A People's History of Baseball

Univ. of Illinois. Apr. 2012. c.272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780252036804. $29.95. SPORTS
Nathanson (legal writing, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law; The Fall of the 1977 Phillies) chronicles the historic power struggles among those seeking to define and regulate pro baseball—and they weren't "the people"; they were team executives, the commissioner, and the fraternity of the mainstream press. This is the author's very point: that those in power hew to plots that are not in fact in support of the game's essence at all and are not in the best interests of ordinary players or of idealism. This is a thematic rather than chronological study and may be disorienting to readers with only a general enthusiasm for baseball history. It's really a study of the American cultural world (Theodore Dreiser, Horatio Alger Jr., the "great man" approach to history) and the aims of the status quo to make baseball central to that culture. A fine book for those who explore American studies or the relationships between print/media culture and America's pastime.—M.H.
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