Josh Ostergaard

The Devil's Snake Curve

“A unique baseball book, one that cleverly explores the history of the sport through cultural and political lenses.” —Largehearted Boy
The Devil’s Snake Curve offers an alternative American history, in which colonialism, jingoism, capitalism, and faith are represented by baseball. Personal and political, it twines Japanese internment camps with the Yankees; Walmart with the Kansas City Royals; and facial hair patterns with militarism, Guantanamo, and the modern security state. An essay, a miscellany, and a passionate unsettling of Josh Ostergaard’s relationship with our national pastime, it allows for both the clover of a childhood outfield and the persistence of the game’s service to those in power. America and baseball are both hard to love or leave in this, by turns coruscating and heartfelt, debut.
The Devil’s Snake Curve will receive a particularly warm welcome from those who love the game but resist easy analogies comparing its slow, idiosyncratic progress to the slow idiosyncratic progress of the American experiment. Its young author, Josh Ostergaard, emerges from an ironic generation that tends to regard hero worship as faintly ridiculous, meaning that individual legends from any given era are less interesting to him than whatever social, cultural, or political forces might have combined to prop those legends up.”—New York Times
“Expansive and inventive . . . A challenging reconsideration of a game that used to be called the national pastime.” —Star Tribune
“One of the most fascinating books ever written about baseball.” —The Cultural Weekly
279 printed pages
Original publication



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