The Death and Resurrection of Baseball: Echoes from a Distant Past by William R Douglas

A gentler than typical entry in the post-apocalyptic canon, Douglas’ novel opens with a classic cinematic set-up. It’s one straight out of Spielberg’s oeuvre, or else something by Stephen King.

Death of Baseball Two boys from small-town Illinois, Joe and Teddy, explore a desolate woodland, a former battlefield, doing so very much without adult permission.

The battlefield in question, once riddled with unexploded mines, evokes a chilling, not entirely impossible future. The novel’s U.S. fractures into sectarianism and a brutal second civil war, followed by a century of tentative political, environmental, economic and social recovery.

Equally devastating is an electro-magnetic-pulse attack towards the end of the war, one that destroys all electronics, reverting much of the globe to ‘horse and buggy mode’, erasing vast swathes of human knowledge. Though heavy on exposition, the novel evokes just how such a scenario might unfold in frightening detail.

The boys discover relics from a long-abandoned baseball field, relics of an ‘extinct’ sport no longer played in the 2100s.

The discovery soon pulls in the adults in their lives, the sport becomes a catalyst for a grassroots movement, media excitement and re-building a community.

William Douglas’s The Death and Resurrection of Baseball stands as a passionate hymn to the power of sport to unite, and the place of baseball specifically in American identity.

Written in folksy prose that nods to classic sports movies like The Natural or Field of Dreams, it’s lively enough for younger readers and populated with appealing, gutsy characters.

Though in many ways familiar, even to those with no grounding in the sport, the story proves warm, stirring and irresistible to all but the most hardened of cynics.