Shoeless Joe

Shoeless Joe


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Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

More than the inspiration for the beloved film Field of Dreams, Shoeless Joe is a mythical novel about “dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

“If you build it, he will come.” These mysterious words, spoken by an Iowa baseball announcer, inspire Ray Kinsella to carve a baseball diamond in his cornfield in honor of his hero, the baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. What follows is both a rich, nostalgic look at one of our most cherished national pastimes and a remarkable story about fathers and sons, love and family, and the inimitable joy of finding your way home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780395957738
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/28/1999
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 59,320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.74(d)
Lexile: 1020L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

W. P. Kinsella (1935-2016) was the author of numerous works of fiction, including the best-selling Shoeless Joe, for which he won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, and eleven highly acclaimed short story collections.

Date of Birth:

May 25, 1935

Date of Death:

September 16, 2016

Place of Birth:

Edmonton, Alberta


University of Victoria

Table of Contents

I.Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa1
II.They Tore Down the Polo Grounds in 196421
III.The Life and Times of Moonlight Graham103
IV.The Oldest Living Chicago Cub155
V.The Rapture of J. D. Salinger257

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"W. P. Kinsella plays with both myth and fantasy in his lyrical novel, which was adapted into the enormously popular movie, 'Field of Dreams.' It begins with the magic of a godlike voice in a cornfield, and ends with the magic of a son playing catch with the ghost of his father. In Kinsella's hands, it's all about as simple, and complex, as the object of baseball itself: coming home. Like Ring Lardner and Bernard Malamud before him, Kinsella spins baseball as backdrop and metaphor, and, like his predecessors, uses the game to tell us a little something more about who we are and what we need."

Customer Reviews

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Shoeless Joe 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella, is a very well written novel. It is very easy to read, and people of many different ages will enjoy it. It is a story about baseball, which is America`s pastime, so many people should like it. Shoeless Joe discussed a lot of history about baseball, but it also talks about a man fulfilling his dream, and how hard he has to work to do so. It also has a lot of suspense and makes for an exciting read. The story line of the book is heavily influenced on baseball and it would be easier to read with some knowledge of the game. However, many different kinds of people can enjoy this book. Ray Kinsella is a baseball fan who really likes the history of the game. Readers who are also baseball fans, especially those that like reading about some of the history of the game, like the 1919 Chicago White Sox scandal, will like Shoeless Joe. Another reason it is a great book is because the story is about a man fulfilling his dreams. Ray Kinsella has dreams about building a baseball field and having Shoeless Joe Jackson play on it. He must go through a lot of difficult tasks if he is going to achieve them. One difficult thing he had to do was to go find an author in Vermont that he had never met. Ray Kinsella never gives up trying to accomplish his goals, no matter how difficult the task is. That adds to the excitement of the book. Readers who like books that are about people who have goals and dreams and want to follow them will love Shoeless Joe. The author¿s style also adds to the excitement of the book. The voices that Ray Kinsella hears tell him that he must do several things after he has built his baseball field, including finding a doctor. These things don¿t make a lot of sense to Ray, or to the reader. This causes good suspense in the book, and the author does a nice job of showing how all these things come together to achieve an important event in the book. Readers who like a well-written book with suspense should try Shoeless Joe. Shoeless Joe is a book that has a lot of emotion, humor and drama. That is why it deserves five stars out of five. It is a good story about baseball, and discusses an important event in the history of the game . It is a good story about fulfilling one¿s dreams, and is very well written. It is definitely an exceptional book, and is highly recommended. A reader who wants an excellent book to read, should consider reading Shoeless Joe .
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book may not be a great, fluid piece of fiction, but it spoke to me on many levels. There are sections within the pages that reflect eloquently on baseball and what it means to most young men in America - words that I've read and re-read because they succinctly express my feelings for the game. As most of the other reviewers have mentioned, this book is more likely to touch those who have spent their youthful summers between the lines; however, I believe it also has value as a tool for those seeking to understand why baseball has been given such importance in the United States as the national pastime. Unlike most of the other reviewers, I highly recommend this book. (By the way, although Costner DID do the book justice in 'Field of Dreams', there are still details and additional depth to the characters that I feel are only found within the pages of the book.)
Bicycleguy More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book. The author really knew his baseball history. The only thing I didn't like was the negative way that he portrayed Christians; not all of us are prudes like the characters he uses in the novel. I now want to see "Field of Dreams" again. It's been years since I saw the movie, and I'd like to compare the book to the movie. I do remember that the movie had to use a fictional author and not J.D. Salinger as one of the characters because the real Salinger (who just passed away last year, by the way) threatened to sue if his likeness was used in the movie.
MatthewKarns17815 More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully evocative book of a time now past, a time when baseball was a game, not a business, and something to be treasured for everything it contained, to paraphrase a character in the book who says, "baseball is all that is good and can be again." A great mid summer read as you listen to the crack of the bat on a warm evening on your radio. Some passages will bring a tear to your eye.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shoeless Joe is one of the best, if not the best, baseball book ever written. The author, W. P. Kinsella, uses many plot twists and will always keep you guessing as to what will happen next. Kinsella¿s way of writing is also very descriptive. W. P. Kinsella is a very descriptive writer and chooses his words wisely. One example of this is when Ray Kinsella, the main character, sees Shoeless Joe for the first time in his baseball field. W.P. Kinsella writes, ¿His [Shoeless Joe¿s] feet spread wide, body bent forward from the waist, hands on hips, he waits.¿ (13). Another scene is when W. P. Kinsella is describing Annie: ¿One night I watch Annie looking out the window. She is soft as a butterfly, Annie is, with an evil grin and a tongue that travels at the speed of light. Her jeans are painted to her body, and¿¿ (11) Shoeless Joe is also a creative story because of all the twists in the book. W. P. Kinsella has a different theme in each one of his chapters. Each theme is introduced by a mysterious ballpark announcer, who speaks to Ray. In the first chapter, after the ballpark announcer says ¿If you build it, he will come¿ (3), Ray builds a baseball field in his cornfield for Shoeless Joe and all of the other players that have gotten thrown out of baseball after being accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. The announcer talked to Ray again and he told him to ¿Ease his pain.¿ (31). Ray translates this into meaning that he has to take J.D. Salinger out to a baseball game. In the third chapter, the announcer talks again and says ¿Go the distance¿ (93). So Ray and Salinger go to Minnesota to find all they can about a former baseball player named Archibald Graham. After they do that, they head back to Ray¿s home in Iowa. Ray then has to find a way to pay off his mortgage on his farm. Even though there are many plot twists in this book, there is enough dialogue and explanations to what is happening at each point of the book, so that you should not become confused with anything that is happening. Shoeless Joe is an amazing book and should be read by everyone. This book, even if you are not much of a reader or baseball fan, is amusing and satisfying. The fact that there are many twists keeps the book moving so that the reader will not get bored. The book doesn¿t start of fast, it makes up for it at the end and does a good job of it. Overall, I give this book five stars out of five.
nesum on LibraryThing 8 days ago
This is one of those few cases in life when the movie was considerably better than the book. The conflict between the main character and his father drives the movie, but is completely absent in the novel. The changes made by Hollywood were actually wonderful.The book is okay, but it does not have that driving conflict to sustain it. I wholeheartedly recommend the film, but the book is not nearly as good.
ablueidol on LibraryThing 8 days ago
Well it¿s supposed to be about dreams, magic, life and not about baseball...wrong it¿s about baseball and an American understanding that baseball is a way to unlock dreams, magic, and life.But I am not an American follower of Baseball so along with Underworld by Don DeLillo it went over my head (although DeLillo¿s books first chapter was a stunning, lyrical depiction of the centuries¿ baseball World Series final moments). So is Shoeless Joe...stunning, lyrical writing? No, assume wooden, workaday.Think I am being harsh? Well I look forward to a story based of a brickie who puts a goal up in Norfolk. George Best then appears to help him build the football pitch and gradually all the world ** players appear (Lev Yashin as goalie, Carlos Alberto Torres, Nílton Santos as full backs, Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore as centre backs etc for one last game with the Brickie¿s long lost father as the ref. That I would understand so Nick Hornby get writing it. But for the moment I am sticking to the film of the book-Field of Dreams. And making a mental note to be wary of any book that has a sports theme!** run past me again how in Baseball one country = a world series whilst the 2006 World cup has 198 counties competing and over 700 million people watched the actual finals
SimonW11 on LibraryThing 8 days ago
I read this curtesy of one of Mcrosoft Readers free book releases. It or more likely the short story it was based on. is the basis for the film Field of Dreams.An elegic book about baseball and second chances reccomended to everyone whether you give a damn about the sport or not.
18876111 More than 1 year ago
Field of Dreams is one of my all-time favorite baseball movies, I've seen it countless times and I never get tired of it. I'm so happy that I finally got to read the book, and I liked the book better than the movie. There was just more in the book. I definitely don't think this book is for everyone, it's definitely one of those books that are perfect for people who appreciate baseball and love a great baseball story, which this book definitely is.
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
2.5 Stars - Original review @ I went into Shoeless Joe with such hope. I have not seen Field of Dreams, but love uplifting sports movies, so I thought I would love one in book form. But this was no uplifting sports movie, it was a strange tale of a man who builds a baseball field on his failing Iowa corn farm then leaves his wife and small child to kidnap famed writer J.D. Salinger and take him on a road trip. I’m sorry what? Where is my tale of a downtrodden man who has a vision and through that builds his dream on his farm? Instead I get a wacky buddy road trip comedy, complete with carnies and diner hold ups. The action on the farm is limited to the very beginning and the very end, and that is where the heart of the story was. A struggling man trying to save his farm and his family with a dream and pure gumption. Those parts were fantastic, but the rest was just ridiculous. The plot had its moments, but they were sadly few and far between. The family parts were great, but the whole kidnapping road trip aspect totally lost me. The world created was the same, certain select parts were crisp and vivid, then it veered into crazypants territory. The writing was fine, sentence structure wise, but the story was so over the top I couldn’t really see any fine nuances. The characters were a mashup of amazing and then not, they started strong but then went downhill the more I read. I had no emotional tie to any of the characters. Ray was dismissive of the real world and the potential harm he was bringing to his wife and child. God what an outfield,” he says. “What a left field.” He looks up at me and I look down at him. “This must be heaven,” he says. “No. It’s Iowa,” I reply automatically. Shoeless Joe is considered one of the greatest sports books written. I just didn’t see it. Less a book about baseball to me, and more a book about what too much Round-Up in a field will lead to. I do understand the baseball at the heart of the story and how it linked every part together, but failed to see the amazing parts as the random hostage taking of a reclusive writer and a road trip with said writer to pick up baseball ghosts took away from that for me. As did the husband and father endangering the future of his family by leaving them as their farm is about to be foreclosed on. Now, I don’t hate baseball and I know, national sport and all, but this book just didn’t do it for me.
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JustAnOldLady More than 1 year ago
Some people I discused this book with don't like the wordiness and purple prose. But to me the book read like music. There are passages I had to read over again because they were so pretty. I am not really into modern sports as they are now, so commercialized and money driven and filled with dark and sordid stories. I love stories that tell the love and passion of a player for the game, a fan of the game, and lessons in life that are related to the game, like parables. This is a story even non-sports fantatics might like.
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I havent read the book but ive seen the movie and before that i had never heard of the white sox scandall and i feel sorry for all the players who were fasly accused
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