Sunday, April 5, 2015

Crazy '08 (Cait Murphy)

The material is fascinating, the research is good, and anyone who enjoys baseball history or, indeed, social history of this time period will benefit from reading Crazy '08. But - and it is a big but - Cait Murphy's writing style is amateurish, cutesy-casual, and faux-hip, amounting to a deeply misguided attempt to sound early 21st Century while describing the early 20th Century. It does not work.

As others have suggested, Murphy has not made her case that 1908 was the greatest baseball season ever. How great could it be with a blah World Series that she dismisses in a couple of sentences? The pennant races WERE great (although she gives short shrift to the American League as compared to the National), the human dramas were definitely compelling, and it would in no way diminish the choice of subject if the 1908 season were simply GREAT as opposed to the GREATEST. But that's the world of non-fiction marketing nowadays: Everything has to be a game-changer, everything has to be a turning point ("Cod, the fish that changed the world!"). It grows ridiculous.

Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History

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