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Selections from American Poetry
1915. (BERG, Morris “Moe”) BERG, Moe. Selections from American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (Riverside Press), 1915. Small octavo, original light brown paper covers. $1600.American literature textbook belonging to major league baseball player and OSS spy Moe Berg, “the one person qualified to sneak into Europe to determine the likelihood of a German A-bomb,” signed by him multiple times.“Moe Berg has long enjoyed a reputation as the most shadowy player in the history of baseball. Earning more notoriety for being a frontline spy than for being a backup catcher, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction in Berg’s undercover career” (Nick Acocella). “Berg got his start in baseball in 1906, at the age of four, playing catch with the beat policeman in front of his father’s pharmacy” (American Jewish Historical Society). “At the age of seven he played for the Roseville Methodist Episcopal Church baseball team under the less ethnic pseudonym ‘Runt Wolfe.’ In 1918 Berg graduated from Barringer High School. During his senior season, the Newark Star-Eagle selected a nine-man ‘dream team’ from the city’s best prep and public high school baseball players, and Berg was named the team’s third baseman” (Nicholas Dawidoff). After graduating from high school at the top of his class, Moe went to Princeton, where he studied seven languages and graduated magna cum laude. He also obtained a degree from the Sorbonne, and, while pursuing his career as a major league ballplayer, took a degree at Columbia’s Law School. And he was also a spy. Berg’s career as a spy began in 1934, when traveling to Tokyo as interpreter for an all-star team that included Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Gomez, he secretly took movies of the city. Eight years later, when General Jimmy Doolittle’s bombers raided Tokyo, their targets were plotted by referring to Berg’s film. In 1943 the OSS decided “there was only one person qualified to sneak into Europe to determine the likelihood of a German A-bomb” (and, if necessary, to assassinate Werner Heisenberg, head of Nazi Germany’s atom-bomb project). It was agreed that the man for the job was the former backup catcher for the Boston Red Sox. Fluent in German, Berg was sent to Zurich in December 1944, in order to attend a lecture by Heisenberg (Berg’s assessment of the situation was that Germany was not close to developing the bomb, and no attempt was ever made on Heisenberg’s life). This is Moe Berg’s high school textbook on American poetry, signed by him multiple times on the covers and designated “Room 41, Seat 3— 1 Row.” Countersigned on the title page by Berg’s older sister Ethel, with whom he lived in the last eight years of his life. Later ownership stamp on title page.Detached covers affixed with tape, closed tear to title page, faint dampstain to top margin of last several leaves. An unusual item of baseball and World War II memorabilia, in fairly good condition.
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-04-03           Check availability:      Biblio    


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