Robert Miraldi is an award-winning journalist and author who has taught at the State University of New York's College at New Paltz for over 20 years. Beyond the Boys of Summer: The Very Best of Roger Kahn was published in the spring of 2005 by McGraw-Hill and will make great reading for the MLB All-Star break in a couple of weeks (July 13). What an enviable task Miraldi had with this project! He got to meet and get acquainted with one of our most important and famous writers in America today and then to write about him. The introduction is an essay about Kahn and his writing titled, “Sliders with Social History” in which Miraldi does a most effective job of connecting Kahn with the readers. Miraldi makes us feel like we’ve known Kahn for years and helps us understand Kahn’s perspectives on life, writing, and of course sports. Not having previously read Kahn’s work, I can only trust Miraldi’s selections from the thousands of articles from which he had to choose.
Miraldi says, “Kahn likes to write and talk about social justice and about athletes facing life when they are young and old. And he likes to do it with a poetic flair.” This is one of those books that you could pick up and read a chapter and return to it later — if you could put it down. Kahn’s writing grabs your attention, connects you with the subject and then tells you unforgettable stories. Reading Beyond the Boys of Summer will help you better appreciate the complicated lives of professional athletes and (by example) it will make you a better writer.