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Monday, March 28, 2011

Boswell Book Co. Goes 'Beyond DiMaggio'

Baldassaro explores Italian Americans in baseball

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Just in time for Major League Baseball's Opening Day, retired UW-Milwaukee faculty member Lawrence Baldassaro provides readers with a story of America's national pastime by exploring the role that Italian Americans have played throughout the history of the game. Casual baseball fans, and probably even non-fans, can easily identify names like Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Lasorda not only as Italian Americans, but also as stars of the sport. Baldassaro's comprehensive compendium, Beyond DiMaggio, chronicles baseball's history as a cultural study that follows the rise of Italian-American ballplayers behind the sociopolitical backdrop of discrimination and the evolving perceptions toward these American immigrants over the last hundred-plus years. Beyond DiMaggio includes more than 12 years' worth of interviews with baseball personalities and generates material that goes beyond just recapping careers by exploring the historical contexts in which the game was played.

Baldassaro, professor emeritus of Italian at UWM, is a baseball aficionado who has written numerous articles on the sport. He has served as a contributing writer for the Milwaukee Brewers' magazine since 1992. In addition to writing about baseball, Baldassaro has published essays on Italian literature, film and politics and served on the Executive Council of the Dante Society of America. He will appear at Boswell Book Co. March 31 at 7 p.m.