My Dad, Spiff Jr, and I are replaying the 1964 National League season through the magic of Strat-O-Matic. That meant when I saw David Halberstam's October 1964 I immediately wanted to read it.
The name of the book is not an accurate reflection of the contents, there is so much more included than just October. Mr. Halberstam uses most of the book to set the stage for the October showdown between the New York Yankees and the St Louis Cardinals. That means he goes back to the Spring of 1964 and traces each team's journey to the World Series as they traveled through the season. Also included are player backgrounds to help explain the make-up of each team.
Once the foundation is laid, Halberstam uses the last quarter of his book to cover the climatic encounter pitting the aging Yankees against the young and upstart Cardinals. All seven games of the Series are walked through along with updates on how the teams were handling the results. After the World Series ends there is a short section on what happened to the key figures after October of 1964.
Written thirty years after the fact, October 1964 is largely drawn from personal interviews the author had with some of the participants in the drama and from accounts written at the time or shortly thereafter. The result is predictably interesting. Halberstam does an excellent job of crafting the tale and drawing the reader into the story. It almost feels as if the 1964 season and World Series is unfolding as he writes.
Whether you are a baseball fan in general or a fan of one of the two teams involved you owe it to yourself to read this book. I had high expectations when I picked it up and none of them were disappointed.