#37 -- "Summer of '49" by David Halberstam
A few months back, I realized that I'd never ever read any of Halberstam's books, so I picked up a few. Naturally I read the baseball one before any of those dealing with serious subjects.
In my teenage years, I read just about every baseball book in the Boulder Public Library, except for this one and one or two of Roger Angell's books, which looked, I dunno, too serious for me.
Anyway, "Summer of '49" was a nice end-of-summer read, pretty quick and nicely paced. I burned myself out on baseball literature long ago, but this is probably a bit headier stuff -- Halberstam's a big fan, but he can't curb his intellectual instincts, which is a-ok with me. There's a good case to be made for the pennant race occurring at a crucial juncture in American history (granted, you could probably make that case for any race between, say, the 1940s and the 1970s), as radio had started giving way to TV, the color line was still newly broken, stars' feet of clay weren't visible, etc etc.
The race was probably pretty gripping, but there's not a lot of drama -- even if you don't know the end result, I think you can figure out who's gonna end up winning pretty quickly. Good pleasant read, in any case -- next I'll have to take up some of his political work.
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Linkage: when I was a kid, Casa Bonita in Denver was one of the locations for kids' birthday parties -- I remember magicians, divers, mazes, mysteries, loads of stuff (and I'd bet some of the recollections are fanciful or mistaken). It's probably been nearly 25 years since I've been, so it was a trip when Noah passed this along -- an adult's trip back to Casa Bonita. It seems really dingy and depressing, which it may have been back then too (I thought Chuck E. Cheese had the world's best pizza back then, too, so it's not like I was some amazing ten-year-old arbiter of taste). It was quite a trip reading it, and I'm glad someone else did it rather than me.
Meanwhile, Double Cross has posted part of an interview with Gavin of No For An Answer (who just showed up in the comments at this blog, I think -- again, wheels within wheels!). NFAA remain one of my favorite bands from that era, and it was really a blast to read about their genesis. You can bet I'll be breaking out "You Laugh" in the coming days.