Reviewed by Sharon S.

Lately, the game of baseball has taken many hits but remains one of America’s favorite pastimes. With every spring, we are fascinated by the possibilities of our home team bringing home a pennant. The Eastern Starsexplains many things about the evolution of the game over the last thirty years, the influx of Latin players and their impact on America’s game.

The town of San Pedro has become the epicenter of baseball recruitment in Latin America and many of the stars that you are familiar with hail from San Pedro. Mark Kurlansky tells the compelling tale of the nation of Dominican Republic: the country that shares an island with Haiti.

Like all good stories, the book has its share of heroes and villains. Sammy Sosa, the baseball media darling, gets his share. I was disturbed by recent coverage of his skin lighting and other odd behavior ala Michael Jackson. Kurlansky discusses Sammy, the good and the bad.

The tale is not solely centered on Sammy Sosa and other baseball superstars. Kurlansky writes about journeyman baseball players and the baseball academies run by the American baseball leagues. He writes about racial prejudice in baseball, the lack of African American players and the recruitment of poor San Pedro youth whose families pick baseball over education.

The Eastern Stars is the San Pedro home team that Kulansky uses to illustrate the impact of baseball on the town of San Pedro. The Eastern Stars players are baseball stars that come home to play in the winter league, talented youth eager for the opportunity to showcase their skills. Cursed the team may be, they still win.

The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris is a must read. It has elements that any reader can enjoy. As a casual baseball fan, I was mesmerized by the little town of San Pedro and the stories of the baseball players.

Rating: 4.5/5

This book was provided free of any obligation by Riverhead. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.