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on 26 April 2002
Some sports lend themselves to quality writing. In the UK the finest prose is almost always devoted to cricket. Perhaps it's the slow pace,allowing contemplation, punctuated by bursts of intense action, or its historical link to some pastoral England which may or may not have existed. . Baseball is similarly blessed in the USA,and Kahn's book with its thoughtful ,insightful and moving style, its unashamed and autobiographical content, and its warts and all description of the struggles of black athletes for acceptance in 1950s America, is outstanding. Its greatest triumph, though, is the obvious love and respect that the author has not only for the game but also those flawed and complex characters who played it. The book glows with this warmth, as it follows the mixed fortunes of the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers some 20 years later.
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on 29 December 1998
There's no sugarcoating of the Jackie Robinson Dodgers in this story. We see them in full, pioneers, bigots, fathers and husbands.
The way that they have survived the changes in their lives says far more about their character than any penny-ante poem or polemic. Kahn lived and worked with these men for two years, and his achievement is that he makes us feel that we knew them as well as he did.
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on 13 February 2001
This is a very sad story of how fate conspired to rob a team of the success they deserved and then dealt so cruelly with many of the players in their later lives. The story of the seasons Kahn spent with the team is absorbing. The stories of his meetings with them many years later are moving. The book is brilliantly written. It is about sport but more about the struggles of mankind. An undoubted 5 stars.
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on 17 January 2014
Richard Williams of the Guardian alerted me to this reissue of a book first published in 1972. It recounts the achievements of the the great Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team of the early 1950s, before the franchise was shifted to LA, but the real meat of the book is the author's pilgrimage to all parts of the USA to find out how the heroes of the fifties are faring fifteen years on. Roger Kahn was "embedded" with the team and enjoyed their confidences when he reported on their playing days, so he is welcomed and trusted when he reappears later in their lives. The stories which emerge are moving, inspiring, sad and funny, but from all of them you get a sense of the nobility of these professional sportsmen, and the telling is superbly done.
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on 5 May 1998
The "Boys of Summer" is a fascinating book. Roger Kahn vividly descibes his days with the likes of Robinson, Reese, Durocher, Labine, Erskine, Cox,Black, Campenella.
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on 12 December 2007
Roger Kahn has long been hailed as the greatest American sports writer and after reading 'The Boys Of Summer' it is easy to see why. The book is divided into two main parts, with interludes and memoriums to fallen ball players filling the gaps.
Part one describes growing up in Brooklyn, within shouting distance of the no longer existing Ebbets Field, home of the no longer existing Brooklyn Dodgers. It starts with Kahn's family life and his early years in journalism which culminates in him being appointed to cover the Dodgers for two years, the team he has supported and obsessed about all his young life.
Starting his dream job, he follows the Dodgers from Miami, for Spring training to the World Series in both seasons making long lasting friendships with players that he knew fanatically as a regular at Ebbets Field and then as complex people each with differing philosophies, tastes, beliefs and anxieties.
The list of Dodger's in those two seasons include Jackie Robinson, the first black player to play Major League, the team slugger,'Duke' Snider, the greatest glove the game ever saw in 3rd baseman Billy Cox, Preacher Roe - the spit ball specialist, Erskine - the pitcher and master of the overhand curve, Campy - the catcher and winner of 3 straight MVPs, Black -the first black pitcher to win a World Series game and of course the short stop and captain, the late great Pee Wee Reese.
The second part of the book, sees Kahn tracking down The Boys of Summer, now retired from the game and living very different lives in different parts of the States. These stories are probably even stronger. I have read the book 3 times now and on the 3rd read I started at part 2 to soak in all the charateristics of these men and then finished with part 1, reading baout them in their sporting prime.
It has everything a great sports books needs: passion, soul and a true understanding of the game and the people both within it and outside it. Great sporting achievements are very difficult to put into words, but Kahn does it so well you end up rooting for both the team and him.
It is a story of a very diffrent time and almost a different world, but all avid sports fans who realise that the games we watch and the games we play are a passion, addiction and a love beyond the reaches of intellect and reason will love it forever.

Simon Rance, author of The FC Nantes Experiment.
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on 22 February 2015
Reads like a collection of individual stories centered around a team in the middle of the most progressive time in Baseball. Although I enjoyed the book it seemed in the wrong order (or 2 separate books?). The author's own story is quite interesting and sets the scene - the real value is in the players. The last section of the players stories is great.
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on 21 October 2013
Great story of sportsmen and their lives after the cheers stop. Just a excellent read throughout and hard to put down at the end of the day.
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on 20 June 2011
As a baseball ignoramus, a lot of this book whistled over my head like a hundred-mile an hour hard ball. I guess a fan would be amused by the put-downs of the players or excited by the statistics, but I found myself skimming a fair proportion. However, where Kahn was talking about his early life (especially his truly remarkable father and the characters in the 1950s news office) I was gripped, and when, in the second part, he is talking about the later lives of the players, I was charmed and even, with the story of Jackie Robinson, moved. I'm not much more knowledgeable about the game, and no more interested, but I enjoyed the book for Kahn's pleasure in it and for the social commentary and the particular light it shines on the progress of racial integration from the late forties.
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on 7 January 2017
Even for a non-baseball fan this was a very interesting book, particularly what the 'boys of summer' were doing once retired.
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