The Celebrant: A Novel

( 4 )

Overview


The first two decades of the twentieth century were a time of promise and innocence in America. Hardworking immigrants could achieve the American dream; heroes were truly heroic. Eric Rolfe Greenberg brilliantly and authentically chronicles the real-life saga of the first national baseball hero, Christy Mathewson, and the fictional story of a Jewish immigrant family of jewelers. In these pages Mathewson and other great players like John McGraw, Honus Wagner, and Connie Mack discover the realities behind the ...
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The Celebrant: A Novel

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Overview


The first two decades of the twentieth century were a time of promise and innocence in America. Hardworking immigrants could achieve the American dream; heroes were truly heroic. Eric Rolfe Greenberg brilliantly and authentically chronicles the real-life saga of the first national baseball hero, Christy Mathewson, and the fictional story of a Jewish immigrant family of jewelers. In these pages Mathewson and other great players like John McGraw, Honus Wagner, and Connie Mack discover the realities behind the shining illusions: the burdens of being a hero and the temptations that taint success.
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Editorial Reviews

Sports Illustrated

"An oft-overlooked novel that blends fact and fiction to create a charming turn-of-the-century tale about the intertwined lives of New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson and the family of a young Jewish immigrant who makes his World Series rings."—Sports Illustrated
Booklist

"The reconstructed accounts of Mathewson's most famous games reflect painstaking research and a colorful imagination."—Booklist
Kansas City Star

"Greenberg splendidly evokes the essence of turn-of-the-century America by deftly mixing fact and fiction in the tradition of Ragtime."—Kansas City Star
People

"A captivating novel."—People
Elysian Fields Quarterly Review

"Greenberg recreates the famous events of the era, from the Merkle saga to the Black Sox scandal, in enchanting detail. If this isn't the best baseball novel ever written, it's definitely in the top five. A real treasure!"—Elysian Fields Quarterly Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803270374
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,163,968
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2011

    The best baseball novel ever written?

    Ask a reading baseball fan about the best baseball novel ever written, and you might get back 'Screwballs' by Jay Conley or 'Changing Pitches' by Steve Kluger. Most fans like their sports fiction funny and topical. Or you might hear 'Shoeless Joe' by WP Kinsella, or the 'The Natural' by Bernard Malamud. Both those novels were made into very watchable "serious" films with handsome, charismatic leading men.
    And those fans might be right.
    But the best baseball novel ever written is 'The Celebrant', by Eric Rolfe Greenberg, a writer who never published another novel. This is a fascinating, compelling, innovative, and ultimately heartbreaking depiction of the dead-ball era and the urban culture that both worshipped and despoiled it. Written with amazing intelligence, perception, imagination, and attention to historical detail, the "celebrant" in the story is Jackie Kapinski, a young New York City jeweler's apprentice for whom Christy Mathewson represents the highest attainment of sporting greatness and integrity. Kapinski celebrates Matty's heroics on the diamond with custom-made gemstone rings, each designed to reflect individual acts of achievement (like the 3 shutout games of the 1905 World Series). Kapinski is there for the best and worst of Matty's career and with it, the best and worst of professional baseball. Along the novel's path the reader is treated to uncannily realistic evocations of John McGraw, Hal Chase, Ban Johnson, and other famous sporting legends of the old era, as well as the scent and flavor of early 20th-century urban life.

    If you would list 'The Glory of Their Times' by Lawrence Ritter as the greatest non-fiction baseball book ever written (and many do), the very next book you read should be 'The Celebrant'.

    Oh, and by the way: the book would make a fabulous film.

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    Posted April 19, 2009

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    Posted August 4, 2009

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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