Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Summer of '49 ” as Want to Read:
Summer of '49
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Summer of '49

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  7,439 Ratings  ·  232 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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 9th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1989)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Summer of '49, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Summer of '49

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
”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. DiMag ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
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
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 1/2

This is a MAJOR LEAGUE book in my baseball library.
Availability. IN PRINT


The author of this book, David Halberstam (1934-2007), was a well-known journalist and writer. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his Vietnam reporting for the New York Times.

The Summer of ‘49 is about the American League pennant race of that year between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Although the author researched the book in usual ways, his main research consis
Dee Arr
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports, history
Author David Halberstam transports us back to a time when there were no divisions, only two eight-team leagues. With the end of World War II and the advent of television, baseball was poised to become a major part of Americana. Some of the greatest players ever were playing in 1949, among them Boston’s Ted Williams and the New York Yankees’ Joe Dimaggio.

Mr. Halberstam begins the book in 1948, a year that featured a three-way battle for the league title between the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the
Pris robichaud
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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

Harold Kasselman
I'm so glad I finally sat down and read this classic; there is no disappointment here. What a fabulous read. It has all a baseball fanatic could ever want.
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
Nancy Graham
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Riveting account of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, featuring Hall of Famers Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams as well as a host of other talented (though often less famous) ballplayers, during a heated race for the pennant and a time of great social change. Halberstam strikes a perfect balance between profiling players, culture, and play-by-play to keep readers sitting on the edge of our seats to learn how it ends -- more than six decades after the fact.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Um... it's a book about baseball. It would have been near impossible for me NOT to have loved it. The only way it could have been better would be if it came with its own beer. It didn't, so I supplied my own.
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jonathan Liskov
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great book for my taste as well, because it covered not only the baseball aspect of the year of 1949, but also how baseball affected society and the people in the United States during the time, so it doesn't have to be fore just baseball lovers.
Peter McCambridge
Oct 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Drowning in detail. Dull and hard to follow. The opposite of bringing a story to life.
Dave Ciliento
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This isn’t much of a book review but these were some of my dad’s favorite players. It was great to learn some background on them. I really enjoyed getting a peek into his “baseball world” and why he loved them so.
Carol Storm
Jun 09, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read. I personally love baseball and also played sports growing up, so any sports story really gets me and reminds me of the competition and excitement of days gone by. This book was especially good and reminded me why baseball is America's favorite pastime. The pennant race between the Yankees and Red Sox was exciting and Halberstam made it come alive. I loved the way he brought the players' personalities out in the book and really made me feel like I knew them. Not only was it ...more
carl  theaker
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sportz

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
Rex Fuller
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you’re a fan of sunlit vistas, of Teddy Ballgame, Dommy (DiMaggio), Johnny (Pesky), and Bobby (Doerr), maybe Birdy Tebbetts too, or if you inhabit the benighted world of The Stadium, Joe (DiMaggio), Yogi, and Casey Stengel, this is one you should read. If you look up how the season ends you’ll cheat yourself out of enjoying those and many other larger-than-life personalities. But even more so, Halberstam really takes you to America, the way it was before Korea and Vietnam. Everyone should hav ...more
Steph (loves water)
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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!
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, non-fiction
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!
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book for anyone who loves getting lost in the magic of baseball. I throughly enjoyed all the little backstories of the lesser known players (except to the rabid or lifelong fan), and would recommend to all baseball aficionados--especially Red Sox and Yankees fans.
Fred Shaw
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic book about the teams and great players, Yankees no Red Sox. Halberstam is a great sports writer.
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
I read Teammates first and really enjoyed it. This book was good but went on tangents from time to time that didn't relate as much to the Summer of 49.
Ian Morales
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It had been some time since I read a book about any kind of baseball history, but when I saw this one at the public library I felt compelled to pick it up after seeing who wrote it. I immediately remembered that David Halberstam wrote the best book on Michael Jordan I ever read, and that was sometime in my mid-twenties. I fell in love with his writing then, and this book continued that love affair.

It was written in a balanced, back-and-forth description of both teams. Halberstam didn't seem to
Danny Daley
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love baseball. I love the games, the nostalgia, the way the pace of the game matches the rhythms of life. I love streaks and stats and pitch selection. Halberstam argues that baseball is the last great American mythology, and I think he's right. Why else would we still argue that Ruth is the greatest player of all time? Why else would we wonder what it would have been like to watch him bat in a close game? Or to watch DiMaggio go after a ball at the fence? There is a calm about baseball that t ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the third book I've read by David Halberstam and I continue to deepen my respect for his talents as an author (also read: 'The Coldest Winter' and 'The Children'). Many very good writers stick to a single genre (biographies, science fiction, mysteries, etc.). Halberstam wrote about a wide variety of subjects (civil rights, war, politics, sports, and more) and did it all at the very highest level. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a multiple award winning author. I highly rec ...more
David W Musal
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reading for any baseball fan!

From someone who is primarily a National League fan, I found myself learning just why fans from the northeastern States feel that this IS the greatest rivalry in all of Major League Baseball.
Learning about the inside dynamic of each team during that epic pennant race of 1949 made me feel like I was there; even though I was only one year old that summer.
Mr. Halberstam's writing is highly detailed, but still easy to read and understand.
I have more of his books
Nick Zaveri
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As always, with a Halberstam book on sports, the book is amazing. I've had this book for years and never got around to reading it. I'm glad I finally did. As he is prone to do, Halberstam tells a great story while providing insightful profiles of all the characters. His profile of Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio are alone the reasons to read this book. Halberstam also provides great analysis of the history of the times (the 1940s) in the form of the relationship between the media and athletes, the ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told By the Men Who Played It
  • Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History
  • Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
  • The Pitch That Killed
  • The Summer Game
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • The Boys of Summer
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds
  • Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • The Long Ball: The Summer of '75 -- Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played
  • Baseball
  • Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
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

Nonfiction Deals

  • The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Matthew
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
    $9.99 $2.99
  • My Mother Was Nuts
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Final Vows
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chosen by a Horse: a memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
    $17.99 $1.99
  • John Quincy Adams
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match: 70 Recipes to Pair and Share
    $15.99 $2.99
  • By Myself and Then Some
    $11.74 $1.99
  • The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery (A Toltec Wisdom Book)
    $9.99 $2.49
  • Shakespeare Never Did This
    $6.99 $1.99
  • No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Guns of August
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Wish You Happy Forever: What China's Orphans Taught Me About Moving Mountains
    $14.74 $1.99
  • The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?
    $12.99 $2.99
  • Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
    $12.74 $1.99
  • People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful
    $13.49 $0.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Lost Painting
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Supreme Gift
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered One Mom's Small Prayer in a Big Way
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
    $9.99 $2.99
  • How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain
    $5.99 $1.99
  • But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It's Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over for Dinner
    $18.50 $3.99
  • A Dog Year: Twelve Months, Four Dogs, and Me
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South
    $16.99 $4.99
  • Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year
    $15.95 $2.99
  • Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Life Lessons from Ephesians
    $5.99 $1.99
  • A Marriage in Dog Years
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Trusting God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotions
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen
    $18.95 $2.99
  • Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Founding Mothers
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation (Kindle Edition)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Ida: A Sword Among Lions
    $8.24 $2.99
  • A Natural History of the Senses (Vintage)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Unsinkable: A Memoir
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
    $7.95 $2.49
  • Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean
    $7.99 $1.99
“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.” 16 likes
“Baseball was rooted not just in the past but in the culture of the country; it was celebrated in the nation’s literature and songs. When a poor American boy dreamed of escaping his grim life, his fantasy probably involved becoming a professional baseball player. It was not so much the national sport as the binding national myth.” 0 likes
More quotes…