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Under Pallor, Under Shadow Gives Light To History

Under Pallor, Under Shadow
Bill Felber
University of Nebraska Press (April 2011)

There are many books and stories about baseball in the 1920s. Stories about Babe Ruth and other luminaries, as well as a different time when baseball was not American’s pastime because it was America’s present. Baseball was the sport that brought families and communities together and made times fun.

Under Pallor, Under Shadow is no different in its subject matter, but vastly different in its approach. A more in-depth and comprehensive book I have not seen that takes the reader through the 1920 pennant race. From Babe Ruth’s inaugural season with the Yankees to the death of Ray Chapman to supposed fixings of the 1919 World Series and many more, Bill Felber walks the reader through the season with intimate and intense detail.

Some books can be described as “running” through events, breezing past so quickly sometimes the reader doesn’t even get a truly feel as if they were there. Felber takes the reader on a stroll through the events and goes into immense detail as if he were there, following the players around wherever they went.

For someone not as ensconced in the history of baseball, the book can be a bit overwhelming. There are a myriad of characters to keep track of and the story flips around from one team and event to another. It connects them at points, but once the reader loses where they are in the story, it is difficult to reconnect and make sense of the story going on.

However, Felber cannot be faulted for his writing. His style is fluid and in-depth, and more than just the history of what happened in that 1920 season, Felber connects it to a larger cultural shift in baseball’s dichotomy. Taking the reader from one era of baseball to another.

Under Pallor, Under Shadow is the perfect book for any baseball history lover.


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