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But he will hardly find the Babe's name in the headlines.
(In April, 1919, Ruth made one home run; in May, two; but the season was much further advanced before sporting writers began to notice that he was running up a new record for swatting--twenty-nine home runs for the year; the season had closed before the New York Yankees, seeing gold in the hills, bought him for 5,000; and the summer of 1920 had arrived before a man died of excitement when he saw Ruth smash a ball into the bleachers, and it became clear that the mob had found a new idol.
Further research will undoubtedly disclose errors and deficiencies in the book, and the passage of time will reveal the shortsightedness of many of my judgments and interpretations.
For example, the story of the Harding scandals (in so far as it is now known) has never been written before except in fragments, and although the Big Bull Market has been analyzed and discussed a thousand times, it has never been fully presented in narrative form as the extraordinary economic and social phenomenon which it was.
(Alcock and Brown have not yet crossed the ocean in a single hop; they will do it a few weeks hence, eight long years ahead of Lindbergh.) But there is other news, too: of the Peace Conference at Paris, where the Treaty is now in its later stages of preparation; of the successful oversubscription of the Victory Loan ("Sure, we'll finish the job!
" the campaign posters have been shouting); of the arrival of another transport with soldiers from overseas; of the threat of a new strike; of a speech by Mayor Ole Hanson of Seattle denouncing that scourge of the times, the I. W.; of the prospects for the passage of the Suffrage Amendment, which it is predicted will enable women to take "a finer place in the national life"; and of Henry Ford's libel suit against the Chicago Tribune--in the course of which he will call Benedict Arnold a writer, and in reply to the question, "Have there been any revolutions in this country? Smith attends closely to the sporting news, he may find obscure mention of a young pitcher and outfielder for the Boston Red Sox named Ruth.
Professor Preston William Slosson, in The Great Crusade and After, has carried his story almost to the end of this period, but the scheme of his book is quite different from that of mine; and although many other books have dealt with one aspect of the period or another, I have been somewhat surprised to find how many of the events of those years have never before been chronicled in full.
Obviously the writing of a history so soon after the event has involved breaking much new ground.
This e Book is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. (I select that particular date, six months after the Armistice of 1918, because by then the United States had largely succeeded in turning from the ways of war to those of peace, yet the profound alterations wrought by the Post-war Decade had hardly begun to take place.) There is no better way of suggesting what the passage of a few years has done to change you and me and the environment in which we live. Smith as he comes to the breakfast table on this May morning in 1919, you would hardly know that you are not in the nineteen-thirties (though you might, perhaps, be struck by the narrowness of his trousers). She wears low shoes now, for spring has come; but all last winter she protected her ankles either with spats or with high laced "walking-boots," or with high patent-leather shoes with contrasting buckskin tops.
Not until June 26, 1919, will the New York Daily News reach the newsstands, beginning a career that will bring its daily circulation in one year to nearly a quarter of a million, in five years to over four-fifths of a million, and in ten years to the amazing total of over one million three hundred thousand. Smith's paper are headlines telling of the progress of the American Navy seaplane, the NC-4, on its flight across the Atlantic via the Azores.
That flight is the most sensational news story of May, 1919.
) In the sporting pages there may be news of Bobby Jones, the seventeen-year-old Southern golf champion, or of William T.
Tilden, Jr., who is winning tennis tournaments here and there, but neither of them is yet a national champion. Smith discuss a burning subject, the High Cost of Living. Smith is hoping for an increase in salary, but meanwhile the family income seems to be dwindling as prices rise.