The Summer of Beer and Whiskey by Edward Achorn
How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game

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The author also gets a little bogged down in the details of the pennant chase...But he still does a terrific job of sketching this world and just how much fun everyone was having.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Chris von der Ahe knew next to nothing about base¬ball when he risked his life’s savings to found the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most important—and funniest—figures in the game’s history.

Von der Ahe picked up the team for one reason—to sell more beer. Then he helped gather a group of ragtag professional clubs together to create a maverick new league that would fight the haughty National League, reinventing big-league baseball to attract Americans of all classes. Sneered at as “The Beer and Whiskey Circuit” because it was backed by brewers, distillers, and saloon owners, their American Association brought Americans back to enjoying baseball by offering Sunday games, beer at the ballpark, and a dirt-cheap ticket price of 25 cents.

The womanizing, egocentric, wildly generous Von der Ahe and his fellow owners filled their teams’ rosters with drunks and renegades, and drew huge crowds of rowdy spectators who screamed at umpires and cheered like mad as the Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns fought to the bitter end for the 1883 pennant.

In The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, Edward Achorn re-creates this wondrous and hilarious world of cunning, competition, and boozing, set amidst a rapidly transforming America. It is a classic American story of people with big dreams, no shortage of chutzpah, and love for a brilliant game that they refused to let die.
 

About Edward Achorn

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Edward Achorn, a journalist and Pulitzer prize finalist for distinguished commentary, is the deputy editorial pages editor of the Providence Journal and author of Fifty-Nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had. He has won numerous writing awards and his work appears in The Best Newspaper Writing, 2007-2008. His reviews of books on American history appear frequently in the Weekly Standard. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island.
 
Published April 30, 2013 by PublicAffairs. 338 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Summer of Beer and Whiskey
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by WILL LEITCH on Jun 14 2013

The author also gets a little bogged down in the details of the pennant chase...But he still does a terrific job of sketching this world and just how much fun everyone was having.

Read Full Review of The Summer of Beer and Whiske... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Mccarthy on May 05 2013

...Achorn’s gift for storytelling shines in the climactic games of the season. Vivid scenes put the reader in the stands as pitchers pelt batters...

Read Full Review of The Summer of Beer and Whiske... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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