The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White Houseby Curt Smith Published 01 Jun 2018
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|Publisher||University of Nebraska Press|
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The Presidents and the Pastime draws on Curt Smith’s extensive background as a former White House presidential speechwriter to chronicle the historic relationship between baseball, the “most American” sport, and the U.S. presidency.
Smith, who USA TODAY calls “America’s voice of authority on baseball broadcasting,” starts before America’s birth, when would‑be presidents played baseball antecedents. He charts how baseball cemented its reputation as America’s pastime in the nineteenth century, such presidents as Lincoln and Johnson playing town ball or giving employees time off to watch. Smith tracks every U.S. president from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump, each chapter filled with anecdotes: Wilson buoyed by baseball after suffering disability; a heroic FDR saving baseball in World War II; Carter, taught the game by his mother, Lillian; Reagan, airing baseball on radio that he never saw—by “re-creation.”
George H. W. Bush, for whom Smith wrote, explains, “Baseball has everything.” Smith, having interviewed a majority of presidents since Richard Nixon, shares personal stories on each. Throughout, The Presidents and the Pastime provides a riveting narrative of how America’s leaders have treated baseball. From Taft as the first president to throw the “first pitch” on Opening Day in 1910 to Obama’s “Go Sox!” scrawled in the guest register at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, our presidents have deemed it the quintessentially American sport, enriching both their office and the nation.
"The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House" Reviews
Awesome book! It was interesting to read about how important baseball was to the Presidents, despite political affiliation. This book reinforced the idea that baseball is America’s pastime!
I received a free Kindle copy of The Presidents and the Pastime by Curt Smith courtesy of Net Galley and University of Nebraska Press, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.
I requested this book as I am a fan of baseball and american history and the description made this book sound interesting. This is the first book by Curt Smith that I have read.
I had high hopes for this book, but the author's writing style and tendency, particularly in the latter chapters where the reader is more familiar with the subject, to drone on made this a less enjoyable read than it could have been. The book covers the span of Presidents from Lincoln to Trump and does reveal some new information, but most of it is well known to hard core baseball fans.
I suggest that if you decide to read this book that you take it in small doses over a period of time as it can get mind numbing if one tries to read it in a brief period of time.
Curt Smith can sure write baseball!! Wonderfully written. the history of the game is clearly outlined through the presidents. Not just a history lesson in baseball but also in American presidential history.
A near perfect blend of the history of baseball and the White House.
A very good (but long) book about US Presidents and baseball. It was as a great read with lots of great information on how the two live up to each other.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Are you interested in the Office of the President in the United States? Are you interested in the sport of baseball? If you answered yes to both of these questions, or even just one of them, then this book is for you. From stories you probably know like the first presidential first pitch and George W. Bush's first pitch in a post 9/11 United states, to the lesser known disdain Teddy Roosevelt had for baseball, you will learn quite a bit about how MLB and the president have interacted throughout time.