As a part of popular culture, sport has made a deep impression in American life. And nowhere is this clearer than in baseball, the game that seems to transcend generations and has made its way into our language and literature. In The National Game, John Rossi offers not only an expert overview of baseball over the past 175 years; he shows how the game has reflected and contributed to changes in American society over that time. The country grew up playing baseball, Mr. Rossi notes, but the professional game took hold in the cities of the Northeast just as the nation was transforming itself from a rural to an urban society. Essentially a middle-class attempt to create a club sport, the game began early on to integrate immigrant groups—and over the years it became an important pathway to acceptance for all kinds of outsiders. The National Game chronicles baseball's popular successes and financial failures; its interleague wars and continuing struggles between owners and players; and its accommodations to radio and television—without neglecting the colorful players and managers who have won the hearts of fans. For a readable, concise history of the game and its place in American culture, Mr. Rossi's book is hard to beat. With 10 black-and-white photographs.