51 pages 1 hour read

Bill Bryson

One Summer: America, 1927

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2013

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Part 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “June: The Babe”

Chapters 8-9 Summary

These chapters move away from Charles Lindbergh (though he continues to be mentioned in passing) and focus on Babe Ruth, one of the most famous Major League Baseball players of all time. Chapter 8 provides background on the young Babe Ruth, whose real name was George Herman Ruth. His childhood was marked by poverty and tragedy. Six of his eight siblings died young, and his parents both died while he was still an adolescent. He attended St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore, an “unusual institution” where students, most of whom had exhibited behavioral problems and many of whom were orphans, “were treated with dignity and even a kind of gruff affection” (108). The school was also extremely enthusiastic about baseball and cultivated Ruth’s skill in basically every field position as well as at bat. At 19 years old, the then-Minor-League Baltimore Orioles signed Ruth as a pitcher.

Much of the characterization of Ruth as a person outside of baseball is dedicated to detailing his adjustment (or lack thereof) to adulthood and independence. His nickname “Babe” came from “his innocence and youthfulness” (110), and while by most accounts he was nice, good with children, and charismatic, he was also wild and developed some dangerous habits.