Bang the Drum Slowly

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The article is about the 1956 novel. For the 1973 film adaptation, see Bang the Drum Slowly (film).
Bang the Drum Slowly
Bang-the-Drum-Slowly.jpg
First edition hardback
Author Mark Harris
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publication date
1956
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN NA
Preceded by The Southpaw
Followed by Something about a Soldier

Bang the Drum Slowly is a novel by Mark Harris, a sequel to The Southpaw (1953). It was first published in 1956, and was later made into a 1956 U.S. Steel Hour television adaptation starring Paul Newman and a later film adaptation in 1973.

Harris's narrator Henry "Author" Wiggen, a star pitcher, tells the story of a baseball season with the New York Mammoths (a fictional team based on the New York Giants as noted in the author's book Diamond-The Baseball Writings of Mark Harris) -- a season notable for the team's success but blighted by the Hodgkin's Disease of catcher Bruce Pearson. Wiggen tries to be supportive of Pearson while concealing his illness.

The title comes from the song The Streets of Laredo, sung by one of the ballplayers (Piney Woods, a back-up catcher recently recalled from the minors) at a team gathering. The version of the song that he sings contains the lyrics, "O bang the drum slowly, and play the fife lowly...."

The novel is written in the vernacular, with idiosyncratic awkward writing by the "author" that Harris has "employed," pitcher Henry Wiggen.

The last line of the novel, "From here on in I rag nobody", was ranked number 95 on American Book Review′s "100 Best Last Lines from Novels" in 2008. [1]