Summer of Shadows: A Murder, A Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation

Summer of Shadows: A Murder, A Pennant Race, and the Twilight of the Best Location in the Nation

by Jonathan Knight
     
 

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Summer of Shadows is an intertwining narrative that tells the story of the 1954 Cleveland Indians (which would etch itself in history as one of the greatest baseball teams in MLB history) and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard in their home along the shore of Lake Erie—which held both the city and the nation spellbound that summer. Both of

Overview

Summer of Shadows is an intertwining narrative that tells the story of the 1954 Cleveland Indians (which would etch itself in history as one of the greatest baseball teams in MLB history) and the infamous murder of the wife of Dr. Sam Sheppard in their home along the shore of Lake Erie—which held both the city and the nation spellbound that summer. Both of these generation-defining stories take place in the final days of the “Best Location in the Nation,” the nickname for the Cleveland of the 1950s, which truly was one of the great and most influential cities in America.

The Sheppard case would influence the television series The Fugitive a decade later and give Cleveland’s reputation a black eye following the shoddy and unethical behavior of the city’s police department and news media, which led to the conviction of an innocent man. Meanwhile, the 1954 Indians would post the greatest season in American League history and dethrone the five-time-champion New York Yankees in a dramatic pennant race, culminating in a September doubleheader before 86,000 fans at Cleveland Stadium. The powerful Indians would then be swept by Willie Mays and the New York Giants in the World Series.
These two parallel tragedies harbinger an onslaught of adversity that dragged Cleveland from its lofty standing as a leading American city to one with a bleak—even comic—reputation.

Summer of Shadows is essentially a postcard from that gilded age, when the city enjoyed its own golden October, not knowing that decades of dismal, bitter winter lay ahead.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Knight describes the on-and-off-field pennant race and Series action with breathless excitement that will thrill readers more than half-century later..."
--Akron Beacon Journal

"Jonathan Knight has hammered a grand slam of a book in his account of the American League Champion Cleveland Indians, the Sam Sheppard trial, the City of Cleveland and our country in 1954. If you love the Tribe, Cleveland and history, this is a must-read."
--Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"As a Clevelander born and bred, and an autumn child of the star-crossed year of 1954, I emerged into the world just as the events described in Summer of Shadows were unfolding. An admirably researched and readable work, author Jonathan Knight has packed his book full of surprising revelations from the worlds of sports, media, and law enforcement. Readers are treated to a compelling chronicle that seamlessly intertwines Al Rosen's inspired performance in the All-Star game--played in front of hometown Tribe fans--to Larry Doby's trailblazing heroics to the horrific murder of Marilyn Sheppard to the Cleveland Press's Javert-like editor, Louis B. Seltzer, who never relented in his zeal to see Dr. Sam Sheppard punished for the crime. "Trial of the Century" is now a hackneyed term, but surely Seltzer broke the mold when he editorialized week after week against the doctor on his own front pages, elevating the poisoning of the jury pool to a refined art. If you've ever enjoyed watching David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble in "The Fugitive" get yourself a copy of Summer of Shadows, a book I will keep on my shelf along with such classics as David Halberstam's Summer of '49 and Eliot Asinof's Eight Men Out."
--Philip Turner, co-founder Undercover Books, Cleveland Bookstore Chain, and publisher of Philip Turner Books

"I grew up in Cleveland, the west side, and if there is one thing I know about my home it is that the people there feed on love of misery, of near misses and tragedy. Summer of Shadows captures those moments in time that last forever in our collective imagination and reminds us that this often maligned town was once one of America's greatest. Captivating, engaging. You won't put it down."
--Craig J. Heimbuch, author Chasing Oliver Hazard Perry

"Knight’s Summer of Shadows gives us plenty of bright summer
and then patiently and respectfully shows us that the shadows
were there all along. He’s not a naysayer or a spoilsport. After all,
he’s just as much an optimistic Ohioan as the rest of us." --James Gorman review in Ohioana Quarterly Summer/Fall 2012

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781578604685
Publisher:
Clerisy Press
Publication date:
12/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
472
File size:
7 MB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Jonathan Knight has published six books on Cleveland sports history through Kent State University Press, most recently Classic Tribe: The 50 Greatest Games in Cleveland Indians History. He worked for seven years as a sportswriter in Columbus, Ohio, and currently manages communications at Franklin University.

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