Baseball Lit: The Best Writing on Our National Game
Baseball is America’s “writer’s game.” No sport has a more powerful hold on our literary imagination, and none has produced more great literature. In this course we will learn how the best writing on our National Pastime has given substance to the scholar Jacques Barzun’s famous remark that “whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.” Books we will read and discuss include The Glory of Their Times, The Boys of Summer, and Eight Men Out, along with the work of John Updike, Red Smith, and Vin Scully.
Required Readings: The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2010. ISBN: 0061994715
The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. ISBN: 0060883960
Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof. Holt Paperbacks, 2000. ISBN: 0805065377
Jerald Podair is Robert S. French Professor of American Studies and professor of history at Lawrence University. He is the author of the recently published City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles, the story of how the heated battle over the construction of America’s first modern ballpark between 1957 and 1962 helped create the Los Angeles we know today. The author or co-author of five books and a fellow of the New York Academy of History, he has been honored by the Society of American Historians for “literary distinction in the writing of history” and by Lawrence University with its Award for Excellence in Scholarship.