If you are deeply interested in baseball and or a serious 20th century history buff, then this book is definitely for you If your interest is a littlecasual, this well researched book typical of books of this type published by university presses is likely to feel like overkill, as it takes the reader game by game through Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, and company s tour at a time when America and Japan were inching toward war Still, the patient or alternatively, compu If you are deeply interested in baseball and or a serious 20th century history buff, then this book is definitely for you If your interest is a littlecasual, this well researched book typical of books of this type published by university presses is likely to feel like overkill, as it takes the reader game by game through Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, and company s tour at a time when America and Japan were inching toward war Still, the patient or alternatively, compulsive reader will find much of interest here I learned about the ideological currents and revolutionary intrigues in 1934 Japan that eventually led to a military government taking power that promoted fealty to the Emperor and military adventurism and confrontation with Western powers Fitts also recounts the history of baseball in Japan, which goes back 125 years, to explain how baseball became such a popular sport in that country Perhaps the most interesting part of the book was learning how Japanese baseball developed a romantic Samurai infused spiritual ethos that emphasized exhaustive practice to the point of drawing blood This attitude survives, in a watered down form, even today This explains why Japanese pitchers practice so exhaustively, to the point that American team officials are alarmed that they are wearing themselves out.If you are nagged by the question of whether colorful journeyman catcher and Princeton grad Moe Berg was on the tour as an American spy, you will get the definitive answer here Unquestionably, Berg served in the OSS during World War II, but on this tour he seems to have been on his own, taking motion pictures in forbidden areas, and apparently getting his first taste of the adventure of covert information gathering In the early 1930 s, sports and editorial writers suggested that perhaps the World Series would soon encompass teams competing from different countries Now, 80 years later, we are once again inching toward that goal, and this book which also describes the team s stops in Shanghai and Manila provides a foundation for understanding the Asian side of this trend Never knew about this episode in pre WWII American Japanese relations until a friend gave me a copy of Robert Fitts s book It details the motivation, organization and impact of a two month tour of American League all stars in Japan during 1934 The author heavily researched the tour from multiple angles as it was a distinctly bilateral effort on both sides of the Pacific The effort needed to birth the tour was significant The reaction the Japanese people had for Ruth and the other Americans w Never knew about this episode in pre WWII American Japanese relations until a friend gave me a copy of Robert Fitts s book It details the motivation, organization and impact of a two month tour of American League all stars in Japan during 1934 The author heavily researched the tour from multiple angles as it was a distinctly bilateral effort on both sides of the Pacific The effort needed to birth the tour was significant The reaction the Japanese people had for Ruth and the other Americans was heart warming However, a little known backup catcher from the Cleveland Indians Moe Berg may just have been the most interesting character in the entire tour I admit I struggled with the abundance of Japanese names, but did gain a deeper insight to Nippon culture Should be a must read for baseball fans who appreciate history Book 28 2017A long book, but one that really gives depth to the importance of the 1934 Baseball Allstar tour of Japan, as well as giving a face to an enemy that is often shown asof a group force.The retelling box scores of the games are maybe not needed in such detail, and the title and some of the writing suggests that a player was a spy, only to refute that idea near the end not really needed.But a great book for anyone who likes baseball, history, or Japan. Audiobook review I was very intrigued about the story of Babe Ruth and the Americans going on a tour to play in Japan Japanese baseball is very different from the American style, and the cultural differences help to explain why.There were excessive recaps of games that became repetitive There was also Japanese war history that I lost track of while listening My favorite part was about the establishment of professional baseball in Japan and the interactions American players had with Japanese Audiobook review I was very intrigued about the story of Babe Ruth and the Americans going on a tour to play in Japan Japanese baseball is very different from the American style, and the cultural differences help to explain why.There were excessive recaps of games that became repetitive There was also Japanese war history that I lost track of while listening My favorite part was about the establishment of professional baseball in Japan and the interactions American players had with Japanese locals The author also mentions Moe Berg and his spying throughout the book, but does so in a way where you are waiting for the next Moe Berg update.The length of the book is a bit long, but the details are worthwhile Less game recaps and play by play and I would have given it 4 stars All it was cracked up to be, andNot only was it absolutely 100% fascinating, but it was also informative, concise, precise or so it seems , and extremely well written Background stories about the introduction of baseball to Japan, the backgrounds and futures of some of the key players in the story, and the historical and dark events surrounding the tour were weaved in perfectly.A must read for anyone who is interested in baseball, and Japanese, history. I had such hopes from the intro, but alas this was mucha book about baseball than it was a book about history The focus of the book seemed to be just getting the 1934 tour off the ground The tour itself is maybe a chapter or two Instead it is a hundred pages of will Babe Ruth join the tour or not I liked the recap of Japan s historic affinity for US baseball, but that is just a few pages out of the whole. not your regular baseball history but a very interesting look at the 1934 tour or Japan. Banzai Babe Ruth sits at the intersection of baseball, Japan, WWII, and, of course, Babe Ruth At its core, it is the story of the 1934 tour of Japan by the All Americans, a group of professional players from various teams Packed around that story, however, are stories about the players who played those games, both American and Japanese, the story of how the trip came together in the first place, how that tour lead, directly, to the formation of a professional baseball league in Japan, and Banzai Babe Ruth sits at the intersection of baseball, Japan, WWII, and, of course, Babe Ruth At its core, it is the story of the 1934 tour of Japan by the All Americans, a group of professional players from various teams Packed around that story, however, are stories about the players who played those games, both American and Japanese, the story of how the trip came together in the first place, how that tour lead, directly, to the formation of a professional baseball league in Japan, and speculation about which of the American players may actually have been a spy for the OSS and if said spy s work helped the U.S plan the bombing of Tokyo.If all that sounds a little dense, it is far less so in the telling The stories are unfolded neatly, with obvious care and careful research from newspapers, magazines, and interviews from players and fans who were present during the time being presented The wealth of stories connect and play through each other clearly and easily, leading the reader to an understanding of both the outcome of the games and the time in which they were played In other words, it s a really good work of popular history.Like all good history books, there is not a single chapter that does not leave the reader cravinginformation Which is not to say that there is anything left unsaid, only that there is always, always far too much to ever be presented in a single volume Rather, a comment on Babe Ruth s souvenirs from his Japan tour leads to a trip down the internet rabbit howl, looking to satisfy one s curiosity as to what, exactly, The Babe considered a worthy artifact of personal history My one criticism is with the reading I listened to the version available on Audible.com While a strong narrative presence, narrator Robin Bloodworth seems to have had very little idea how to pronounce many of the Japanese names and words that crop up naturally in a volume of Japanese history That seems like the kind of thing to whichattention should have been paid Aside from that nitpick, the audio book version of Banzai Babe Ruth is a lot of fun.Recommended for those who love baseball but never knew that The Babe went to the far East More of a 3.5 but I ll round up because I found the subject matter so interesting I enjoyed reading this book It s a bit dry, especially in the beginning But when he starts talking about the baseball games he seemscomfortable and adept, the writing flows better There are numerous typos and grammatical errors in this book, again, mostly in the beginning or else I stopped noticing them after a while This is published by a university press so maybe they don t have the best editors sh More of a 3.5 but I ll round up because I found the subject matter so interesting I enjoyed reading this book It s a bit dry, especially in the beginning But when he starts talking about the baseball games he seemscomfortable and adept, the writing flows better There are numerous typos and grammatical errors in this book, again, mostly in the beginning or else I stopped noticing them after a while This is published by a university press so maybe they don t have the best editors shrug I don t know The title is also a little misleading Linking Koji Muranaka and Asaichi Isobe and their coup attempts with the 1934 baseball tour is a stretch Planned espionage by the Americans is doubtful and the author admits that But I guess including the words assassination and espionage in your title makes the book seem really interesting and I don t begrudge them trying to garner attention and get people to read the book And, really, I appreciate the fact that the author gave information on the atmosphere and nature of international and national politics in Japan at the time So, to sum up, good book, I recommend it In Novemberas the United States and Japan drifted toward war, a team of American League all stars that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, future secret agent Moe Berg, and Connie Mack barnstormed across the Land of the Rising Sun Hundreds of thousands of fans, many waving Japanese and American flags, welcomed the team with shouts of BanzaiBanzai, Babe Ruth The all stars stayed for a month, playinggames, spawning professional baseball in Japan, and spreading goodwill Politicians on both sides of the Pacific hoped that the amity generated by the tour and the two nations shared love of the game could help heal their growing political differences But the Babe and baseball could not overcome Japan s growing nationalism, as a bloody coup d tat by young army officers and an assassination attempt by the ultranationalist War Gods Society jeopardized the tour s success A tale of international intrigue, espionage, attempted murder, and, of course, baseball, Banzai Babe Ruth is the first detailed account of the doomed attempt to reconcile the United States and Japan through theAll American baseball tour Robert K Fitts provides a wonderful story about baseball, nationalism, and American and Japanese cultural history