Tuesday, January 12, 2010

’78-The Boston Red Sox, a Historic Game, and a Divided City By: Bill Reynolds

In 1978 Boston was witness to two struggles. The Red Sox were
struggling to prevent an epic collapse that would see them lose the American League pennant. The City of Boston was struggling with a school bussing conflict that was tearing at the heart of the city. In the fall of ’78, the two struggles overlapped. With the bussing crisis around them, the Red Sox met the Yankees in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park to decide the division. This book explores both struggles, and their impact on each other.

This book is really two books in one. It’s a baseball book, and a social studies book. The author tries his best to tie the two together. The fact that he falls short in this quest doesn’t detract much from the book itself. The sports book chronicles the 163rd game of the 1978 season, between the Yankees and the Red Sox. I doubt I need to remind anyone reading this how that game turned out. The style follows a common format for a book exploring a single game. As the game progresses, the players are discussed as they contribute to the play. Background on the players is seamlessly inserted to make the flow of the game seem like a running biography. The social studies book covers the bussing crisis facing Boston schools in the late seventies, and the politics behind it. I am a bit too young to remember these events, so that part of the book was quite interesting to me. The author tries to say that the game was a salvation for the battered city. The implication was that all the protesters put down their signs so that the entire city could watch the game in harmony. It doesn’t actually get to that point, but it’s ok. The book is a great read, and a wonderful way to tell a story. There are only so many ways to talk about a baseball game, so this fresh approach is much appreciated.

Rating: 3 bases

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