Summer of '49
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Summer of '49

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  4,439 ratings  ·  146 reviews
With incredible skill, passion, and insight, Pulitzer Prize–winningauthor 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 rivalr...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1989)
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This summer, baseball came back to me. It had been gone a long time. I loved it as a kid. I played it, I watched it, I had no idea how lucky I was (growing up in Minnesota) to watch the Twins win two Series in a five-year period. Baseball was the only way I connected with my dad. We never did talk – and still seldom do – but we sure could pass the hours shagging flies. (There is a specific reason guys love Field of Dreams: because it is spot-on about fathers and sons).

As I grew older, I drifted...more
Pris robichaud
Goddamm, But Playing Baseball Is Fun, 9 Aug 2007

"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

As the cliché goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Those are wise and banal words. They are also applicable words to Halberstam’s well told novel about the Yankees-Red Sox pennant race in 1949, for if you were to judge this book by its cover you would think that it was a poorly researched cartoon about baseball.

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
Halberstam tells the story of the 1949 American League pennant race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The outcome rested on the final game of the season when these two legendary rivals faced off in Yankee Stadium. The topic has obvious appeal for fans of the game (particularly to those of us with a stake in this rivalry), but Halberstam offers a narrative that can charm the general reader as well. He tells of a bygone era when the crack of the bat was crisp over the radio and...more
Jun 15, 2008 Cazual23 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any baseball fan
Recommended to Cazual23 by: my father
I used to go up to Cape Cod every summer. My uncle had this hammock between two pine trees, and I would spend my annual hours swinging, dozing and reading. Summer of '49 was one of my favorite books from that time. My Dad and I would make our annual pilgrimage to The Baseball Store in Orleans, marveling at old cards, and walk farther down main street to thumb through The Compass Rose bookstore's baseball encyclopedia. We also went to Cape Cod League baseball games at night, go Cardinals! So I'd...more
Summer of ‘49 is a non-fiction book about baseball in the 1940s. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, rivals for decades, must beat each other for a bid in the 1949 World Series.

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
Carol Storm
Great analysis on the diamond -- but off the field a little too stuffy and patrician!

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
This book was great...interesting story between the two rivals of the pennant race of 1949. Of course, as a die hard Red Sox fan I totally enjoyed it. I still believe Ted Williams (the last guy to ever bat .400) the greatest hitter that ever lived. It was also fun to see the Dimaggio brothers playing against each other as well. A good book for baseball fans and die hard Yanks or Sox fans everywhere!
What I most appreciated about this Halberstam baseball book was his sense of the ends and beginnings of different eras in the evolution of the game: racial integration, the dawn of televised games, the last seasons of Joe DiMaggio's career and the beginning of the years of Yankee dominance through the 1950s. A great read!
Jessica Lave
I had never heard of this book or the author until I saw it at a Sam's Club years ago. The price was right and I love baseball history, so I bought it and took it home.
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
May 12, 2013 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sports
David Halberstam brought to life an era of baseball before I was born. He chronicles the 1949 American League pennant race and the contest between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox that comes down to the last game of the season between these two teams.

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
Not as good as I expected it to be but I still enjoyed it. This book was very much written like Halberstam's "Teammates" in that it gave a lot of background on the key players. I was expecting it to be more about the season, the actual pennant race and the way it gripped the nation and less about the back stories of the key players. Maybe it felt this way because I knew much of what I read because I had already been through his other book. There was some new information and it was pretty cool to...more
Summer of ’49 by David Halberstam is a terrific book, especially for sports fans. It’s very exciting to read about the best and most hated rivalry in all of sports between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. A lot of the book also talks about Ted Williams arguably the greatest hitter in baseball history (played for the Red Sox) and Joe DiMaggio not only one of the greatest hitters of all time but a major celebrity (played for the Yankees, married to Marilyn Monroe).
In the beginning, th...more
Any book about baseball is a good book. A baseball book from David Halberstram is a classic. Whether you are a Yankee lover or a Yankee hater or don't care about the Yankees or baseball at all, this a great read. That also pertains to the lovers, haters and indifferent of the Red Sox. He makes the men who played the game stand up and walk out of the pages of history and stand before you, full of the angst of playing the great American game, driven (to drink, many of them) by the passion to win,...more
Joe P
Sep 03, 2008 Joe P rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: baseball fans, historians
This was somewhat of a slow read. I've written this in some of my other reviews, but I hardly have time to read, what with a young child and a full time job. But when a book resonates with me, I'll make time to get through it as fast as possible. Perhaps a sign of this book's lack of resonation, it took me a month to read it.

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
Jan 15, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eric by: Joe Lazarro
Shelves: sports
I usually stick to fiction, but a co-worker (and fellow Yankees fan) gave me a copy of this book and I decided to give it a read, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

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
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I enjoyed also David Halberstam's October 1964, but this is my favorite of the two. The books cover more than just the baseball seasons in their titles, also including much background on the teams and players as well as discussions of the culture of the era. The fact that much of the emphasis of this book is of Joe DiMaggio's Yankees and the Red Sox of Ted Williams - two legendary players - makes it all the more interesting.

It's obviously a time now gone from America, where the teams traveled b...more
Eva Gogola
My baseball reading never disappoints. It seems each baseball book is better than the last. I loved this book. My husband teases that each summer I declare that "This is the greatest baseball book I've ever read!" It is true that I adored both Bless You Boys and Last Days of Summer, and cried reading both. While I did not cry this time, I still thought the Summer of '49 is a nonfiction sports gem. Good sports writing is a fantastic art and Halberstam weaves the facts into a wonderful story. It's...more
Best for it's era

I liked it a lot. The epilogue alone is worth the book. The player characterizations reflect extensive interview research. A gripping underrated season. Okay, some writing faults. Too many "he said's, too often. But we'll worth the read for a nostalgic fan.
This is basically a biography of every player as well as managers, sports writers, the guy who owns the restaurant where players occasionally hung out, two or three kids who really loved each team who went on to be slightly famous. There was, however, little actually baseball in the book. I thought it paled in comparison to Three Nights In August but of course, Three Nights in August includes a really good team, the Chicago Cubs. It was a good indication of what all has changed about the game th...more
I picked this book to read because I have enjoyed other Halberstam books and because I wanted to read a baseball book during the summer (and baseball) season. This book was very enjoyable with many anecdotes and stories about the American League pennant race of 1949 and the players on the Yankees and Red Sox teams. It felt as though you were there watching the drama of the season unfold. The only thing I didn't like about the book was the scattershot way many of the main players' backstories wer...more
Halberstam's book is justly considered a classic. Halberstam vividly recreates the story of a great, down to the wire pennant race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees -- two deep and talented teams. The rearder is caught up in the majesty of this race -- even though he or she knows (mercifully, if you're a Yankee fan!) how it will all turn out.

At the same time, Halberstam explores the role of radio and advertising and how they were changing not only baseball but American culture...more
more than anything, i was impressed with david halberstam's ability to include so many facts, figures, and details without for one minute being boring.
it was clear that he is a lover of the game of baseball and, after reading this account, i, too have a new admiration for the sport and those who play(ed) it.
i would recommend this book not only to those who love baseball but also to those who wish to learn more about the mindset of the players and WHY people love the game.
it's also a great qui...more
Great book to relive the baseball of postwar America = times before TV and a time when heroes hit the ball
David Wrubel
2nd best baseball book ever written. But as an historian as well as a baseball fan, Halbertsam effortlessly portrays America during one of its best years ever, as things began to get rolling after World War II. It was a more innocent, optimistic, confident time, perfect for the baseball dramas that played out between the Yankees and the Red Sox that summer.

If time travel were possible, I'd love to spend a couple of days in New York during the summer of '49, just taking it all in. And I would buy...more
I really enjoyed this narrative of the 1949 baseball season and the pennant race between the Yankees and the Red Sox. There was some great insight into the players and the economics of baseball at the time as well as its cultural influence. The primary flaw in the book was that Halberstram seemed to downplay the racism of the Yankees and Red Sox (the last two teams to integrate), especially of Sox owner Tom Yawkey. It didn't even mention the fact the Sox gave Jackie Robinson try out (under dures...more
Jim Reineking
Gets a little bogged down with play-by-play minutiae
carl  theaker

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
A well written chronicle of the mishaps, endurance and alcoholism of the 1949 Major League Baseball series. It boils down to the Red Sox versus the Yankees, and lest we forget, the Red Sox were the billionaire boys club back then.

Sometimes the text rambles a bit, but it's understandable given the scope of numbers Halberstam is trying to chronicle. Numbers as in: player's names, stories, statistics, and all interesting minutia that went into this particular season.

Certainly a brisk, enjoyable rea...more
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David Halberstam (April 10, 1934–April 23, 2007) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War and his later sports journalism.

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
More about David Halberstam...
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“DiMaggio's grace came to represent more than athletic skill in those years. To the men who wrote about the game, it was a talisman, a touchstone, a symbol of the limitless potential of the human individual. That an Italian immigrant, a fisherman's son, could catch fly balls the way Keats wrote poetry or Beethoven wrote sonatas was more than just a popular marvel. It was proof positive that democracy was real. On the baseball diamond, if nowhere else, America was truly a classless society. DiMaggio's grace embodied the democracy of our dreams.” 8 likes
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