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Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America and Other Sports Reads

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review


A great deal has happened to the United States and to baseball since that day of April 8, 1974 when Henry Aaron broke the career home run record of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.  Tom Stanton's "Hank Aaron and the Home run That Changed America" (William Morrow, $23.95, 249 pages) brings back the time in simple sentenced syntax.

The book contains a story oft told, but Stanton's meticulous research underscores many items and events worth reading about again: that Aaron was so threatened with assassination threats that he wound up being the most guarded player in the history of baseball, that Willie Mays couldn't bear the thought of his friend (and rival) breaking Ruth's record - a record many thought Mays would shatter, that the historic 714th and 715th home runs slammed by Aaron were "called shots."

The world of the Vietnam War cycling down, of Roe v. Wade, of Watergate all form a backdrop to the deeds of the man they called "the Hammer," a black man going for broke against the long standing record of a white baseball icon.  Not surprisingly, the lead player in this next book under review is Henry Louis Aaron.

For those who like their books with lots of color pictures there is "Big Stix" by Rob Rains (Sports Publishing, $24.95, 160 pages) This book should stir some mild controversy, ranking as it does, the Rains vision of the top 25 hitters in baseball history. Hank Aaron is number one and Eddie Collins is Number 25. To get the rest of the rankings, you will have to get the book.

"Growing Up With Baseball" edited by Gary Land (University of Nebraska Press, $25.00, 194 pages ) has a whopping high price for so little text of significance. Land, a professor at Andrews University, rounded up more than 15 academic contributors. They wax with much banality on how they "grew into a love and interest in baseball."  The entries are uneven and in need of editing.

With the Olympics upon us and all those commercials  - -  take a break and read:  "The Ancient Olympics" by Nigel Spivey (Oxford University Press, $28.00, 273 pages). It is a primer on what once was including  naked men working out at the gymnasium, rooms for bathing and socializing; and opportunities for sexual excitement.  . . .

From Taylor trade comes "Godzilla Takes the Bronx" by Jerry Beach ($24.95, 243 pages). This is an insightful and interesting look at the Yankee outfielder's first season in pinstripes. "Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Heard It on the Radio with the Boston Red Sox" by Joe Castiglione  with Douglas B. Lyons is a must read for fans of the sad sack Red Sox. The work is rich in anecdotes, as one would expect from a man who has spent so many decades behind the mike.


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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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