Johnny DiAngelo is a talented eighteen-year old pitcher from Brooklyn, NY who dreams of playing baseball in the major leagues. In 1963, he finally gets that opportunity when he is signed by the Washington Senators. He is sent to their Class D League team located in Monroe City, Georgia.
The natural beauty of this small town belies the tensions of segregation and racism that permeated the South for almost two centuries. Johnny becomes close friends with the team’s catcher, Lyle Agee, the first black player in the history of the Southern Baseball Conference. This makes them and their teammates the targets of the white supremacist group in town, who will stop at nothing to preserve the “Southern way of life.”
Johnny meets and falls in love with Emily James, who works at the local luncheonette. As the daughter of a career Air Force officer, Emily has lived in many places around the world, but has never met anyone with as big of a heart as Johnny.
The coach of the Blues team is Henry “Dobie” Carey, a 70-year old ex-minor league pitcher. Dobie becomes a mentor and father figure to Johnny and Lyle who, along with their teammates, must stand up to Bryce Bodine, the son of the town’s wealthiest man and the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in Monroe City. Bodine and his friends use intimidation, threats and even violence to impose their bigotry. Dobie, by his example and words, helps Johnny and Lyle deal with the harsh realities they must face. He not only coaches them, but also teaches them about life and becoming men. Set against our National Pastime of baseball during an extraordinarily volatile period in modern American history, Monroe City Blues is a tale of love, loss, loyalty, friendship and tolerance. Most of all, it’s about never giving up on your dreams.
“WHAT MAKES A GREAT NOVEL IS A GREAT STORY, AND THAT’S WHAT MONROE CITY BLUES IS. A STORY THAT WILL PROFOUNDLY MOVE AND INSPIRE THE READER.” – East Coast Book Review
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