Base­ball dur­ing the Great War

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Jim Leeke, Univer­sity of Ne­braska Press, Hard­cover $32.95 (272pp), 978-0-8032-9072-3

Ma­jor League Base­ball has gone to war with it­self—the Black Sox gam­bling scan­dal, col­lec­tive-bar­gain­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions in the late 1960s, steroid use— and also against Ger­many and Aus­tria-hungary dur­ing World War I when more than 1,250 play­ers, team own­ers, and sportswrit­ers en­listed. The his­tory of those tu­mul­tuous nine­teen months is fur­ther en­livened by the hero­ism of cer­tain play­ers from the Ne­gro Leagues (barred from the MLB), the patriotic news cov­er­age of no­table play­ers over­seas, and the ma­jor­league tal­ent that stud­ded the army, navy, and marine teams. To be sure, the Great War has been writ­ten about ex­ten­sively, but this project takes a hang­ing curve­ball and knocks it out of the park.

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