skygiants: Sokka from Avatar: the Last Airbender peers through an eyeglass (*peers*)
[personal profile] skygiants
A few months back, I discovered this in a used bookstore and ended up taking it home:



And this week seemed like a good time to experience the Cold War's Special Baseball Episode, so here we are.

A Pennant for the Kremlin is an extremely serious alternate history (written in 1964) in which an American millionaire decides to leave all his assets to the Soviet Union in an effort to cultivate world peace before unexpectedly keeling over dead. His assets include about ten major hotels, plus the Chicago White Sox.

The Soviets generously decide to give the hotels to the workers!, but decide to hang onto the White Sox for reasons of plot necessity, and send over a couple of Russians out of Central Casting to take over the management:

1) the malevolent career bureaucrat who sees everything as an Insult to the Party!
2) the sweet, gently comical one whose Job Is To Understand Baseball and, by taking his job very seriously, learns to love the sport for its own sake! AND IS BELOVED BY IT IN RETURN
3) the sweet one's beautiful daughter, who's just excited for the opportunity to go shopping for pretty dresses!

The sweet one bonds with the team's manager and flirts with the eccentric millionaire's spinster secretary; the beautiful daughter falls for the wildly anti-Communist baseball player, who Learns an Important Lesson that Soviets Are People Too (or at least attractive young Soviet women with a maximum of wide-eyed innocence and a minimum of Party ideals); and the malevolent one attempts various schemes For The Greater Glory Of The Soviet Union, much to the chagrin of our aw-shucks all-American baseball players, who just want the opportunity to chuck a good old American baseball without being buffeted by copies of the Daily Worker. The spinster secretary trips all around Chicago asking innocently for portraits of Lenin in order to make her new guests feel at home; the sweet Russian becomes an unexpectedly popular national celebrity when he gives all the players incentive bonuses, but forbids them from using their images to shill for Big Tobacco - think of the children! they should be ashamed of themselves! At one point, the Soviet agenda at a U.N. meeting is completely derailed while every representative takes their turn to wax rhapsodic about the signature sport of their home country. Baseball: it's transformative!

In the end, tragically, the White Sox win neither the World Series nor World Peace, but all the sympathetic Soviets get to stay in the U S of A, so I guess it's all right for some. The fellow who wrote the score for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying could probably make a heck of a mildly embarrassing musical out of it.

Date: 2017-05-17 01:38 am (UTC)
misbegotten: A big dog smile and the text HAHAHA (Animal Dog Hahaha)
From: [personal profile] misbegotten
I thank you for sharing this.

Date: 2017-05-17 02:15 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
This sounds suspiciously similar to Philip Roth's The Great American Novel

Date: 2017-05-17 02:21 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
LOL. For the record, Wikipedia's summary of The Great American Novel: "The novel concerns the Patriot League, a fictional American baseball league, and the national Communist conspiracy to eliminate its history because it has become a fully open communist organization."

Date: 2017-05-17 02:28 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
....omg, this sounds amazing.

Date: 2017-05-17 03:06 am (UTC)
sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
From: [personal profile] sovay
2) the sweet, gently comical one whose Job Is To Understand Baseball and, by taking his job very seriously, learns to love the sport for its own sake! AND IS BELOVED BY IT IN RETURN

Oh, hello, Felix Bressart, I was literally just watching you.

Date: 2017-05-17 04:51 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Timbuktu to Uttar Pradesh)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
I think I've seen this before! I have a vague recollection of the tagline. Probably in the ashram library, where many WTF books drifted ashore.

Date: 2017-05-17 04:56 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: green heart, grungey texture (Heart: green)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
O. M. G. I can't even with how much I want this to be a bad musical now.

Date: 2017-05-17 01:13 pm (UTC)
musesfool: a baseball and bat on the grass (the crack of ash on horsehide)
From: [personal profile] musesfool
This would be an AMAZING musical. I'm thinking of Silk Stockings now, only with BASEBALL instead of lingerie.

Date: 2017-05-19 12:40 pm (UTC)
gaudior: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gaudior
Plus The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming!

(I do not know how to make a backwards R.)

Date: 2017-05-17 02:45 pm (UTC)
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I kind of want to read this.

Date: 2017-05-17 06:38 pm (UTC)
gramarye1971: title card from Spitting Image's Soviet Election Special '87 (Election Specialski)
From: [personal profile] gramarye1971
So on description, I think I'd categorise this as Damn Yankees meets Ninotchka, for the romance aspect. I suspect that with a little reworking of the lyrics, I could probably rewrite the Damn Yankees book to make a musical of this!

Date: 2017-05-17 09:22 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I suspect that with a little reworking of the lyrics, I could probably rewrite the Damn Yankees book to make a musical of this!

"Six months out of every five-year plan . . ."

Date: 2017-05-17 11:48 pm (UTC)
gramarye1971: see http://xkcd.com/180/ (xkcd: Canada)
From: [personal profile] gramarye1971
I mean, I would not be averse to reading the book itself, if circumstances permit.

"Whatever Khrushchev wants, Khrushchev gets...."

Date: 2017-05-18 01:46 am (UTC)
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! curious (ohsnap_icons))
From: [personal profile] umadoshi
It sounds so bizarrely charming.

Profile

skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (Default)
skygiants

October 2017

S M T W T F S
12 34 567
8 910111213 14
151617 18192021
22232425262728
293031    

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 19th, 2017 11:26 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios