Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Death and Resurrection of Baseball: Echoes From A Distant Past is a work of fiction in the sports and futuristic fiction subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author William R Douglas. We find ourselves in the year 2166, the not-too-distant future, but in a world far from our current recognition. A divisive America has suffered a deadly and severely bloody Second Civil War, which has resulted in many casualties, both in terms of people and in terms of culture. One such relic is the sport of baseball, now lost to history, until a discovery by a young boy that will spark echoes of a long-past time, and perhaps light a brighter path for the country’s future.
Author William R Douglas uses the camaraderie, tradition, excitement, and enthusiasm around the sport of baseball to create an excellent metaphor in this novel, which seeks to heal a broken and divided country. One of the things I especially enjoyed about the work was its dialogue and narrative quality, which is evocative of a very different future world, but also harks back in the right places to nostalgic moments and the parlance of days gone by. Connecting the past and this imagining of the future gives readers insight into the major problems of the present world, whilst also delivering a classic story with suspense, action, intrigue, and, perhaps most importantly, hope. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Death and Resurrection of Baseball to fans of fascinating fiction everywhere.
Imagine an America, over 100 years into the future, ravaged by a second Civil War; what will become of the great American pastime in such a scenario?
If baseball were ever to disappear from the cultural landscape,could such an intricate and historic sport ever be recovered?
This is the premise of McHenry author Douglas Peterson’s new book, “The Death and Resurrection of Baseball,” a work ofspeculative fiction set in McHenry that asks these questions. Although the book isn’t meant as a strict metaphor, the precarious future of baseball and our country are rooted in today’s cultural landscape,
Peterson said. “Several years ago I was reading an article about kids games that went extinct before the Civil War,” Petersonsaid. “There’s no memories of these games, they’re lost to history. I thought about the decline of sandlot ball and the fact that in-house leagues don’t have as many teams, and it all cametogether: What if baseball were to die as a sport?”
According to a synopsis sent to the Northwest Herald, the story involves a 12-year-old boy who lives in McHenry in the year 2166. The boy becomes “an instrument towards the recovery of a long-lost part of our culture from before the second Civil War,” Peterson writes in the note.
Peterson, who has lived in McHenry since 1992 and writes under the pen name William R. Douglas to honor his father, said the primary factor in his writing the book is his deep love of baseball. Peterson coached his son and was the commissioner for his localchurch softball league.
While baseball is in no danger of going extinct today, Peterson cited several factors such as the popularity of soccer, video games and the continual decline of youth participation in baseball that should be cause for concern.
“Kids in an in-house league aren’t practicing every day like travel ball,” Peterson said. “Without sandlot ball, kids ages 7 or 8 come into an in-house league and they struggle to hit the ball. It’s not much fun if you can’t hit the ball. It’s easier to kick around a soccer ball.”
Peterson himself is a diehard White Sox fan, and cites attendinglast year’s Yankees-White Sox Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, and White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko’s grand slam in the 2005 World Series, as two of his favoritebaseball memories.
The fortunes of baseball have often been tied to the fortunes of America, and while Peterson said he sees concerning divisions today, in his book he believes the restoration of baseball is key to restoration of American culture, and helps bring about local andnational healing.
This is Peterson’s first novel, although he said he’s always had alove for writing. The book took him four years to complete.
Two literary influences Peterson cites as inspiring the work includeDavid Aikman’s “When the Almond Tree Blossoms” and William Forstchen’s “One Second After.” Peterson also said the book includes several “hat tips” to the movies “Field of Dreams”and “The Sandlot.”
“Overall I tried to make it entertaining,” Peterson said. “But I hope to start a conversation among readers and their families, about where we could be headed if we don’t relearn the art of getting along.”
“The Death and Resurrection of Baseball” was first published this past May; those interested in learning more about the book, including where to purchase it, can go to authorwilliamrdouglas.com.