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The Devil's Snake Curve: A Fan's Notes from Left Fieldby Josh Ostergaard
Synopses & Reviews
The Devil's Snake Curve offers an alternative American history, in which colonialism, jingoism, capitalism, and faith are represented by baseball. Personal and political, it twines Japanese internment camps with the Yankees; Walmart with the Kansas City Royals; and facial hair patterns with militarism, Guantanamo, and the modern security state. An essay, a miscellany, and a passionate unsettling of Josh Ostergaard's relationship with our national pastime, it allows for both the clover of a childhood outfield and the persistence of the game's service to those in power. America and baseball are both hard to love or leave in this by turns coruscating and heartfelt debut.
Josh Ostergaard holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and an MA in cultural anthropology. He has been an urban anthropologist at the Field Museum and now works at Graywolf Press.
"In his highly entertaining and always enlightening 'subjective retelling of the sport's history,' Ostergaard takes a nonlinear approach to discussing the cultural importance of baseball, successfully combining historical and personal anecdotes, statistical facts, and famous myths and legends. His goal is to show 'the ways in which baseball has been represented in the U.S., and how these representations can be understood in the context of American history.' He moves easily from the relationship between baseball and political thinking shared during the early 1960s by fierce enemies Fidel Castro and Allen Dulles, to the ways baseball managers and owners attempted to enforce rules about hair length and mustaches at the same time that those rules were being rejected in American culture in general. One of the most provocative sections details the eerie symmetry between Clark Griffith, whose Washington Senators had been 'squashed' by the New York Yankees for 17 straight seasons, and Hemingway's character Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea, whose words and actions Ostergaard convincingly argues are subtle commentaries about the baseball postseason and the World Series. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A humorous, historical, and hirsute miscellany that's the baseball book Howard Zinn would have written, if he hated the Yankees.
About the Author
Josh Ostergaard: Josh Ostergaard holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and an MA in cultural anthropology. He has been an urban anthropologist at the Field Museum and now works at Graywolf Press.
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