Banzai Babe Ruth by Robert K. Fitts
Baseball, Espionage, and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 8 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

In November 1934 as the United States and Japan drifted toward war, a team of American League all-stars that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, future secret agent Moe Berg, and Connie Mack barnstormed across the Land of the Rising Sun. Hundreds of thousands of fans, many waving Japanese and American flags, welcomed the team with shouts of “Banzai! Banzai, Babe Ruth!” The all-stars stayed for a month, playing 18 games, spawning professional baseball in Japan, and spreading goodwill.
Politicians on both sides of the Pacific hoped that the amity generated by the tour—and the two nations’ shared love of the game—could help heal their growing political differences. But the Babe and baseball could not overcome Japan’s growing nationalism, as a bloody coup d’état by young army officers and an assassination attempt by the ultranationalist War Gods Society jeopardized the tour’s success. A tale of international intrigue, espionage, attempted murder, and, of course, baseball, Banzai Babe Ruth is the first detailed account of the doomed attempt to reconcile the United States and Japan through the 1934 All American baseball tour. Robert K. Fitts provides a wonderful story about baseball, nationalism, and American and Japanese cultural history.
 

About Robert K. Fitts

See more books from this Author
Robert K. Fitts graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received a PhD from Brown University. Originally trained as an archeologist of colonial America, Fitts left that field to focus on his passion, Japanese baseball. He is also the author of Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game and Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball (Nebraska, 2008).
 
Published March 1, 2012 by Univ of Nebraska Pr. 368 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Banzai Babe Ruth

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Any goodwill engendered by the American players’ 1934 visit quickly vanished into the fog of war, however, with the spectators’ cries of “Banzai Babe Ruth” replaced by Japanese soldiers’ shouts of “To hell with Babe Ruth!” as they rushed American positions during World War II.

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Fitts, a master at depicting all of the key elements in prewar Japanese social and political life, gives the reader valuable insights into the influential moderates trying to hold the line against the army, as well as the American ballplayers taking a victory lap in front of adoring foreign fans.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

New York Journal of Books

See more reviews from this publication

In this carefully prepared history dominated by the larger-than-life player Babe Ruth, author Robert Fitts corrects the errors of previous books about the famous baseball tour of Japan 1934.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

The Wall Street Journal

See more reviews from this publication

Berg himself dressed up in a Japanese kimono and wooden geta sandals, combed his black hair in a Japanese style, and clandestinely slipped away to film the city skyline from the roof of Tokyo's St. Luke's hospital, later turning over the results of his undercover labors to American intelligence.

Apr 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

New York Journal of Books

See more reviews from this publication

In this carefully prepared history dominated by the larger-than-life player Babe Ruth, author Robert Fitts corrects the errors of previous books about the famous baseball tour of Japan 1934.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

The Washington Post

Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: .

Jun 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

Macleans

The game turned Sawamura into “a symbol of Imperial Japan,” but in 1944 he would be killed in the war “by the creators of the game he loved.” Fitts also tries to sort out history, particularly the question of why the intellectual, multilingual catcher Moe Berg was secretly filming Japanese sites.

Apr 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

ForeWord Reviews

The literal translation of the Japanese word banzai is “ten thousand years.” But the Japanese use it like the French use vive or the English “long live.” To think that the Japanese in 1934, amid crumbling relations with America, would come out by the thousands to apply that honorific to Babe Ruth...

| Read Full Review of Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, E...

Reader Rating for Banzai Babe Ruth
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 14 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×