Books That Inspire 2004


 
The Boys of Summer
Roger Kahn


Imagine an America of daytime baseball, athletes who are not millionaires, and fans so memorable that they are as legendary as the Hall of Fame players they rooted on. This is the myth and reality of Brooklyn in the 1950s, when the Dodgers battled their cross-town rival New York Giants and the hated Yankees for baseball supremacy.

Boys of Summer is much more than a baseball story. The Dodger fan’s cry "wait till next year" resonates for all who push the limits of their abilities, often in the face of adversity. The players love the game and fight for every win, and the Dodger quest for a Series title takes on the quality of Ulysses trying to get home to Ithaca. And the qualities of these men are evident. Southerner Pee Wee Reese crosses the color barrier to welcome Jackie Robinson. We see in the Dodger clubhouse and on the playing field what Martin Luther King only dreamed twenty years later, as these men judged each other not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. There is inspired friendship, the force of will, and the daring to reach

When the Dodgers left Brooklyn, it marked a passage of America from urban to suburban, from intimacy to privacy. But it also capped the successful completion of one of the most daring experiments in social reform ever attempted in America.
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Ronald Keith Gaddie
Professor
Political Science