Review by Choice Review

This volume enlarges and deepens the small but growing literature of serious baseball fiction criticism (e.g., Deeanne Westbrook's Ground Rules, CH, Jun'97) beyond traditional conceptions of what constitutes baseball literature (dark tones, violence, sex, and big-game and one-season plots). Morris believes baseball fiction is more complex, more profound, more about being human. He suggests that inflexible, habitually drawn discontinuities between adult and juvenile baseball fiction conceal uniting themes. Morris examines how baseball dramatizes assimilation of males at America's social margin into the American way of life; outlines how baseball emphasizes male acquisition of heterosexuality in intensely all-male environments; indicates that baseball is about language--how English builds team communities yet reveals a team's vulnerability to jargons, dialects, and other languages (especially Spanish); and demonstrates how meritocracy helped to end segregation in sport yet also reinforced cultural inequities in other sports and society. Strongly recommended for collections of literary criticism, sports literature, and sociology. Upper-division undergraduate and up. C. B. Darrell; Kentucky Wesleyan College

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