Jim Bouton’s Ball Four is one of the most famous books about baseball. Given my love of baseball and reading, it’s hard for me to believe I didn’t read it until now. Now that I have read Ball Four, I can see why it has been so popular for so long.
Dan Barry’s The Bottom of the 33rd tells the story of a 33-inning game played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. As a fan of baseball, I have been interested in this game since first hearing about it as a child. I would love to hear the recording of the radio broadcast of this game. It must have been a truly amazing event.
Robert Peterson’s Only the Ball was White is a must read for anyone interested in baseball and the negro leagues.
Benjamin Carter Hett’s The Nazi Menace: Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and the road to war paints interesting pictures of what was happening in all four nations in the years leading ups to World War II.
A Game as Old as Empire builds on Confessions of an Economic Hitman. Edited by Stephen Hiatt, A Game as Old as Empire is a collection of essays by people who are confessing their participation in the abuse of people around the world committed by governments and corporations working together.
Over a decade old, some of the data presented in A Game as Old as Empire is no longer accurate. Some of the programs described have been changed or deleted. But the book is a critical contribution to our understanding of the ways governments, especially the United States, abuse and exploit people at the behest of multinational corporations.
Benjamin Carter Hett’s The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic isn’t the first book I have read trying to explain how Hitler came to power, but it’s the best. Reading it as too many Americans pretend that Biden’s victory saved American democracy was particularly sobering.
Jack Kelly’s The Edge of Anarchy: the Railroad Barons, the Gilded Age, and the Greatest Labor Uprising in America tell the story of the Pullman strike of 1894. This is another of those books that shows exactly how little progress has been made in America over the last 127 years. Reading it in the context of the wealth gap increasing during a pandemic also struck a cord. Still,Kelly did a great job telling a critical story.
If you like history and/or you want to learn more about the real America, The Edge of Anarchy will not disappoint. It will upset you though.
Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the best book I have read about American history. While it’s not perfect, I love the way Zinn acknowledges his own biases and attempts to explain a much accurate version of American history than is almost ever shared.
Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia is reported to describe the rise and fall of Henry Ford’s Brazilian rubber plantation. In reality, Fordlandia is another striking example of the destruction and exploitation brought by capitalism.
Thomas Frank’s The People No: A Brief History of Anti-Populism was an easy, entertaining read.