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Baseball and American SocietyCharles DeMotte

Baseball and American Society

How a Game Reflects the American Experience (First Edition)
Charles DeMotte

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62131-579-7, 206 pages


Concisely written and profusely illustrated, Baseball & American Society will enable students to learn (or relearn) the essentials of American history while simultaneously discovering the story of the development of the great American pastime. DeMotte ably explains how the twists and turns of sports history match those of American society in general. It’s a fascinating story! — Stephen Halebsky, professor of sociology, SUNY Cortland

I have recently read Baseball and American Society by Charles DeMotte and was greatly impressed by the scope of its sweep of American history, condensed into a succinct and understandable style, as well as its relationship to the transformation of the game of baseball during that sweep of history. DeMotte devotes more attention to the encapsulation of American history and how the shifts in American cultural history are carried over into the game of baseball than to a collation of “trading card” facts and statistics.— John Sheehan, adjunct professor of Sociology at SUNY Cortland

This text is a unique and refreshing look at both the historical and contemporary relevance of baseball as a sport, source of commerce, and reflection of American idealism and identity. While I had previously perceived baseball as ‘just a game,’ DeMotte has significantly raised my awareness of the wider sociological impact of baseball in the U.S. and abroad by addressing its role in American history; issues such as racism, classism, and gender; as well as American and global politics.—Sally Dear-Healey, Ph.D., visiting professor of Sociology at SUNY Cortland

Fresh and innovative, the anthology Baseball and American Society: How a Game Reflects the American Experience takes the great American pastime and uses it as a lens through which to view history and society.

The book is a critical examination of American society, primarily from the Civil War to the present. The first part of the text is devoted to historical background, with thematic chapters surveying key trends and events. The second part focuses specifically on major events and trends in the evolution of baseball.

Political themes and social issues such as racism and the development of American capitalism are placed in the context of history. Specific topics include excess and celebrity in the 1920s, American capitalism and the rise of organized baseball, imperialism and World War I, and challenges and expansion in post-war America.

The book provides a wealth of background information for courses on American society, as well as those that investigate the impact of sport in society. Baseball and American Society can be used in courses on history, sports media, and issues in American sport.

Charles DeMotte holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Kansas. He is a professor at the State University of New York at Cortland, where he teaches courses in modern western civilization and American society. He has been giving conference presentations and writing about history and baseball for a number of years, often linking the sport he loves with his chosen field of study in order to shed light on culture and society. Dr. DeMotte is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He lives near Ithaca, NY.