Roger Kahn

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Roger Kahn (born October 31, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American author. He often writes about baseball. His family, originally from Alsace, first settled in the New York area in 1848.


His much-praised 1972 memoir, The Boys of Summer, examines his relationship with his father seen through the prism of their shared affection for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team Kahn covered as a young reporter for the New York Herald Tribune. The first part of the book consists of recollections of Kahn's two seasons (1952–53) as a Dodger beat writer, coinciding with the peak of the Jackie Robinson era in Brooklyn, when Robinson - by then established as a major star and a leader of the Dodgers - still had to confront racism on and off the field.

Kahn's father, Gordon Kahn, a radio-program producer, died shortly after the Dodgers lost the 1953 World Series to the hated Yankees. Roger Kahn conveys how the loss of his father serves as a metaphor for the end of youth and his entry into a more complex and in some ways more cynical adulthood. Despite that and the move of the Dodgers to Los Angeles after the 1957 season, Kahn never lost his affection for the Dodgers he knew, nor they for him.

The second part of the book consists of his accounts of meetings with thirteen of that period's Dodgers between 1968 and 1971: Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Billy Cox, Carl Furillo, Preacher Roe, Carl Erskine, Joe Black, Clem Labine, Andy Pafko, and George Shuba.

Kahn earlier worked as a general-assignment magazine writer, covering other topics as well as sports. In the first piece of his 1973 collection How the Weather Was, Kahn wrote candidly about some sour moments in his career, including an editor who reacted to Kahn's sportswriting by remarking "Writing about niggers again, Kahn?"

Kahn won the E, P. Dutton award for best sports magazine article of the year five times and tied for first once. No one else has matched that winning total.

In addition to The Boys of Summer, recently optioned for a Broadway play, Kahn wrote books such as Good Enough to Dream, a chronicle of his year as the owner of a minor league baseball franchise; The Era 1947-57, an examination of the decade during which the three New York clubs - the Dodgers, Yankees and Giants - dominated Major League Baseball; and Memories of Summer, a look back at his youth and early career, plus extended pieces on New York baseball legends Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. His acclaimed biography of the great heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, A Flame of Pure Fire, is under development as a major motion picture by 33 Productions of San Francisco.

Kahn's latest book, Into My Own (publication June 2006) is a memoir describing friendships with Robert Frost, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Eugene McCarthy, and his late son, Roger Laurence Kahn, who suffered from bipolar disorder and heroin addiction, and who died by his own hand from carbon monoxide poisoning in 1987. In its last chapter titled Rescuing Roger, Kahn writes candidly about his own and his family's experiences with Michael DeSisto and the DeSisto School and the subsequent harm to his son Roger, who eventually ended his life with a garden hose attached to an exhaust pipe. That chapter, wrote Andrew Ervin in The Washington Post, "will send you scurrying for the Kleenex box. Kahn is not only a great baseball writer but also something rarer: a great writer whose subject happens to be baseball."

Kahn's journalism influences included Stanley Woodward, John Lardner (the son of sportswriter/short story master Ring Lardner) and Red Smith. "Native to those people," Kahn said in an unpublished 1994 interview, "was the underlying presumption that you were familiar with a body of literature in English -- and if you knew Tolstoy, it didn't hurt, either... Our craft begins, as Red Smith said, with 'a decent respect for the mother tongue.'"

Kahn attended a prep school then Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn.

Kahn lives in the Hudson Valley community of Stone Ridge, New York with his wife, Katharine Colt Johnson, a psychotherapist. He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame on April 30, 2006. On that occasion, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wrote, "Roger is an icon in our sport." Dave Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist of The New York Times, added: "Anyone who has ever read any of Roger's vast collection of writing knows only too well that he is not merely one of America's great sportswriters, but one of America's great writers period."

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