Summer of '49
With incredible skill, passion, and insight, Pulitzer Prizewinning author David Halberstam returns us to a glorious time when the dreams of a now almost forgotten America rested on the crack of a bat.
The year was 1949, and a war-weary nation turned from the battlefields to the ball fields in search of new heroes. It was a summer that marked the beginning of a sports...more
As I grew older, I drifted ...more
1949 was a bit before my first MLB ball game interest but this book, written 40 years after the season with the aid of most of the principle players, captures brilliantly one of the best pennant chases in history between two of the greatest rivals of all time: the Yankees and the Red Sox. At a time when baseball and American culture was on th ...more
"Old-time baseball players and fans love to denigrate the modern ballplayer. "Baseball today is not what it should be," one old-timer once wrote. "The players do not try to learn all the fine points of the game as in the days of old, but simply try to get by. They content themselves if they get a couple of hits every day or play an errorless game... It's positively a shame, and they are getting big money for it, too."
Bill Joyce, 1916 Ballplayer
Once you get past the odd sight of Joe DiMaggio hitting left handed (with a reversed NY on his uniform) the book tells the tale of mid-century America with a focus on its most popul ...more
There are many characters in this book, and each unfold in different ways. The legendary Joe Dimaggio, and his less famous brother, Dominic, have to play separately, even on separate teams! In the final game of the season, Joe must win to get his World series check, and Dominic just wants to get to the great Worl ...more
I tell everyone that this is the best baseball book I ever read, except for THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES by Lawrence Ritter. And I mean it! This book describes the 1949 Pennant Race between the New York Yankees (Joe DiMaggio) and Boston Red Sox (Ted Williams) in play by play, game by game detail. Halberstam also gives fascinating background information on the entire organization, the stands, the announcers, the pres ...more
Read this at the perfect time, during my first trip to NYC which was to see games at Yankee and Mets stadia, which were torn down at the end of that season.
Great weaving of player's lives with the baseball story and historical context of America.
Interesting items - it was considered a sign of weakness to drink water during a game, and this was when wearing wool uniforms, also to eat a candy bar or anything like that.
Even though the nation only had 3 million TV sets, fans were already clownin ...more
I went into Halberstam's history of the 1949 Yankees/Red Sox pennant race expecting to read a great story about the postwar golden age of baseball. The story was good, but I was mildly disappointed because it seems Halberstam was expecting to write a great story about the postwar golden age of baseball, and in doing so he overwrote beyond profound and poignant and ended up at maudlin.
The particulars: in 1948 and ...more
Though I enjoy nonfiction, it is slower reading for me, but this one is written so well that it went by quickly for me. Not only does it cover the players and teams from the era, but it gets into some of the people close to the game, like the radio announcers, which was sort of a fun insight into a part of the game that we don't ...more
There's a strong chance I read this book back in the 90's. I devoured sports books back in my middle and high school days. And frankly a lot of the stories in here were fa ...more
Halberstam tells the story of the passing of an era. Joe DiMaggio would play just one more season. Yankees Tommy Henrich (who carried the Yankee team while DiMaggio sat out part of the season with a heel injury) and Charlie Keller were al ...more
In the beginning, th ...more
The subject matter is right up my alley. I'm a die-hard Red Sox fan, an avid Yankee hater, and I have an appreciation for all things competition. But this book just dragged ...more
Even though "Summer of '49" is way before my time, I appreciated it on a number of levels. I learned a lot about the time period, the beginnings of television and advertising in baseball, the difference in the relationship between the media and the players, and the effect of the war on the game and the careers of its stars. I also c ...more
I really enjoy a well researched book and this is one of those special books about baseball. This book covers so much about the players on two teams fighting for the American league pennant. The details about their personalities and what makes a champion borders on human talent and lady lucky. Good read, I highly recommend.
Reserve a library copy.
Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, writing for ...more