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Shoeless Joe

Narrated by: Grover Gardner
Length: 7 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (253 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Shoeless Joe, the soul-stirring novel on which the movie Field of Dreams is based, is more than just another baseball story. Kinsella captures the spiritual dimension that baseball represents for its most determined devotees in this tale of love and the power of dreams to make people come alive.

“Shoeless Joe” is the great Joe Jackson, one of the eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox who were banned from baseball for throwing the World Series. One day, while out in his corn field, Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears the voice of a baseball announcer saying, “If you build it, he will come.” “He,” of course, is Ray's hero, Joe Jackson. “It” is a baseball stadium, which Ray carves out of his corn field.

©1982 W. P. Kinsella (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Wild...romantic...unconventional....A triumph of hope.” ( Boston Globe)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Story, won't be disapointed!

If you love the movie, you will love the book. Book offers more insight on who the characters are and you can see why they were cut from the movie. It is like watching the expanded directors cut of the movie. Who doesn't want Field of Dreams to last another hour with good content?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A thoroughly American novel

The book is less streamlined than Field of Dreams - there's at least 1.5 times as much story here - and a lot of the stuff that didn't make the script is cut from the same cloth. It's thoroughly American, spiritual and unapologetically sentimental. Kinsella came up with all of the scenes you love if you love the movie. It's all his story. The only things I'd criticize is that it reads like he made it up as he went along, and that's especially apparent when it contradicts itself in one very important element of its mythology (what lies beyond the cornfield). It also wants the reader to respect baseball as a religion while showing an ugly contempt for other people's beliefs.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Baseball Magic

If you grew up with a love for the game, or a love of the movie, or love pure, u ironic magical realism, than you will love this story. The writer gets a little carried away with his characters' monologues at times, but I think it's charming. A tale from just long enough ago to feel nostalgic and timeless in a really good way. It isn't for everyone. I imagine that if you didn't really love baseball, than it would come across as charming, but odd. But is baseball is in your blood, than it is absolutely delicious.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very good

This is, of course, the book that the movie FIELD OF DREAMS was based on. And although the book came before the movie, I'm afraid this is one of the rare times when the movie is better. All the elements are here, but there is a lot of things that the movie rightfully cut; such as the carnival barker twin brother, the dreamer elderly farm owner, and the stops at every ballpark in the road trip. Also, another major change is Terence Mann is actually J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher In The Rye. From what I've researched, the change was made after the REAL Salinger threatened litigation. Overall, however, the book is well worth reading (listening to). The author has a great wit and natural talent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Don't let this book ruin the movie for you

My two favorite genres of books and movies are Sci-fi and Baseball, albeit not together but that might be interesting as well. Field of Dreams has always been a favorite movie of mine and didn't know that it was based on a book until I re-watched the movie recently and saw that it was based on a book of a different title. This one really touches on that '1, 2 combination punch' described above, but not too fantastical.

It wasn't with hesitation that I picked this book up, but is so with my recommendation for it. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because the story is amazing. Yes you get that from the movie, and yes it's much better in film. However I always like the original and seeing where Hollywood departs from the writer.

Again, the movie really is so much better, but there is a sweet little gem in the book that is a departure from the film that I became enchanted with and have learned additional information separately about 'JDS' and his WWII Veteran status. This alone makes the book worth the time.

Also, I didn't enjoy the narrator and continuously longed to here Kevin Costner's voice.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Field of Dreams story

I got this book after realizing it was the backstory to the Field of Dreams movie. I loved that movie as I am a physician who trained in Iowa City. I've also been to the field in Dyersville three times. The story was interesting. I liked the changes made in the movie as they improved the eloquence. The book was a bit too wordy but still very enjoyable.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great story read poorly

This is the book “field of dreams” was based on. If you loved the movie, you’ll enjoy the nuance in the book, even though the movie had a more emotional impact.

The problem lies here with the narrator. He has an old, baseball announcer voice. It adds a terrific vibe to a story about old ballplayers, but it does nothing to help the listener enjoy the story. He reads in a monotone voice and does not do anything to indicate who is speaking. As a result, it is easy to get lost in a conversation and have no idea which character is saying what. This is a story which is harmed by the loss of character dimensions, even at the gain of the “old baseball-y vibe.”

As a result, this book is probably better read in print/ebook than listened too on audiobook.

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Better than the (incredibly wonderful) movie

I read this book when it first came out and loved it. As a Kinsella fan, I've read most of his books and short stories, and like the rest of the world, I was taken in by Field of Dreams, and have seen it countless times. But I had forgotten just how wonderful the book is, upon which that movie is based... and it is even better with some characters who didn't make the cut when the film was produced. I listened to Shoeless Joe on Audible, loved the narration and remembered Eddie Scissons, one of those characters in the book only, J.D. Salinger and references to Catcher in the Rye, and more. If you haven't read the book in a long while, it's worth listening to this performance. Of course it's a great story, as most of Kinsella's writings are, but it is also a really good performance by Grover Gardner.

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ok movie better

book was good and fills in a lot of holes from the movie. the book just got a little weird.

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very good audiobook

My dad and I quite enjoyed this book on our way up to Dyersville, Iowa.