Cover image for Defending Baltimore against enemy attack a boyhood year during World War II
Defending Baltimore against enemy attack a boyhood year during World War II
Osgood, Charles.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Haven, MI : Brilliance Audio, [2004]

Physical Description:
3 audio discs (3 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:

Compact disc.
Personal Subject:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D811.5 .O75 2004D Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



The year is 1942. Charles Osgood is a nine-year-old living in Baltimore. His idols are Franklin Roosevelt and Babe Ruth, a hometown hero. Charlie spends his days delivering newspapers on his daily route, riding the trolley to the local amusement park, going to Orioles' baseball games, and playing with his younger sister, Mary Ann. With great attention to detail, Osgood captures the texture of life in a very different era, before anyone had heard of penicillin or the atomic bomb. In his neighborhood of Liberty Heights, gas lights glowed on every corner, milkmen delivered bottles of milk, and a loaf of bread cost nine cents. Although Osgood had many interests as a child, what captivated him more than anything else was the radio. He would listen huddled under the covers, after his parents had turned off the lights, to Spiderman, Superman, The Lone Ranger, the Shadow - and of course baseball.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

For a nine-year-old boy living in Baltimore, 1942 was as memorable for the childhood mischief of plaguing the nuns at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school and making stink bombs for national defense as theapanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Conceding the tendency to sugarcoat childhood memories, Osgood renders sharp details of a life he insists was actually simpler and sweeter, even with the threat of war. In contrast to the arranged play dates of today's children, Osgood remembers walking out the front door and gathering other children for an impromptu baseball game. Radio figured prominently in childhood entertainment and imagination, leaving its mark on a boy who would later make a career in both television and radio. Osgood recalls listening to favorites Captain Midnight, Dick Tracy,0 and Superman.0 The beloved Baltimore Orioles and a local amusement park expanded the fun beyond his neighborhood of Liberty Heights. Osgood also recalls the underlying menace of blackout shades and air raid sirens, the sense of unity and duty in the neighborhood victory gardens, and collecting scrap metal and old newspapers to help the war effort. A warm, humorous look at the nation at war from a boy's perspective. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Osgood's memoir of growing up in Baltimore's Liberty Heights neighborhood circa 1942 echoes with the same measured cadence and disarmingly simple structure that the anchor uses in his CBS radio and TV broadcasts. The Emmy Award-winning broadcaster pulls readers into a seductive world, as he relates his obsession with baseball, his love of radio programs (which had a "profound influence" on him) and his experiences with other slices of Americana. Yet the war news affected Osgood, too, if in a minor way: he built a stink bomb with a friend ("weapons of mass disgust to waft at the enemy"), pinned a tiny Japanese flag over Manila on the map mounted on his bedroom wall and wondered "just how much of Africa needed liberating." His reminiscences are a basic nostalgic archetype, where plucky kids, strong families and sunny optimism are the order of the day, compared with Osgood's version of today's world, where ill-educated and pessimistic masses throng America's streets. The author talks about how, as a child aged eight to 12, he simply wanted to make people happy, imagining that if he were a child today, he'd be sent to a psychiatrist for such behavior. The golden-hued streets of Osgood's Liberty Heights are a bona fide paradise, drenched with more nostalgia than even Barry Levinson could offer, without a shred of acknowledgment of memory's distortion of events over time. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Bill Adler. (May) Forecast: Father's Day promos, an author tour and inevitable plugs on the radio will boost sales to baby boomers and their parents. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved