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Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  176 ratings  ·  43 reviews

A philosophical musing on sports and play, this wholly inspiring and utterly charming reissue of Bart Giamatti's long-out-of-print final book, Take Time for Paradise, puts baseball in the context of American life and leisure. Giamatti begins with the conviction that our use of free time tells us something about who we are. He explores the concepts of leisure, American-s

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 1989)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  176 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After a Cubs World Series victory, this slim volume perfectly illuminates why baseball is so important and beloved in America (and around the globe).
Mary Ronan Drew
May 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Baseball fans can be divided into two types, those who are exasperated at attempts to make over-arching abstract observations about the game and those who see baseball as a metaphor for something else, usually life itself. How Life Imitates the World Series, Why Time Begins on Opening Day, the Big Bang theory of run scoring, and the baseball park as the Garden of Eden.

The last is the beloved metaphor of Bart Giamatti, Renaissance scholar, Yale president, etc. At the end of his life he made his w
James Murphy
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A. Bartlett Giamatti writes poetically, philosophically, and eloquently about games and leisure and about their meaning to Americans. He's not a sports writer. He's a classicist. So he sees leisure linked to Aristotle as well as to the sacred as in holiday or holy day. All sport becomes ceremony. Since sport is conducted in stadiums, because the intense emotion is about winning or losing through ceremony and ritual, the joy of the gods is brought back when people gather. In every sport, ritual i ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sport-baseball
Giamatti was an intellectual powerhouse. That being said, this was not really a baseball book. The last chapter was brief and directly about baseball. The majority of the book was an argument about sport and society on a macro level. Somewhat like a graduate thesis paper.
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, baseball
!!!!!!!!!! anyways baseball can be a good metaphor for life thats it thats my final opinion. *brad pitt voice* its hard not to be romantic about baseball and mr. giamatti said baseball is Romance with a capital R about restoring order and peace and freedom.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
Having passed away more than 30 years ago, I suspect that most people remember Bart Giamatti only for being the Baseball Commissioner who negotiated Pete Rose’s lifetime banishment from the sport. Of course, his list of accomplishments runs far deeper than just that singular event, including work as a scholar of Renaissance literature and the stint he served as President of Yale University. Combined with his passion for the game, Giamatti’s classical training and inquisitive mind would appear to ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
An intellectual look at the importance of baseball in American society. Thoughtful and deep, it's a fascinating look at the importance of sport and the microcosm of daily reality that it is in all of our lives. ...more
M.G. Bianco
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Giamatti was brilliant, even for a Red Sox fan!
Steve Smits
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A. Bartlett Giamatti, when he was made commissioner of baseball in 1989, was an intriguing choice for the job. He was an unusual combination of scholar, academician and administrator (former president of Yale and the National League) and baseball afficianado. I thought at the time that he was likely to have performed well and would bring to baseball's self-absorbed actors(players, their union and the owners) a more balanced sensibility about the game and its relationship to its fans. Sadly, Giam ...more
Marcie Kremer
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The late former Major League Baseball Commissioner and Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti has written an elegant and philosophical dissertation on the integral relationship of baseball and American life and leisure. Jacques Barzun once wrote that “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” and Giamatti’s excellent analysis of the spirit of American independence intertwined with the strong sense of community in our leisure time gives credence to that observat ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
The late former Major League Baseball Commissioner and Yale President A. Bartlett Giamatti has written an elegant and philosophical dissertation on the integral relationship of baseball and American life and leisure. Jacques Barzun once wrote that “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” and Giamatti’s excellent analysis of the spirit of American independence intertwined with the strong sense of community in our leisure time gives credence to that observat ...more
Zach Koenig
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Keep in mind when deciding to read this book that it is as much "philosophy" as "sports". If that's okay with you, but all means proceed. If not, you may want to steer clear. ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: baseball junkies, sports enthusiasts, everyman
** "Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games" Professor of English Renaissance literature and later President of Yale University, A. Bartlett Giamatti, wrote the first section of this essay as a classical picture of the practice of leisure as individual time as opposed to work which is one’s chosen vocation. Man participates in leisure activities which he calls sport and in the 20th century these activities may be one team against another team with the teams being a congregation of athl ...more
Bart Hill
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
A rather deep, philosophical essay of what is the meaning of "sport" and how it can be seen as having religion-like meaning to some players and participants-- or, simply as an enjoyable pastime for those having the leisure to watch/discuss/analyze the game(s) that they enjoy.
Not really my subject of interest, even though I once took a college class , or two, on leisure studies in the United States.
Tom Spisak
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Giamatti's thesis, which has become more true in the 20 years since Take Time for Paradise's first publication, is that sport -- particularly baseball, but all leisure -- defines us because it expresses our hunger for paradise.

We know our heroes are personally flawed. But Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds no more diminish the sublimity of their game than pedophile priests, adulterous rabbis or murderous imams decrease the transcendence found in cathedral, synagogue or masjid. Wayward priests – and i
mad mags
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. This review is written by my husband, on whose behalf I requested the book.)

Ingrained in my memory of my youth, is the summer of 1989. Just a few days before I entered high school, Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader was banished by baseball for gambling. The baseball commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti was suddenly someone famous to me. He, the outsider intellectual from Harvard, had
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In this magnificent gem of a book, Bart Giamatti argues for a classical view of sports and leisure generally. Drawing heavily from Aristotle and Shakespeare, he argues that the mark of truly free people is in how they use their freedom. Many areas of our public and private lives have some element of "work" to them, some compulsion to produce in a particular way, but in our games, we live by the rules which we choose for no particular reason at all. When we play a game, we choose to create the ga ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
So, it has taken me forever to write this review, but I've had a super busy summer and I kept telling myself I need to get this done.

Anyway, Take Time for Paradise is a really Interesting read. There are three parts to the book and being approx. 130 pages it is a relatively quick read. Part 1 is more philosophical and the terminology may slow you down if you are not familiar with it.

I found the comparison of sports and leisure fascinating and really well argued. The American reverence for both
Jack Morris
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
After finishing A. Bartlett Giamatti’s book, Take Time For Paradise, I couldn’t help but wonder how Major League baseball would have been different if Giamatti hadn’t died tragically while serving as baseball commissioner. Would the 1994 baseball strike have occurred? And, after the strike, would Major League baseball have turned a blind eye to steroids that has tainted the game from the late 1990s to the present?
It’s an unanswerable question but Giamatti left some clues within the book on his t
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
"To know baseball is to continue to aspire to the condition of freedom, individually and as a people, for baseball is grounded in America in a way unique to our games. Baseball is part of America's plot, part of America's mysterious, underlying design--the plot in which we all conspire and collude, the plot of the story of our national life."

A very kind recipient of the First Reads ARC passed this to me as she was unable to read/review.

The first two chapters of this extended essay were quite wi
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The true voice of Giamatti is that of a philosopher and professor, and was difficult to read without eliminating all other distractions (including pet cats). And it's definitely not a beach read unless you read Plato or Socrates for breakfast.

The topic itself was quite entertaining, once a state of reading nirvana is attained. Giamatti pours his philosopher's soul into the musings of societal influences and reflections on play, games and, eventually, that of the sport of professional baseball.

May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, sports
One of the first baseball books I ever read was "Ball Four". It was written by a pitcher, Jim Bouton, and was revolutionary for its time. Of all the revelations in the book a major one for me was that baseball players were/are willfully anti intellectual. Players ridiculed readers. That stays with me at least partially for the irony. Baseball writers have always seemed the most creative and the best stylists. The sport appeals to sports nerds.

So, today there are more college educated and insight
Kim Miller-Davis
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Two days ago, while scouring the local dollar store in search of inexpensive materials for my son's school project, my eyes flickered over what must be the most demeaned position in the entire establishment--a bottom shelf dedicated to random, unwanted items. Right there amongst the broken pinwheels and aged Christmas candy, sat a motley disarray of printed materials, out from under which something about this little gem of a book caught my eye. It seems as if it needed rescuing--as if the realit ...more
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, non-fiction
"The essential ceremonial quality of sport, made of anticipation, repetition, and fulfillment, has worked to force the noblest expression leisure can provide - the state of contemplation that is, as Aristotle wrote, "the activity of the intellect that constitutes compete human happiness." It does not last a whole life span, as Aristotle says it should last; it lasts mere moments. But it is no less authentic for that. The memory of that moment is deep enough to send us all out again and again, to ...more
Won this on Goodread's First Reads Giveaway! This philosophical exploration of the inherent worth of sport, especially baseball, left me wanting a more pluralistic approach. This is a reissue of a 22 year-old release that fails to adequately account for the dark side of our professional sporting systems. The author's true love for the game comes across as naïve due to the lack of a skeptic’s piercing eye. The position that baseball is an autotelic endeavored with only minor influence from corpor ...more
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I found this three-part (self-knowledge, community, and baseball as narrative) essay on baseball and (subtitled as) American games at Borders (as our nearest local store begins closing shop with final sales and more price-slashes) as classically-driven and -minded, seen through the romantic lenses of a former Renaissance literature scholar, Professor, Yale President, and Major League Baseball Commissioner, Bart Giamatti, for my friend's birthday, and found the reading experience sometimes tediou ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
Haven't received yet, just received notie I had won. 5/27/11
Received last night, will start as soon as current read is done. 6/7/11
Started and finished last night. 6/12/11

Not really a review, because I am not sure what the author really was trying to say. I entered this giveaway because first, I saw a baseball diamond on the front cover, second, the blurb sounded like it was a philisophical examination of fans and their reactions to baseball. (view spoiler)
Rose Ann
May 27, 2011 added it
Shelves: first-reads
Received an ARC First Reads giveaway.

I am so sad that I didn't enjoy this book. I didn't even finish it.
I could barely get through the first pages. I would read a paragraph and stop and say to myself...."what the heck did I just read?"
I guess it is just too philosophical for me. I was expecting something a little easier to read. I did enjoy the Forward by John Meacham and the Afterword by Marcus Giamatti. I think if the book was written in their style, I would have given it a 4.
I feel bad givin
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I wouldn't let the cover fool you, only one section of this extended essay is about baseball. Inside you'll find a philosophical take (by Paul Giamatti's dad) on sports, its role in our society, and its ties to ancient concepts of play and leisure. A pretty heady 100 pages that digs a little deeper than George Will or Bob Costas' romanticism of baseball, etc. My only complaint was that it didn't really hold together. Though Giamatti refers to subsequent sections as he goes along I never got a re ...more
May 25, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: collections, sports
Not only do I still get all wibbly (technical term) when I read "The Green Fields of the Mind", but I've also read and enjoyed one of Giamatti's rulings as Commissioner (as featured in A Great and Glorious Game), so I am all about this one. ...more
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Angelo Bartlett "Bart" Giamatti was an American professor of English Renaissance literature, the president of Yale University, and the seventh Commissioner of Major League Baseball. ...more

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