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    When I was six, my father gave me a bright-red scorebook that opened my heart to the game of
    baseball. After dinner on long summer nights, he would sit beside me in our small enclosed porch to
    hear my account of that day's Brooklyn Dodger game....By the time I had mastered the art of
    scorekeeping, a lasting bond had been forged among my father, baseball, and me.
        -Doris Kearns Goodwin

So begins Doris Kearns Goodwin's enchanting memoir of growing up in Rockville Centre, L.I. and the relationship she forged with her bank examiner father, Michael Francis Aloysius Kearns, through baseball. As she continues, she explains how this experience contributed to her becoming a historian, "Through my knowledge, I commanded my father's undivided attention, the sign of his love.  It would instill in me an early awareness of the power of narrative, which would introduce a lifetime of storytelling, fueled by the naive confidence that others would find me as entertaining as my father did."

Goodwin is, of course, best known for her hagiographies of Democrat Presidents & her frequent appearances on The Newshour, Imus and Hardball, but when Ken Burns tabbed her as a talking head for his Baseball series, she found that people at her talks were more interested in reminiscing about the Dodgers than in hearing about the Roosevelts. The result is Wait Till Next Year, wherein she has
interwoven her baseball memories with her recollections of growing up Catholic in post-War suburban America.

I especially liked several of her anecdotes:

(1) She tells about her first confession, where she tearfully confesses to
praying that Allie Reynolds, Robin Roberts and others will be injured, though
not seriously, just enough so they won't be able to play against the Dodgers

(2) After winning a St. Christopher's medal (blessed by the Pope) in a catechism
contest, she presents it to a slumping Gil Hodges, who accepts it reverently &
tells her how he had one just like it growing up but gave it to his coal miner
father to protect him.

At a time when each memoir is more sensational than the next, fueling a descending spiral of confessional aberrance, it was a real pleasure to read the story of a nice normal American upbringing in a loving family & one can't help but feel that we lost something valuable with the passing of the world she describes.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Doris Goodwin (2 books reviewed)
Sports (Baseball)
Women Authors
Doris Goodwin Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Doris Kearns Goodwin
-REVIEW: of An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Bill Lueders, The Bulwark)

Book-related and General Links:
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin Title: No Ordinary Time  Air date: January 1, 1995 (C-SPAN)
    -ARCHIVES : "doris kearns goodwin" (NY Review of Books)
    -REVIEW : of COMING OUT UNDER FIRE : The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two.  by Allan Berube (Doris Kearns Goodwin, NY times Book Review)
    -LECTURE : DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN Commencement address Dartmouth College June 14, 1998
    -Interview from Book Radio
    -INTERVIEW : Doris Kearns Goodwin discusses her new book about the Dodgers and her memories of baseball (Newshour, PBS)
    -INTERVIEW : with Doris Kearns Goodwin (AARP Bulletin, January 1998)
    -LINKS :    Doris Kearns Goodwin   (January 4, 1943 - ) (
    -PROFILE : Everybody Loves Doris : Doris Kearns Goodwin :  The sunny-side-up historian. (David Greenberg, Slate)
    -ESSAY : Historian won't let revisionists slur Honest Abe (Margery Eagan, Boston Herald)
    -REVIEW : of Wait Till Next Year A Memoir. By Doris Kearns Goodwin (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of Wait Till Next Year A Memoir. By Doris Kearns Goodwin (Ann Hulbert, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Wait til Next Year (Larry Schooler, Yale Review of Books)
    -REVIEW : of Wait till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Tom Faucett, CNN)
    -REVIEW : of No Ordinary Time Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II By Doris Kearns Goodwin (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of NO ORDINARY TIME Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. By Doris Kearns Goodwin (David M. Kennedy, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE FITZGERALDS AND THE KENNEDYS. By Doris Kearns Goodwin (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THE FITZGERALDS AND THE KENNEDYS By Doris Kearns Goodwin (Geoffrey C. Ward, NY Times Book Review)


    -Brooklyn Dodgers: The Boys of Summer

    -ARCHIVE : "brooklyn dodgers" (NY Review of Books)