the best part of the book, at least in my opinion, was the account of his upbringing in Brooklyn with a baseball-loving, intellectual father and a mother who disapproved. He makes the reader feel like it is 1940's new york wherever the book is being read.
carl  theaker
Mar 08, 2010 carl theaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sportz

A good insight into the early 50s dodger years. I was always somewhat aware of some of the more famous players reese, snider, robinson though they were from an era before my baseball time, but this book brings out a lot about them and the everyday guys also. I liked it more than I thought I would.
Doreen Petersen
Dec 28, 2013 Doreen Petersen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
Got close to the end of this book and just couldn't stop until I finished. If you love baseball this is definitely a book for you. It was very well written and brought back priceless memories of baseball history.
Tom Stamper
Mar 16, 2015 Tom Stamper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a Yankee from the age of 8. Literature to me was Sparky Lyle's Bronx Zoo or Mickey Mantle's Quality of Courage. I would sit in the floor at Walden Books and read Bill James Baseball Abstract. Always nearby was this Boys of Summer about the hated Dodgers. I had no interest. In my habit of collecting books I bought a used copy a few years ago, but it never got off the shelf. Not until last week when I saw that Sports Illustrated rated it #2 on the best sports books of all time did I acquiesc ...more
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
I came to The Boys of Summer knowing two things about it: That it was about the fabled Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the early 1950s, and that it had a reputation for being beautifully written. The second is, without a doubt, true; the first is also true, but only incidentally. This is not a book about the Dodgers: It’s a book about growing up, growing old, and other Big Issues, for which the Dodgers act as a touchstone.

The book is divided into three unequal acts: a kaleidoscopic memoir of a Brookly
Justin Oh
Nov 14, 2013 Justin Oh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very interesting. It has two parts to it. The first part of the book talks about his career as a young reporter. He grew up being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and now he can report for the team. He felt like he was part of the team. Also this wasn't just no ordinary season for the Dodgers. It was when Jackie Robinson was playing when blacks couldn't play this game of baseball.

The second part of the book talks about the players itself. How good they were and how they won and went the the w
Jun 05, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, audiobook
There were two things that kept this from being a five star book for me. One was the focus on the author in the beginning of the book – too much autobiography of a Brooklyn kid growing up and having characters as relatives and friends, and becoming a journalist (more characters involved here as well). This entire section I didn’t expect – who knew “The Boys of Summer” referred to sports writers? I think I might have enjoyed it more as a stand-alone book – life of a sports writer in and out of sp ...more
Mar 22, 2007 matteo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to start this off by saying that I hate the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. And, by association, their Brooklyn ancestors. But the history of the team in Brooklyn, the stories from before the westward migration of the Giants and Dodgers in the 50s, the legends of the New York baseball teams in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn... you can't love baseball and not love everything about this book. The first half, about growing up blocks away from Ebbets Field and the Dodgers, and being a ...more
Louise Turner
Jun 22, 2013 Louise Turner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seeing the movie "42" reminded me of this book I had read long ago. It covers the Brooklyn Dodgers team of the '52 &'53 seasons, a few years after Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier. Although the Dodgers made it to the World Series both these years they lost to the Yankees both times, causing their heartbroken fans to "Wait until next year" once more. Still this was one of the truly great teams, with four members--Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, PeeWee Reese, and Duke Snid ...more
Garrett Cash
Too maudlin to take seriously, and focusing on aspects I did not care about, The Boys of Summer (despite being considered one of the greatest sports books of all time) is sorely disappointing. I wished it were better. One hundred pages is taken up recounting the authors growing up in Brooklyn. The next one hundred pages detail his covering the Dodgers, and the last two hundred fifty are a series of extremely similar, dull interviews with all of the players about sixteen years after they played o ...more
Jun 06, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
"The Boys of Summer," about the 1952-1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, is a marvelous book. This is the team of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, and Joe Black, among others. Today, Robinson is often portrayed in a safely beatific light, but he was fierce, coarse, and brilliant, and a "troublemaker" from childhood. My admiration of him is full to overflowing, as is my admiration for team captain Pee Wee Reese.

Roy Campanella, the Dodgers black catcher, was signed by the Dodgers not
Milan Homola
Aug 26, 2013 Milan Homola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Two ball players, dressed in identical uniforms, stand next to each other. The man on the left is adorned in a brilliantly pressed and bleached version of the uniform. The man on the right wears the same uniform, but it's streaked with the color of the infield. It's brilliance is evident in another authentic way, as though a ball player and his uniform are both incomplete until the stains of striving, sliding, and head first diving are upon it. "The Boys of Summer" is the ball player o ...more
Sally Grey
Roger relies too much on the reader's having been there, when only he was there. Still, it is a good retrospective of a time and a place, with follow-up vignettes of various Dodger players.
Tom Buske
May 29, 2017 Tom Buske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine baseball book, it's
also about loss and growing up and remembrance.
Norman Baxter
May 16, 2017 Norman Baxter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Just finished rereading it.
Michael Walker
Jun 09, 2017 Michael Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans everywhere....
Shelves: sports
One of the very best baseball books, of particular interest to lifelong Dodger fans.
Sep 19, 2009 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially baseball fans
Shelves: baseball
Certainly, this book does not need another adoring review from a nostalgic fan who never saw the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers play. It is universally regarded as a classic in its field. I am an avid baseball fan who devours baseball books yet, amazingly, I never read it. I always thought that this was little more than a fan's love letter to his favorite team, a perennial also-ran who couldn't get past the mighty Yankees. It is not. This book is so much more than that: it is a document of an era and a r ...more
Mar 09, 2017 Siv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written for a different time. For baseball and Brooklyn fans alike. An insightful look at a team unlike any other and the lives they lived after the stadium lights went out.
Nov 15, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story for anyone, especially those who are fans of baseball. If you are not a fan of baseball, however, do not be scared off. This book is not really about baseball. Although baseball serves as the backdrop, it is much more about life: having to deal with adversity, whether in forms of racism or personal crises, and the importance of teamwork and compassion. It is an in-depth account of the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers through the eyes of newspaper writer Roger Kahn. The book dives far ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Lynn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you like baseball, particularly the history of the game, you'll enjoy this book. I do like baseball, particularly the history of the game, so I enjoyed this book.

It's an old book, originally published in 1971, with material added for a new edition in 1998. At the time it received rave reviews and was a huge best seller.

The subject matter is the Brooklyn Dodgers of the Jackie Robinson era, though this is not another Jackie Robinson book. He was just another player on the team, even if he was t
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“You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat. Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought, and who, if he is a hero, does nothing in life as becomingly as leaving it.” 20 likes
“Why do we remember the Boys of Summer? We remember because we were young when they were, of course. But more, we remember because we feel the ache of guilt and regret. While they were running, jumping, leaping, we were slouched behind typewriters, smoking and drinking, pretending to some mystic communion with men we didn't really know or like. Men from ghettos we didn't dare visit, or rural farms we passed at sixty miles an hour. Loving what they did on the field, we could forget how superior we felt towards them the rest of the time. By cheering them on we proved we had nothing to do with the injustices that kept their lives separate from ours. There's nothing sordid or false about the Boys of Summer. Only our memories smell like sweaty jockstraps.” 6 likes
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