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Short Synopsis
The intriguing, inspiring history of one small, impoverished area in the Dominican Republic that has produced a staggering number of Major League Baseball talent, from an award-winning, bestselling author.

Full Synopsis
In the town of San Pedro in the Dominican Republic, baseball is not just a way of life. It's the way of life. By the year 2008, seventy-nine boys and men from San Pedro had gone on to play in the Major Leagues—that means one in six Dominican Republicans who have played in the Majors have come from one tiny, impoverished region. Manny Alexander, Sammy Sosa, Tony Fernandez, and legions of other San Pedro players who came up in the sugar mill teams flocked to the United States looking for opportunity, wealth, and a better life.

Because of the sugar industry and the influxes of migrant workers from across the Caribbean to work in the cane fields and factories, San Pedro is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the Dominican Republic. A multitude of languages are spoken there, and a variety of skin colors populate the community; but the one constant is sugar and baseball. The history of players from San Pedro is also a chronicle of racism in baseball, changing social mores in sports and in the Dominican Republic, and the personal stories of the many men who sought freedom from poverty through playing ball. The story of baseball in San Pedro is also that of the Caribbean in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and on a broader level opens a window into U.S. history.

As with Mark Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this small story, rich with anecdote and detail, becomes much larger than ever imagined. Kurlansky reveals two countries' love affair with a sport and the remarkable journey of San Pedro and its baseball players. In his distinctive style, he follows common threads and discovers wider meanings about place, identity, and, above all, baseball.

"Kurlansky homes in on a singular subject and magnifies its every facet under the brilliant light of his investigative reporting, his historical sensibility, and his lively storytelling." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"It's history. And sociology. And anthropology. And religion. And recipes. And a study of race. And recipes. And, oh yes, a smattering of baseball. In short, a pastiche. But an enticing one." ---The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A fantastic essay on the game of baseball and the sport dreams that unite---for better and worse---the US and the Dominican Republic." ---Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"Enticing and educational, a swell combination." ---The Denver Post

"Classic Kurlansky: take one small thing...and through it tell a big multi-faceted story.... It is a history of missed opportunities and bittersweet successes." ---Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents

"Intelligently analytical." ---The Christian Science Monitor

"Ed Sala offers an engaging narration that is reminiscent of a grizzled former ballplayer spinning yarns about his playing days." ---AudioFile
Publishers Weekly Review

The Eastern Stars

How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris

Author Mark Kurlansky

Narrated by Ed Sala

Publication date Apr 19, 2010

Running time 9 hrs

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