The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers

Michael Leahy. Harper, $26.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-06-236056-4
Leahy, a writer for the Washington Post and the Washington Post Magazine, exhaustively profiles seven Dodgers (both black and white) to frame his gripping narrative of America’s growing pains and its favorite pastime. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ sun-kissed rise as a baseball power in the 1960s—the team won the World Series in 1963 and 1965—coincided with a swirl of social issues. Racism was virulent, in spite of the burgeoning civil rights movement. Meanwhile, Dodgers management was stingy with its non-unionized roster. Maury Wills had to beg for a raise, even though his prowess at stealing bases—a pursuit that left him a permanent welt—revolutionized the sport. Other players examined by Leahy include talented first baseman Wes Parker, who remained emotionally scarred from a terrible childhood; the unforgettable and unflappable pitcher Sandy Koufax, who eventually suffered from an arthritic left elbow; and journeyman outfielder Lou Johnson, a black man who refused to play the role that white America demanded. By using their personal experiences to tell the story of an oft-recounted era of American history, Leahy’s book packs an unanticipated jolt of humanness. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Compact Disc - 978-1-5414-0103-7
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