Philip Roth, The Great American Novel, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1973, 400 pages. Philip Roth, the Great American Writer and Storyteller gives us this story of the comic tale about the American game of Baseball as told by Word Smith (Smitty) (from Moby Dick), having discussed the Great American Novel with Ernest Hemmingway many years earlier while they were fishing together on a fishing boat out on the big wide ocean. Word Smith, the once great sportswriter for One Man's Opinion back in the 30's and 40's is now living at the Valhalla Home for the Aged in Valhalla, New York. He is considered to be mentally infirm or cracked by his doctors, peers, and colleagues; and also to be an expert at Alliteration. Word Smith knows the stuff no one else knows about the Great American Game of Baseball and he's telling the story of what happened through rbi's, infielders, outfielders, centerfielders, right and left fielders and the pitcher, pinch hitter and umpire. Then he tells about the teams and players and managers - Luke Gofannon, Mike the Mouth, Gil Gamesh, Issac Ellis and Roland Agni. There is Ulysses S. Fairsmith, manager of the Rupert Mundys, the only homeless baseball team in baseball history; and General Oakhurt, President of the Patriot League. And there is Angela Whittling Trust who in her later years from 50 on through her 70's has affairs with America's brightest and youngest and fit baseball players - Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Gil Gamesh, and her favorite - Luke Gofannon.
The Patriot League was active before and during World War II. Before the war it was one of the greatest leagues in America. However during the War, the men left behind who hadn't become American soldiers, became members of the teams of the Patriot League. Although considered to be misfits, they played excellent Baseball. But the Patriot League had a downfall with the investigation of American Baseball by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Communists had infiltrated baseball and were trying to destroy America's Great Game - Baseball. The Patriot League was especially vulnerable and more then half the League was ousted from Baseball for Communist activities. The Patriot League disappeared after the War, never to be heard of again or to be written up in the archives of American Baseball History.