The golem's mighty swing
James Sturm delivers this compelling picture novella about a barnstorming Jewish baseball team. Set in the 1920s, the story opens as The Stars of David travel from town to town earning a living by playing local squads. They all sport beards, a gimmick to attract patrons. When financial difficulties threaten to end their season they cast their lot with a Chicago promoter, Victor Paige. Paige, after seeing the German film Der Golem (a huge silent film success), procures the costume worn in the film and has one of the Stars of David don the costume.
Using newspaper articles and broadsides, Paige aggressively trumpets the coming of the Golem and proceeds to transform a baseball game into a mythical pageant. He fills the stadium but also stokes the flames of anti-Semitism. Winning the game for the Stars of David becomes less important then surviving it.
At the heart of baseball is the goal of getting home. Jewish history reflects this goal as well. The Golem's Mighty Swing examines what it means to belong to both your new country and your old traditions. It is a classic baseball story about what it means to be an American.
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