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Bill EmblomTop Contributor: Baseball
5.0 out of 5 starsThe United States and Baseball Are Brought Kicking And Screaming Into A New Era
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2017
The 1960s was a turbulent decade in both the nation and baseball and authors John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro have done a marvelous job in entwining civil rights, the Vietnam war, and baseball. Social changes require conflict and both the nation and baseball were brought kicking and screaming into a new era. Unfortunately we lost leaders in the Kennedys and Martin Luther King and suffered through a terrible war along with rioting in the cities. Whether you lived through this decade or know it only through what you have read you will enjoy this book which contains anecdotes galore of those involved. Both our country and the game of baseball have benefited from what took place over the past fifty years. As a warning let us not go back and have to repeat the price that was paid by those during the tumultuous 1960s. The book contains 201 pages of text along with two sets of photos of twelve pages each.
An interesting book, but one that lost touch with its premise about half way through. Initially, the authors examined issues like race relations, presidential elections, the Vietnam war, and their impact on the baseball universe, including examples of how they affected specific players. For some unknown reason, that compelling construct eventually just faded into the background. So what started out as a weaving together of events on and off the baseball diamond, devolved into an ordinary, generic baseball book recounting seasons and results. And if the latter is what you are looking for, there are a number of books that tell season-specific on-field stories better than this one does.
5.0 out of 5 starsA fun and informative page turner
Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2017
I started reading this on a Saturday morning, and by dinner time on Sunday, I was out of book, wanting more. I just couldn't put it down. I enjoyed it soo much! It was fun, nostalgic, educational, and sometimes even eye-opening. A non-preachy mix of history, sociology, biography and BASEBALL! I found the behind the curtain stories about the folks whose card's I traded fascinating, particularly the threads re: Dick Allen and Denny McLain. For me, the book showed how a number of my boyhood memories fit together in a way I never considered before.
4.0 out of 5 stars90% of American history is about race; the other half is about baseball.
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2017
This is a very good account, bringing together events we all know about and placing them within the context of major league baseball. It really is remarkable when one thinks about the state of the nation in 1960 and how, by 1971, the nation had changed dramatically in terms of its widening acceptance of all Americans, and baseball was right there. I am especially grateful for these authors accounting of the evolution of the famous Reserve Clause, which I thought all Americans had internalized and understood. A quick poll taken at a picnic gathering the other day revealed that not everyone has heard of this issue, in fact (much to my surprise). Curt Flood is a national hero in many ways: hats off to these authors for highlighting his struggle and for placing in its proper context.
2.0 out of 5 starsbut too Boston- and New York-centric for my enjoyment as Flyover State resident and fan of teams in ...
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2018
Well researched in general, but too Boston- and New York-centric for my enjoyment as Flyover State resident and fan of teams in that region. Too slanted both with regard to the baseball and to the sociopolitical scene that the author presented in those places. Glad I read it, because baseball parallels our history in so many ways. But as baseball reads go, not particularly enjoyable. A similar book that readers might like more is The Last Innocents, by Michael Leahy, which I think does a better job of tying baseball to the left coastal migration of the 1950's-1960's and discusses the early challenges that African Americans experienced in Major League Baseball (and the players organizing to get a fairer share of the pie) in a very personal, but well stated, manner.
I love social history and I love baseball! This book has it all and more. It is a wonderful read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a trip around the 60's in the context of baseball and more. Well Done!
An interesting flashback to a tumultuous decade and its transformative effect on the national pastime. A reminder that the "bad old days" of segregation at spring training and the poor treatment of players of color was not all that long ago. And very relevant to the conversation we're having now with sports intersecting with politics.