Down to the Last Pitch -- How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves Gave Us The Best World Series Of All Time by Tim Wendel, DaCapo '14, $25.99, 271 pages, ASIN #0306822768. Index, selected bibliography, notes, two appendices, grouping of b&w glossy images.
The 2013 "worst to first" campaign by the Boston Red Sox to win its third World Series in a decade will go down in baseball annals as one of the best comebacks ever. But trying to be objective (and for this Sox fan, it ain't easy), it's not easy to rebut Tim Wendel's assertion in his newest book that the 1991 season finale between the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves was the "Best World Series of All Time."
Why, you ask? Well, consider that both teams -- not just one -- had been cellar-dwellers the previous season. And as for the series itself....well let the author tell it:
"Five of the seven games were decided by a single run; four games, by the last at bat. It was also the first time in World Series history that three games went into extra innings. But this series' greatness lies deeper than the statistics; it was a series in which both teams took risks, followed their guts, and played, from beginning to end, with integrity and heart."
But another thing, argues Wendel, should mark 1991's as a pivotal Series in Major League baseball: "Baseball was in flux in 1991 due to corporate team ownership and its 'moneyball' mentality, fantasy leagues, and brand new retro ballparks." In total, these factors support Wendel's notion that the 1991 World Series was "the last fine time in Baseball."
Tim Wendel, a founding editor of USA Today Baseball Weekly, has written 10 previous books, including Summer of '68. Now living in Virginia, he is writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University.
Desire and the Divine -- Feminine Identity in White Southern Women's Writing by Kathaleen E. Amende, Louisiana State University Press '13, $35, 184 pages, ASIN # 080715038X..
From the dust jacket:
"In this groundbreaking study, Kathaleen E. Amende explores the works and lives of late 20th century Southern women writers to show how conservative Christian ideals of femininity shaped notions of religion, sexuality, and power in the South. Drawing from the work of authors such as Rosemary Daniell and Connie May Fowler, whose characters -- like the authors themselves -- grow up believing that Jesus should be a girl's first 'boyfriend.' Amende demonstrates many ways in which these writers commingled the sexual and the sacred.
"Amende also looks at the writings of Lee Smith, Sheri Reynolds, Dorothy Allison, and Valerie Martin to discuss how Southern women authors and their characters grappled with opposion cultural expectations. Often in their work, characters mingle spiritual devotion and carnal love, allowing for salvation despite rejecting traditional roles or behaviors.
Author Kathaleen Amende, an associate professor of English at Alabama State University, teaches American, southern, and African American literature.
Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South, Edited by Jason Phillips, Louisiana State University Press '14, $48, 226 pages, ASIN #0807150347. Contributors, notes follow each essay..
In his new book, editor Jason Phillips has gathered together essays by ten historians and literary scholars to "explore the enduring dynamic between history, literature, and power in the American South. The essay titles hint at the content of Phillips' work. Here are a few:
"Rewriting American Borders: The Southern Gothic, Religion, and U.S. Historical Narrative by Farrell O'Gorman; Poison Stories: A Rereading of Revolutionary Virginia's Baptist 'Revolt' by Jewel Spangler; Abjection and White Trash Autobiography by David A. Davis; Her Life, My Past: Rosina Downs and the Proliferation of Racial Categories after the American Civil War by Jim Downs; and The Professional Southerner and the 21st Century by Robert Jackson."
Editor Jason Phillips, an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University, is the author of Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility.