The Eastern Stars
How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town
of San Pedro de Macoris
by Mark Kurlansky
Somehow somewhere there's mouse twitch in the air. I think I entered the form for an ARC of this delightful book twice, because I got two copies. Lydia at G.P. Putnam's Sons / Riverhead has given me the thumbs up to offer the extra to all of you in a giveaway. Spring training is coming up soon, so for all of us baseball fans, this should be a delightful way to get a jump on the season.
I haven't read my copy yet, but here's what's on the cover to whet your appetite:
By the year 2008, seventy-nine boys and men from San Pedro had gone on to play in the Major Leagues--that means that one in six Dominicans who has played in the Majors has come from one tiny, impoverished town. Rico Carty, Alfredo Griffin, Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, and legions of other San Pedro players who came up in the local sugar-mill teams flocked to the United States, looking for opportunity, wealth, and a better life......For those who make it, the million-dollar paychecks from Major League Baseball mean that not only they, but their entire families as well, have been saved from grinding poverty. The successful few set an example that dazzles the neighbors they left behind. But for the majority, this dream is illusory.
Because of the sugar industry, and the influxes of migrant workers from across the Caribbean to work in the cane fields and factories, San Pedro is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the Dominican Republic. A multitude of languages are spoken there; a multitude of skin colors populate the community; the constants are sugar and baseball. The history of players from San Pedro is also a chronicle of racism in baseball, of changing social mores in sports and in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and of the personal stories of the many men who sought freedom from poverty through playing ball.
Mark Kurlansky reveals two countries' love affair with a sport, and the remarkable journey of San Pedro and its baseball players. As he did in Cod and Salt, he follows the common threads to the story, and here he discovers wider meanings about place, identity, and above all, baseball.
About the Author: Mark Murlansky
Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times-bestselling author of many books, including The Food of a Younger Land; Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World; Salt: A World History; The Last Fish Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester. He reported from the Caribbean for the Chicago Tribune for seven years and wrote both A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny and The White Man in the Tree and Other Stories about the area. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for science writing and a winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, he lives in New York City.
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