Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kahn turns in good performance with Memories of Summer

It isn’t often that I get a chance to sit down and read a book that I choose, especially considering the volume of reading required by my classes. However, in the past month I’ve had the pleasure of reading two good books; Last Best League as I have already reviewed, and now Memories of Summer by Roger Kahn.

When I initially purchased Memories of Summer off of Amazon, I was expecting to get a book that covered the golden era of baseball, the 40s through the 60s. Although the book does do that, it does it through the eyes of Kahn himself. He manages to turn the pages of the book into a sort of autobiography, something that I was not expecting.

Kahn follows his life from the time he was growing up in Brooklyn to his life now as a prolific sports author. Through his accounts of his own life, he sheds light on what affected him most as a sports journalist. Breaking into the profession as a beat writer covering the Brooklyn Dodgers, Kahn retells the story of Jackie Robinson, and the numerous power house Dodger teams that could never quite climb to the ranks of World Champions. Following his stint as the Dodger beat writer, Kahn spent time with numerous other publications including the illustrious (or not so illustrious as portrayed by him) “Sports Illustrated”.

What really stuck out to me was Kahn’s amazing memory. To be able to recall conversations he had as long as 50 years prior to writing the book is definitely a bonus. Conversations with the likes of Robinson, Leo Durocher, and Mickey Mantle are just some of the content that makes this book a wonderful read as well as a learning experience. Through his dialogs with these baseball heroes, the reader can get a since of what they were actually like.

Also, as a journalism major, I really appreciated the behind the scenes views of what life working for a newspaper or magazine was like. Though much has changed since the time period he describes, it was particularly interesting for me.

Overall, I thought Memories of Summer was a very good book. The content of it surprised me a little, but in the end, Kahn’s writing style and knowledge made up for any disappointment I had. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who really wants to learn what real baseball was all about.

Since reading Memories of Summer, I have purchased another book by Kahn, called October Men, which chronicles the 1978 Yankees. This is the next book on my “to read” list.

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