Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Boys of Summer” as Want to Read:
The Boys of Summer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Boys of Summer

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  10,777 ratings  ·  445 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
Mass Market Paperback, 474 pages
Published May 9th 1973 by signet (first published January 1st 1972)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,777 ratings  ·  445 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Boys of Summer
Jeffrey Keeten
”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
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“I see the boys of summer in their ruin
Lay the gold tithings barren,
Setting no store by harvest, freeze the soils.”
-Dylan Thomas

We are approaching Memorial Day. The weather should be heating up soon, and for me nothing epitomizes summer like a baseball game played on a hazy afternoon. Drink in hand on the porch with a radio by one’s side, baseball is the soundtrack of summer. This year there may be no baseball, and, if there is, it will be in abbreviated form only. In order to simulate the bas
Fred Shaw
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Boys of Summer
By Roger Kahn
Kindle edition
5 Stars

The Boys of Summer is the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers when the best came to play baseball: Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Billy Cox, Roy Campanella, Carl Erskine, Clem Labine, Billy Cox, Jackie Robinson. That’s right sports fans, “Brooklyn Dodgers”. At one time there were 3 MLB clubs in New York City: The Brooklyn Dodgers, played at Ebbets Field, The New York Giants played at the Polo Grounds, and The New York Yankees,
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read a baseball book, and this classic about the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers fit the bill nicely.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2013
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
Brian Eshleman
Probably the best sports book I ever read. He talked about a year in baseball before mine in a way that was compelling but still realistic.
Kasa Cotugno
Although I read this over 40 years ago, way before I became a fan, I fell in love with baseball through this book.
Aug 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Patrick Murtha
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The legendary status of The Boys of Summer is well-deserved - it is unquestionably one of the finest non-fiction sports books ever written. However, be aware: It is the very opposite of a "feel good" read. In fact, I can scarcely remember a book that is so suffocatingly sad. The players of the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early Fifties (as well as a number of others associated with the team in various ways) experienced an unusually high number of foreshortened careers, personal tragedies (especially ...more
Porter Kelly
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Joy D
Eloquently-written memoir of a time and place, as Roger Kahn takes us through his career in writing in relation to his affection for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the game of baseball. He starts with memories of his childhood, attending baseball games at Ebbets field with his dad, establishing the foundation for his life-long love of the game. He then takes us through his brief but memorable time as a sportswriter for the Brooklyn Dodgers, getting to know the team members personally, and how they and ...more
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Len Washko
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Barnabas Piper
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a classic. If you are a baseball fan, you gotta read it.
Jeff Dickison
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This my favorite baseball book of all time. I was a New York Giants fan, but even as a kid I knew you needed a great opponent if you were going to become great yourself. In the early 50's the Giants & Dodgers made each other better teams. Roger Kahn has a great feel for the game of baseball and if Carl Erskine's story doesn't move you, you can't be moved. Highly recommended to everyone who has any interest in baseball. ...more
I only managed to read half of this and was forced to stop. It was too painful to read the accounts of these once-great men, reduced to wrack and ruin by the ravages of time. I'll return to it one day but not yet, not yet. ...more
Apr 16, 2018 added it
Part memoir, part historical artifact, part group profile, part baseball book. The Boys of Summer is an outstanding read whether you're a fan of the game or not, I'd wager. Like any good long form piece of journalism, it's less about the thing the people do and more about the people themselves.

Broken up into two parts - Roger Kahn starts by detailing what it was like growing up in Brooklyn as a young baseball fan, especially of the Dodgers. He is confessional about his family life - mostly posit
Quinn Rhodes
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really good. About baseball, but mostly about men of a certain time. A lot more diversity of culture on a sports team than happens today seemingly.
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
If you want to know what reporting was like in the 1940’s-50’s, then this is the book for you. I was hoping it would be more about baseball.:-(
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
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Just wanted to warn people thinking of spending the money on this that it is SO not worth it.
Beyond a few really beautifully insightful and poetic sentences, the book is mostly just a bare bones recounting of the author's life as a newspaper reporter following the Brooklyn Dodgers when Jackie Robinson played for em.
There's some basic explanation of the players' personalities, but not much in the way of analysis.
I couldn't even finish it.
Doreen Petersen
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Same as the first time I read it . This year's Dodgers was a real disappointment , they need to rebuild their pitching staff (espeially relievers) . ...more
Jeff Garrison
What a delightful book. I knew about this book for years, but recently decided to listen to it (15 hours 11 minutes) when driving back from Michigan. Kuhn drew me in with his memories of growing up in Brooklyn and at the age of 24, being assigned to cover the Dodgers. He covered the team during for just a few good years. The team could win the National League pennant but lost the World Series to the Yankees during Kahn's tenure as a reporter (they'd later win the World Series and then move to Lo ...more
Matt Ely
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
"... as with an under-boiled potato, O'Malley's warmth was mostly external." -Roger Kahn

The flairs are literary and they are incisive. They are morally charged and they are nostalgic. The asides make the book because the plot doesn't matter. There are one hundred pages of plot, one hundred pages of baseball history and championships and striving. And then we see that the real lives, even the ones lived amidst that strife, were asides and flairs and intangibles.

The title is so misleading. I avoi
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Baseball Book...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Discussion of "The Boys of Summer" 68 54 Apr 06, 2020 09:58AM  
Baseballia: The First Book: The Boys of Summer 14 16 Apr 01, 2014 04:44AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ball Four
  • Summer of '49
  • Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
  • The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
  • Men at Work
  • A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers
  • Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero
  • Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
  • Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
  • The Best Team Money Can Buy
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • Fever Pitch
  • The Sweet Science
  • October 1964
  • The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Roger Kahn was best known for The Boys of Summer, about the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Articles featuring this book

As this strange summer of staying put winds down, one thing remains truer than ever: Books offer us endless adventure and new horizons to...
61 likes · 28 comments
“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.” 28 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.” 8 likes
More quotes…