For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Brooklynites

THE BROOKLYN BOARD BOOKSTORE


These books were selected for their connection with Brooklyn. If you have roots in Brooklyn, then these should be part of your library. This list will be updated on a regular basis, so you should check back frequently. Please note that the prices shown are subject to change.
Click on the book cover image, the title, or the "Buy It" button to purchase the book.

The Bells of Brooklyn
by Catherine Gigante-Brown
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A tale of rebirth, forgiveness, hope and redemption. Revisit the Paradiso clan in this gripping sequel to The El. Set just after af after after the end of World War II, The Bells of Brooklyn rings in a new era almost a decade after the original story takes place. Catch u Catch up with the same memorable characters and meet memorable new one new ones. Become lost in the emotional, joyful swirl of life in that st that sturdy, brick Borough Park house. Get swept up in Poppa and Gra and Grandma Bridget's warm embrace. Allow yourself to be seduced seduced by the food, laughter and love at the core of this unforge unforgettable Italian Catch up with the same memorable characters and meet memorable new ones. Become lost in the emotional, joyful swirl of life in that sturdy, brick Borough Park house. Get swept up in Poppa and Grandma Bridget's warm embrace. Allow yourself to be seduced by the food, laughter and love at the core of this unforgettable Italian-American family.
Different Drummer
by Catherine Gigante-Brown
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Set in 1979 and told through journal entries and running commentary, this saga of a female drummer struggling to depart from the wedding and bar mitzvah music trade, unfolds amid the familiar zeitgeist of Brooklyn and Manhattan's post-hippie devolution. If you recall the ubiquity of Sergio Valente jeans, decrepit rock clubs, White Castle burgers and ruffled tuxedo shirts, then you're sure to be captured by this piece of NYC cultural history.
The El
by Catherine Gigante-Brown
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A historic novel set in 1936 Brooklyn. It was an era when the Navy Yard sang, when Coney Island was bright lights and pure enchantment, and Wednesdays held the promise of Dish Night at the Loews 46th Street Theater. The elevated train, or El, was the lifeline that coursed through it all. In the El's shadow, an earthy, ebullient Italian-American family resides: Poppa, the beneficent patriarch; Bridget, his devoted wife and mother of their six grown children; Rosanna, their eldest, who is married to Tony, a dangerous drunk; Kewpie, their nubile teenage daughter; and Tiger, their scrappy ten-year old son. A stark drama quickly unfolds as a terrible secret is revealed. The El weaves a timeless family saga through a colorful array of unmistakably Brooklyn characters as the Paradisos weather seasons of joy, loss and desire, and experience simple delights in the midst of the Depression. Here, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It is a place of unconditional and unrequited love, where the unimaginable is indeed possible, and the whims of a violent alcoholic threaten to destroy the idyllic applecart of the entire clan's existence. The El is at once homey and horrific, lusty and innocent, fanciful and shocking. It is a complicated mosaic of light and dark, fired with savory flavors and vivid images.
Road to Sunrise
by Olivia Beck
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With the backdrop of America's growing pains in the 1950s and 60s, Olivia relives her life from a young girl's perspective, through post-war economic growth, fear of nuclear war, ramifications of the McCarthy Era, the civil rights movement, the assassination of a president and the Vietnam War. School days, girlfriends, boyfriends and the birth of rock and roll, enrich her story of hardships, tragedy, and extraordinary childhood experiences. Road to Sunrise takes us traveling from the busy streets of Brooklyn, NY to the tranquil Catskill Mountains in an emotionally charged journey from idyllic early childhood, through turbulent adolescence and teen years, to the hopes and dreams of a young woman.
A Child's Christmas in Brooklyn
by Frank Crocitto
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Frank Crocitto's A Child's Christmas In Brooklyn is a wonderful memoir of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s. What is particularly striking is not just the wonderful anecdotal stories but the way they are physically and visually laid out for the reader in a line-on-the-page format that is almost lyrically poetic in its presentation. A Child's Christmas In Brooklyn is marvelous reading for any Christmas season and a delight for anytime of the year -- especially for that "window in time" feeling taking us back on a nostalgic tour of Brooklyn through a child's eyes.
Apartment 4B, Like in Brooklyn
by Evan Ginzburg
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"Evan Ginzburg has put into words the emotions and experiences of growing up in the ever-changing Brooklyn of the 60s and 70s: a Brooklyn that is lost forever. We read several tales on the air and they're funny, poignant and most certainly memorable." - Fred Geobold, WBAI-FM, NYC
Brooklyn Is: Southeast of the Island: Travel Notes
by James Agee
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Introduced by Jonathan Lethem, author of the riveting and place-defining novel Motherless Brooklyn (1999), Agee's prose poem captures the textural variety of Brooklyn in language that bears reading aloud for its lilt, melody, and pleasingly pungent vocabulary: "The collaborated creature of the insanely fungoid growth of fifteen or twenty villages, now sewn and quilted edge to edge, and lacking any center in remote proportion of its mass, [Brooklyn] is perhaps the most amorphous of all modern cities."
In the Shadow of the El
by John Fabrizio
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Through the coming-of-age experiences of a boy in Brooklyn, Fabrizio takes us back to a time "when things were better" or "to the gold old days" - whether they were or not. In this collection of evocative and heartfelt vignettes, we are drawn back to themes such as the uncertainty and awkwardness of first love, the games we played in the park, the restrictions and tensions of grammar school and the Church, and the drama and resolution of the "big game" in the neighborhood. Fabrizio has warmly rediscovered his lost Eden in traces of the corner candy store, the beautiful little girl with marble brown eyes, slurping lemon ices, prying open johnny pumps on sultry nights, and rubbing up new spaldeens.
This book is for all who still treasure their lost Eden.
Coney Island: Lost and Found
by Charles Denson
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Growing up on Coney Island in the ’50s and ’60s, Charles Denson experienced legendary amusements and attractions like the Cyclone and Thunderbolt roller coasters, the Parachute Jump, and Steeplechase Park. In CONEY ISLAND: LOST AND FOUND, Denson gives us an insider’s look at one of New York’s best-known neighborhoods, weaving together memories of his childhood adventures with colorful stories of the area’s past and interviews with local personalities, all brought to life by hundreds of photographs, detailed maps, and authentic memorabilia. CONEY ISLAND is a heartfelt chronicle that stretches from colonial times to the island’s heyday in the early 20th century and through its subsequent decline and revival, culminating in the 2001 opening of the new ballpark that brought baseball back to Brooklyn.
A Brooklyn Dodger Reader
by Edited by Andrew Paul Mele
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The Brooklyn Dodgers are one of the most popular and most beloved baseball teams of all time. This book is a collection of writings about the Dodgers, arranged chronologically to give the readers a sense of the team’s long history. Included are news reports, articles and excerpts from both fiction and non-fiction works, written by some of the best baseball writers of the past sixty years. Among them are James L. Terry (excerpted from Long Before the Dodgers); John Lardner ("The Unbelievable Babe Herman"); Red Barber and Robert Creamer (excerpted from Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat); Harold Parrott (excerpted from The Lords of Baseball and "Owen Drops Third Strike"); Robin Roberts and C. Paul Rogers, III (excerpted from My Life in Baseball); Red Smith ("Erskine Fans 14 Yanks," "Over the River" and "Last Chapter").
Street Fighting Man
by Dennis Jones
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Street Fighting Man is a fact-based book by Dennis Jones, who grew up in Brooklyn in a typical lower-middle-class household during the time that spanned the period from the birth of Rock 'n Roll through the "English invasion." Dennis tells the story of how a young man and many of his neighborhood peers chose music instead of the many temptations the city streets offered (all bad), and how some of them "made it" to varying degrees of success. Most were distracted enough to have time to grow up and make mature choices in life and avoid the pitfalls that surrounded them in 1960s and 70's Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Noir
by Tim McLoughlin (Editor)
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It's all Brooklyn--Bensonhurst and Brighton Beach, Red Hook and Crown Heights--in this atmospheric collection of noir tales. The sound is right, too, from the understated staccato of old lost souls to the jiving rap of younger ones. Abraham Pearl manages a Jewish gumshoe in "Hasidic Noir," and Neal Pollack makes a carousel ride and a scavenger hunt as sinister as midnight. Thomas Morrissey does a weird tale of vampire cookies in "Can't Catch Me." The language is richly foul, and so is much of the sex in these 19 stories, divided into four sections from "Old School Brooklyn" to "Cops & Robbers." Brooklyn's Italian and Irish belly up to the bar with Russians, Puerto Ricans, and Rastas. Pete Hamill, probably the biggest name here, opens with a signature tale for both himself and the genre, deceptively called "The Book Signing."
Brooklyn Noir 2: The Classics
by Tim McLoughlin (Editor)
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On the heels of the stunning success of the award-winning bestseller Brooklyn Noir, this second volume digs deeper into the criminal history of New York's punchiest and most alluring borough. Brooklyn Noir 2 offers short stories by the classic authors who blazed the path for the success of the first volume, which award-winning mystery author Laura Lippman called, "a stunningly perfect combination . . . the writing is flat-out superb, filled with lines that will sing in your head for a long time to come."
Brooklyn : Daily Eagle Postcards 1905-1907
by Richard L. Dutton
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Between 1905 and 1907, Brooklyn’s leading newspaper, the Daily Eagle, published a remarkable series of almost five hundred postcards, most with photographs of local scenes. Brooklyn in that era was, as it is today, a place of great variety, with imposing factories, sprawling riverfront sugar refineries, scores of public schools, elaborate mansions, and hundreds of blocks of middle-class brownstone row houses side by side with public wood yards, free-floating baths, the county jail, reformatories, and hospitals. Brooklyn was known as “the borough of churches,” and grand religious edifices of all denominations stood on nearly every corner. For recreation, there were social clubs, acres of beautifully landscaped public parks graced by statues of heroes of the past, and the teeming midways and beaches of Coney Island. All of this is captured in Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Postcards 1905–1907.
The Malbone Street Wreck
by Brian J. Cudahy
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On November 1, 1918, as the Great War in Europe was entering its final hours, a five-car elevated train was heading for the Flatbush section of Brooklyn with hundreds of homeward-bound commuters aboard. As the train rumbled down a short hill between Prospect Park and Ebbets Field in the very heart of Brooklyn, the unthinkable happened: the motorman lost control and the train left the tracks as it curved into a tunnel at the foot of the hill. The ensuing disaster, known ever since as the Malbone Street Wreck, took the lives of almost a hundred people and stands as the worst mass-transit accident in U.S. history. Fordham University Press is proud to present Brian Cudahy's long-awaited account of the Malbone Street Wreck, a book that recounts the events leading up to the disaster, describes the fateful train trip from its beginning to its terrible end, and reviews efforts conducted after the tragedy to fix blame and establish liability.
Amusing the Million : Coney Island at the Turn of the Century
by John F. Kasson
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"Because he treats our frivolities seriously, John Kasson has produced an important book which helps us all understand ourselves. His inquiry into the nature and significance of Coney Island as part of the American experience provides a brilliant device for understanding major transformations in American culture at the turn of the century...A delight to read, look at, and ponder...itself a great amusement for the mind."--Warren Susman, Rutgers University
Bruculinu, America : Remembrances of Sicilian-American Brooklyn, Told in Stories and Recipes
by Vincent Schiavelli
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Vincent Schiavelli's enchanting, sometimes deeply moving memoir with recipes, Bruculinu, America, is a warmly recalled distortion of Brooklyn, one of New York City's boroughs, as it really was. As Schiavelli says, "The stories may not always contain the strict facts, but they certainly tell the truth." Don't be surprised if his beautiful reminiscence of the miracle (which took place before he was born!) that saved his uncle Salvatore Calogero from dying of pneumonia brings a tear to your eye. Schiavelli, the familiar, droopy-eyed actor (Ghost, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, etc.) who recently passed away, evokes vivid and striking memories of Brooklyn of the past.
Brushstrokes: A Work in Progress
by Siobhan Barry-Bratcher
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"Brushstrokes: A Work in Progress" is a memoir, a celebration of childhood gone right and the foundation it creates. The first half of the book traces the author's family history from her parents' childhood years in Depression era Brooklyn, New York to her own childhood in the mid 1950s and 1960s. The book then returns to the 1990s where the middle-aged author finds positive solutions for dealing with life in present-day New York by drawing on her past experiences. She realizes that each person's life is "a work in progress" whose finished product is unknown even to the artist. This conclusion leads her to some unusual and even humorous solutions as she attempts to create her own reality and get the most from this lifetime.
Praying for Gil Hodges : A Memoir of the 1955 World Series and One Family's Love of the Brooklyn Dodgers
by Thomas Oliphant
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Driving over a bridge on an Indiana highway named after Hodges, a star first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, sets off a chain of memories from the Dodgers' only World Series victory for Oliphant. His memoir's main narrative thread is his recollection of being allowed to skip school to watch Brooklyn take on the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1955 Series with his father, but the story takes a decidedly circuitous path; retellings of Jackie Robinson's breaking of baseball's color line and other significant moments in Dodger history appear between stories of growing up in a small Manhattan apartment as the Oliphants coped with the long-term effects of illnesses his father contracted during WWII. The Pulitzer-winning columnist interviews the pitchers for both teams, broadcaster Vin Scully and other baseball fans of his generation. Although Oliphant spends much—perhaps too much—time discussing baseball's glory years, the more personal material distinguishes the memoir. At its best, this isn't a book about baseball, but about a family that found solace and comfort in the sport while making their way through mid-century America.
Brooklyn Remembered: The 1955 Days of the Dodgers
by Bob Costas (Foreword) and Maury Allen
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In Brooklyn Remembered: The 1955 Days of the Dodgers, Allen has captured the emotion, the drama and the sweet reverie of what many baseball people and fans consider the greatest sports triumph ever, the 1955 Brooklyn Series win over the Yankees. It was the one and only Brooklyn championship for the team filled with Hall of Famers like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax and even fringe lefty Tommy Lasorda. Two years after the title the team moved from Brooklyn’s cozy Ebbets Field to laconic Los Angeles. This is the stirring, funny, romantic, touching, historic story of one team in one town in one time that has lasted across the decades. The Brooklyn Dodgers of 1955 were an epic collection of talented athletes and heroic men.
The Fortress of Solitude
by Jonathan Lethem
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This is the story of two boys, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude. They are friends and neighbors, but because Dylan is white and Mingus is black, their friendship is not simple. This is the story of their Brooklyn neighborhood, which is almost exclusively black despite the first whispers of something that will become known as "gentrification." This is the story of 1970s America, a time when the most simple human decisions—what music you listen to, whether to speak to the kid in the seat next to you, whether to give up your lunch money—are laden with potential political, social and racial disaster. This is the story of 1990s America, when no one cared anymore.
The Greatest Ballpark Ever: Ebbets Field And The Story Of The Brooklyn Dodgers
by Bob McGee
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Drawing on original interviews and letters, as well as published and archival sources, The Greatest Ballpark Ever explores the individual struggle of Charley Ebbets to build Ebbets Field, the days of Wilbert Robinson’s early pennant winners, the era of the Daffiness Boys, Larry MacPhail and the tumultuous field leadership of Leo the Lip, Branch Rickey and the fiery triumph of Jackie Robinson, the golden days of the Boys of Summer, and Walter O’Malley’s ignominious departure. Memorable personalities including Casey Stengel, Zach Wheat, Dazzy Vance, Babe Herman, Van Lingle Mungo, Frenchy Bordargaray, Dolf Camilli, Pistol Pete Reiser, Pee Wee Reese, Mickey Owen, Hugh Casey, and Cookie Lavagetto are all here, as well as Oisk, Skoonj, Gil, Campy, Newk, the Duke, and many more. With humor and passion, The Greatest Ballpark Ever lets readers relive a day in the raucous ballpark with its quirky angles and its bent right-field wall, with the characters and events that have become part of the nation’s folklore.
Brooklyn: A State of Mind
by Michael W. Robbins and Wendy Palitz (Editors)
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BROOKLYN, the book, tells it all. Packed with the accent, the attitude, the smarts, with nostalgia, respect, awe, laughter and news, BROOKLYN taps into one of Brooklyn's best resources-its army of writers-to tell the story of America's home town. For over 250 years immigrants from all over the world have lived in the neighborhood called Brooklyn, and fanned out to the rest of the country. An 81 square mile patchwork of city, college town, quiet fishing village, industrial center, bedroom community, and seaport, Brooklyn is the Dodgers, Walt Whitman, Mrs. Stahl's knishes, the bridge-and BROOKLYN, an obsessive and definitive book that's as colorful, interesting, and quirky as the world it celebrates. Fugehdabboudit!
Old Brooklyn in Early Photographs, 1865-1929
by William Lee Younger
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157 photographs, many never before reprinted, show the vitality and variety of old Brooklyn, Manhattan’s first suburb: waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge, Fulton Street, Brooklyn Heights, Ebbets Field, Gravesend Race Track, Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach Hotel, and more from the Long Island Historical Society collection.
A House on the Heights
by Truman Capote
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The tranquil life Truman Capote led in the quiet enclave of Brooklyn Heights in the 1950s and 1960s stood in sharp contrast to the glittering scene he adored in Manhattan. Intimate and wry, A House on the Heights vividly evokes the neighborhood that Capote came to know well and described as one of Brooklyn’s “splendid contradictions.” Its denizens, including a celebrated Russian spy, a globe-trotting antiquarian, and a cat-rescuing dowager with a pointed social agenda bring to life the Brooklyn that cast its spell over Capote. In A House on the Heights he meanders through a special time and place still recognizable today.
A Picture History of the Brooklyn Bridge
by Mary J. Shapiro
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Profusely illustrated account of the greatest engineering achievement of the 19th century. Rare contemporary photos and engravings, accompanied by extensive, detailed captions, recall construction, human drama, politics, much more. 167 black-and-white illustrations.
Another Time Another Place
by Gerald Chatanow and Bernard D. Schwartz
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he Brownsville/East New York neighborhood of the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s is now but an almost faded memory, a "time warp" as it were. Through the collective memories of the famous and the not-so-famous, Jerry Chatanow and Bernie Schwartz have elicited and chronicled a treasure trove of anecdotes and remembrances that bring back to life a once vibrant and exhilarating neighborhood. The authors vividly transport the reader back to a bygone era of street games, egg creams, mello rolls and knishes, patriotism at the home front, plush movie palaces, the Dodgers, the Knicks, boxing venues, old time radio and the neighborhood settlement houses with its open doors waiting to welcome the teeming masses. This is a story told within the context of this country’s transformation from "The Great Depression" to World War Two to "Baby Boomer" prosperity. The authors were both observers of and participants in what in retrospect proved to be a triumphant generation.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith
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Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroit observer of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old.
The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn
by Kenneth T. Jackson and John B. Manbeck
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This generously illustrated book takes us on a tour of the ninety neighborhoods of Brooklyn, with their diverse ethnic enclaves, abundance of architectural styles, and many churches and festivals. For each neighborhood the book provides an essay, street maps, practical tips, and fascinating facts. The introduction gives an overview of Brooklyn, and an index allows readers to locate key sites.
The Brooklyn Follies
by Paul Auster
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Paul Auster's latest addition to his increasingly tender cycle of love songs to Brooklyn is his most down-to-earth, sensuous, and socially conscious novel to date. Harry Brightman, formerly Harry Dunkel, which means dark, is a gay man who owns a used bookstore in Brooklyn and previously served time for forgery. Once a rogue, always a rogue? Auster's shrewd and charming narrator, Nathan Glass, suspects so. A 59-year-old divorced lung-cancer survivor retired from the life-insurance business and estranged from his family, Nathan plans to sulk in Brooklyn. Instead, he reconnects with his nephew, Tom, who works for Harry. Tom is also depressed, and worried about his missing sister, Aurora, when out of the blue, Aurora's eerily self-possessed nine-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Lucy, appears. As fate has its way with his irresistible characters, the sorcerer-like Auster rhapsodizes about nature, orchestrates unlikely love affairs and hilarious conversations, and considers such extreme experiences as a life in pornography and marriage to a tyrannical religious fanatic.
Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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When historian Goodwin was six years old, her father taught her how to keep score for "their" team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. While this activity forged a lifelong bond between father and daughter, her mother formed an equally strong relationship with her through the shared love of reading. Goodwin recounts some wonderful stories in this coming-of-age tale about both her family and an era when baseball truly was the national pastime that brought whole communities together. From details of specific games to descriptions of players, including Jackie Robinson, a great deal of the narrative centers around the sport. Between games and seasons, Goodwin relates the impact of pivotal historical events, such as the Rosenberg trial. Her end of innocence follows with the destruction of Ebbets Field, her mother's death, and her father's lapse into despair. Goodwin gives listeners reason to consider what each of us has retained of our childhood passions.


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