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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:23 am 
Kahn, Roger. The Era 1947 - 1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World. University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

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The Era

This book deals with the period of Major League Baseball when these three teams from New York City dominated the sport. The NY teams won 10 of 12 World Series Championships and the Yankees accounted for eight of those. The post-WW2 era saw the return of basebal to the national spotlight. It was the Golden Age for baseball in many ways. Television and Radio were being used to bring the game directly to millions of new fans. Wartime rationing had come to an end and lights were being installed in ballparks across the country. Returning ballplayers from the Pacific and Europe took their old jobs back and the likes of DiMaggio and Ted Williams once again returned to the diamonds.

More importantly, in many ways, the desegregation of baseball occurred in 1947 with Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. This pivotal event helped turn the game into a social agent for changing the Jim Crow ideology of many Americans. In the time right after America had helped defeat the idea of racial superiority overseas it seemed to be clinging desperately on in many places in America. That baseball played a role in helping to end this is not lost on the author who tells the stories of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Willie Mays in detail.

The Yankee dynasty continued to flourish in this era as DiMaggio's career came to an end. As always, the Yankees didnt experience a slump but instead simply 'reloaded' and were able to bring up Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Yogi Berra. Casey Stengle led the team to five straight World Series victories using his style of platooning players to allow them all days of rest. This was a novel idea in an era when most ballclubs expected every player to play every inning and for pitchers to finish every game they started.

The author ends his book in 1957 when the Dodgers and Giants moved westward to California. Like many Americans they found greener pastures away from the inner-cities of post-war America. As suburban areas grew the inner-cities became less attractive to owners and the white fans that had long-supported these teams. California offered better venues, more money, and new stadiums.

Overall the book was a worthy read if you enjoy baseball history. The author grew up in New York and had been a Dodger fan before they left Brooklyn. Like most Brooklyn fans he was never able to forgive the team for leaving them and this shows in his writing at times. He spends most of his book discussing the years 1947 - 1950 and then hurriedly concludes the last years in just a chapter or two (was he late for a deadline or something?) and I feel this was a letdown at the end of the book. But if you are looking for an entertianing baseball read on one of the more storied era's from the games history than this book is for you.

World Series Winners:
1947 - Yankees
1948 - Indians
1949 - Yankees
1950 - Yankees
1951 - Yankees
1952 - Yankees
1953 - Yankees
1954 - Giants
1955 - Dodgers
1956 - Yankees
1957 - Milwaukee Braves
1958 - Yankees

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:49 am
Posts: 419
Location: USA
I've read this book, but I found it dry and "perfunctory." Not very inspired. Like the author wrote entirely from memory and skipped the research part. Hard to put my finger on it.

Have you read Duke Snider's autobiography? "The Duke of Flatbush"? You might enjoy the behind-the-scenes stuff in that one.

Your Obedient Servant,
Lt Gen Dwight McBride
Ist Division/1st Brigade

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:18 am 
No, I havent read Duke's auto but I will surely put it on my list. I am wrapping up The Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and Breaking the Color Barrier right now. It is a great read at this point. It's always great to read a few baseball books when Spring rolls around!

The author of The Era definately seemed to rely alot on memory. He often spoke of personal experiences with the teams and players but seemed to avoid going too in-depth on many things. The finest part was on Casey Stengel and his rebuilding of the Yanks after Joe McCarthy retired.

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