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The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    A meticulously-researched and entertaining read!

    Reconstructing events from more than a half century ago with the skill of a great detective and the writing ability of a master storyteller, Mr. Prager makes you feel as though you're back at the Polo Grounds in 1951, when an electrician may well have been as instrumental in the Giants' miracle comeback as any player on the roster. Prager's thorough research sheds irrefutable new light on what had been rumored for decades. Along the way, he explores the different paths that brought Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson to that one October moment which would link them forever in baseball history. (You'll even learn of the connection between George Washington and the Polo Grounds!) This book will become the definitive history of that incredible 1951 NL pennant race. It is truly a "can't put it down" book for anyone interested in baseball history, the history of New York, or simply a study in human nature: of winning, losing,- and "how you play the game!"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    Devout Giant fan speaks out !

    As someone who, as a kid, saw the home run on a 10' television in New York and had the delight to be the first to tell his Dad that OUR Giants did something WONDERFUL, I had the opportunity to go back in time, to have a very fine writer reconstruct the sum and substance, to FEEL it again. No. It went beyond that... I had the opportunity to learn what was really happening and -in the process -understand that what I saw was much more than a benchmark baseball game. I appreciate Mr. Prager's writing for giving me the chance to realize that I was witnessing a human drama much deeper than a pitch and a hit ... after nearly 60 years I came to understand aspects of my perception that I don't think I've ever considered consciously before! Thank you Mr. Prager ! To fellow readers : this book IS special, do yourself a sizeable favor to read it soon !!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013


    Love it!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    a great father's day

    'The Echoing Green' belongs in that select company of sports books that capture a time and place that takes you back to when you were a kid. 'The Boys of Summer' being the first and 'The Perfect Mile' being the most recent until Josh Prager brought us this fine book. Those of us of a certain age know the main characters but Prager reminds us of other baseball figures ' such as Leo Durocher and Herman Franks' that played a part in this long held secret. You will marvel at the cast of characters that the author digs up to enliven and enrich the story. Did Bobby Thomson take an active part in cheating to help him tag Ralph Brance with that'loser' image he so wrongly was burdened with all these years? Read this excellent account of what happened and make up your own mind. You might be surprised to see how ambivalent you might be about that decision.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2007

    A Thorough, Informative, and Enjoyable Account of 'The Shot.'

    In 'The Echoing Green,' Josh Prager gives us a thoroughly-researched and well-documented account of one of baseball's most historic moments. He adds human faces and hearts to an event that is much more than names, dates, and statistics. Prager traces the lives of Ralph Branca, Bobby Thomson, and other involved parties until they reach a confluence on October 3, 1951. Baseball fans will already be well-versed in the climax, but there is much drama before we ever reach that date. The author also shows us how, for years to come, the 'shot' impacted the lives of Branca, Thomson, family members, players, and the game of baseball itself. I learned a great deal and had hours of reading pleasure. Prager has a gift, and I hope he gives us more baseball.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2007

    Baseball History Revisited

    Joshua Prager has written a book about one of the most talked about events in baseball history and although it happened almost 56 years ago this book reveals the pathos of the pennant series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and their hated rivals, the New York Giants,the strange array of characters who conspired to steal signals from the Dodgers in that final game that caused the Dodgers the pennant in 1951. The lives of Bobby Thomson, who hit the home run and Ralph Branca, the pitcher who gave up the home run, would never be the same again. The home run, which has been dubbed 'The Shot Heard Round The World', would become the most talked about and most remembered event in baseball history. Joshua Prager, devoting six years of research to this episode, has written one of the greatest books that deals with sports history and insights into a ballplayer's travails and psyche.This book is a must in any baseball library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    Prager's Work Swept Me Away

    History, whether sport or politics or warfare is made by the daily actions and attentions of ordinary people who are swept into our attention for their moment in the limelight and pass on to quiet anonymity. Prager's book is 'The Greatest Generation' of baseball. Ordinary men - and a few resilient women - in the limelight once, act out the history of the game, and then remember their combat - forever. Is there great value to Prager's new and obsessively researched detailing of that long-past day, the forces that spawned it and its lifelong impact on the participants? Absolutely! I inhaled it. I was devastated on 10/3/51 when Bobby Thomson's home run sent all of Brooklyn into mourning. And I attended one of the earlier games Ralph Branca pitched that Prager accurately describes in this book. But what I found there was not the accumulation of numbers nor the unusual sentence structure but the great stories of ordinary - and some very extraordinary - men reminding us that life at its best is that steady search for doing the next right thing. Thomson and Branca's lifetime of almost brotherly love and conflict echo a relationship that Prager may not recognize. These two men have the same bond that combat soldiers have: complex and loyal. I have a friend, a tank commander from the Battle of the Bulge, just a year older than Thomson. He will journey anywhere in the world to attend the funeral of a comrade. Mark this. Branca or Thomson will die. And the other one will be in the front row of the service. All as result of a pitch and a hit in 1951.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    A Great Book About a Great Moment in Time

    Joshua Prager's The Echoing Green delves into fascinating detail as this talented young author recreates the years, days, minutes and seconds leading up to the epochal home run hit by Bobby Thomson to give the underdog New York Giants the 1951 National League pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers. At midpoint in the season, the Dodgers- the 'Boys of Summer' led by Robinson, Reese, Campanella and Snider - held a giant-sized, if you will, lead in the pennant race, only to see that lead ebb in the final weeks of the campaign. The Giants, helped by strong pitching and the fiery leadership of manager Leo Durocher, put together a comeback that, as rumor had it for many years, was assisted in no small part by some advanced sign-stealing. Did Thomson know that Ralph Branca, the woebegone Dodger pitcher who came into the final playoff game in relief, was going to throw a fastball? Prager tells us more than any one writer has, in an easy-to-read style packed with fascinating facts, pertinent parallels and on-hand observations. The actual description of the 'shot heard 'round the baseball world' serves as a fulcrum as Prager weaves the words of dozens of witnesses into an engrossing tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2007

    October 3, 1951- a day of infamy and a day of joy

    This is a sports epic which is far more then 'the shot heard 'round the world', even though the combatants, Bobby Thomson and Ralph Branca are the crux and the glue of the story. Mr. Prager spent the better part of five years of superb research in gathering information for his book. He deserves high marks in terms of empirical data and interviews with people both inside and outside of baseball. Those who were alive on October 3, 1951 and who were baseball fans, have forever ranked that day of joy and infamy along with November 22, 1963, December 7, 1941 and April 12, 1945 as unforgettable. The essence of the story, in this reviewers opinion, is about honesty and hoped for justice. 55+ years have come and gone since Thomson hit the home run to become an instant hero and Ralph Branca was unfairly branded as a goat.Since its inception in the days of Abner Doubleday, there have been many documented instances in major league baseball games, where dishonesty has gone unpunished. In this single incident, the 1951 National League pennant (the prize) was awarded unfairly to the wrong team.Much has been written and discussed about whether Thomson knew or did not know that Branca would throw a fastball on the 0-1 count. I believe it doesn't matter because Thomson still had to hit the ball. But what about the methodical use of a telescope and an electrical signal, followed by a hand signal to the batter from the Giant bullpen...........manifold times over the course of New York Giant home games between mid-August and the end of the 1951 season ? That is 'THE ISSUE'. Because any individual instance where cheating in this fashion resulted in a favorable outcome for the Giants and became a methodical building block which culminated in Thomson's home run. There are those who will say that the Giants cheating broke no law. But the ostensible 'moral code' was broken. And Prager's presentation of both fact and informed opinion from a multitude of sources, makes for a compelling story. I highly recommend this book to all who know and love the game of baseball and its history as our national pastime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    More than Just 'The Shot Heard Round the World!'

    When I heard about a new book about the '51 baseball season I initially felt no need to read another recollection of Bobby Thomson's magical blast but I was totally overwhelmed by the in-depth study of not just the home run that will live forever but the beautiful story of the lives of all the 'players' involved in that historic event. Joshua Prager has written a masterpiece for not just baseball lovers but for all sports fans who appreciate exquisitely detailed prose. Prager exposes the great Giant plot to steal the signs of their opponents from mid-season on through October 3, 1951 and in doing so, delves into the lives of the many characters involved and that lends to hours of reading enjoyment! This book is a classic (I felt I was back in the 1940's and '50's) and deserves to be ranked with Roger Kahn's 'Boys of Summer' and David Halberstam's 'Summer of '49' and 'October 1964.' Read it and become immersed in a literary gem!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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