Monday, April 18, 2016
Review of The Game Must Go On by John Klima (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015)
John Klima tells the story of baseball in the war years, focusing in particular on the stories of Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, Billy Southworth Sn and Jnr, and Bob Feller, with a wide supporting cast of those that went to war and those that stayed in or joined the game. As well as detail the story of the game at home, he also details the experiences of the players serving in the army and navy both in the states and on the battlefield. The result is an engaging tale of personal trials and an enterprise under pressure. Klima tells the wider story by weaving together a set of intersecting narratives concerning individuals, teams and the business of baseball as they unfold between 1941-1945. The result is a wealth of information and an interesting tapestry of stories. However, the text suffers from a fair amount of jumping between different themes and individual/institutional tales, as well as too much repetition, and would have benefitted from a serious edit. Nonetheless, The Game Must Go On is a fascinating and accessible read about a turbulent period in baseball history that reshaped the post-war game.