Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Southpaw
Mark Harris


The Southpaw, the prequel to Bang the Drum Slowly, is a story about coming of age in America by way of the baseball diamond. Lefthander Henry Wiggen, six feet three, a hundred ninety-five pounds, and the greatest pitcher going, grows to manhood in a right-handed world. From his small-town beginnings to the top of the game, Henry finds out how hard it is to please his coach, his girl, and the sports page – and himself, too – all at once. Written in Henry’s own words, this exuberant, funny novel follows his eccentric course from bush league to the World Series. Although Mark Harris loves and writes tellingly about the pleasures of baseball, his primary subject has always been the human condition and the shifts of mortal men and women as they try to understand and survive what life has dealt them. In his introduction to this edition, Mark Harris discusses the genesis of the novel in his own life experience.

Paperback, 350pp
Bison Books, 2003 (1953)
ISBN 9780803273375