Class A by Lucas Mann
Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere

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Hanging out with a minor league baseball for a season is an idea with potential. There are some good moments here, particularly in talking about the community. But Mann seems too self-absorbed in his thoughts to let us know what the players' experience is truly like.
-Sports Book Review Center

Synopsis

An unforgettable chronicle of a year of minor-league baseball in a small Iowa town that follows not only the travails of the players of the Clinton LumberKings but also the lives of their dedicated fans and of the town itself.
 
Award-winning essayist Lucas Mann delivers a powerful debut in his telling of the story of the 2010 season of the Clinton LumberKings. Along the Mississippi River, in a Depression-era stadium, young prospects from all over the world compete for a chance to move up through the baseball ranks to the major leagues. Their coaches, some of whom have spent nearly half a century in the game, watch from the dugout. In the bleachers, local fans call out from the same seats they’ve occupied year after year. And in the distance, smoke rises from the largest remaining factory in a town that once had more millionaires per capita than any other in America.
 
Mann turns his eye on the players, the coaches, the fans, the radio announcer, the town, and finally on himself, a young man raised on baseball, driven to know what still draws him to the stadium. His voice is as fresh and funny as it is poignant, illuminating both the small triumphs and the harsh realities of minor-league ball. Part sports story, part cultural exploration, part memoir, Class A is a moving and unique study of why we play, why we watch, and why we remember.

 

About Lucas Mann

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Lucas Mann was born in New York City and received his MFA from the University of Iowa, where he is currently the Provost's Visiting Writer in Nonfiction. His essays and stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Wigleaf, Barrelhouse, New South, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and The Kenyon Review. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa.
 
Published May 7, 2013 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Class A
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on May 09 2013

Readers seeking extended play-by-plays and assessments of skills would do better to look elsewhere.

Read Full Review of Class A: Baseball in the Midd... | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 16 2013

Mann’s style is easy, fluid, self-deprecating and always engaging. A grand slam.

Read Full Review of Class A: Baseball in the Midd... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Neal Karlen on May 18 2013

In charting the hopes and fears of never-will-be major leaguers, citizens of a largely desiccated town, and his own complicated soul, Mann has made the fool’s gold his entire cast seems to be chasing seem real.

Read Full Review of Class A: Baseball in the Midd... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Sports Book Review Center

Above average
Reviewed by Budd Bailey on May 10 2013

Hanging out with a minor league baseball for a season is an idea with potential. There are some good moments here, particularly in talking about the community. But Mann seems too self-absorbed in his thoughts to let us know what the players' experience is truly like.

Read Full Review of Class A: Baseball in the Midd...

Reader Rating for Class A
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 90 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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