TV and Media Veteran
Author - "September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series"
Skip Desjardin, the author of “September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series,” is a television veteran who now works for Google, where he oversees sports and local content for the company’s ground-breaking new businesses – YouTube TV and Google Fiber.
Over the course of a 35-year career in the media, Desjardin has changed the way we watch television. In the 1980s he helped launch the country’s first regional sports network, then pioneered the pay-per-view business in the 1990s as the head of PPV for the World Wrestling Federation in the heyday of WrestleMania. As an executive at ESPN in the 2000s, Desjardin launched the company’s first digital network, its interactive TV services and the first-ever video-on-demand agreement for a basic cable network. Later, he was executive producer of the Walt Disney Company’s first sponsored webisodes, for which he won three Telly Awards and was a 2008 Webby Award honoree.
A native of Maine, Desjardin holds two degrees from the University of Notre Dame and lives in Connecticut.
WAR PLAGUE AND THE WORLD SERIES
Published: August 27, 2018
One hundred years ago, in September 1918, three things came to Boston: war, plague, and the World Series.
This is the unimaginable story of that late summer month, in which a division of Massachusetts militia volunteers led the first unified American fighting force into battle in France, turning the tide of World War I. Meanwhile the world’s deadliest pandemic—the Spanish Flu—erupted in Boston and its suburbs, bringing death on a terrifying scale first to military facilities and then to the civilian population. At precisely the same time, in a baseball season cut short on the homefront and amidst the surrounding ravages of death, a young pitcher named Babe Ruth rallied the sport’s most dominant team, the Boston Red Sox, to a World Series victory—the last World Series victory the Sox would see for 86 years.
In September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series, the riveting, intertwined stories of this remarkable month introduce readers to a richly diverse cast of characters: David Putnam, a Boston teenager and America’s World War I Flying Ace; a transcendent Babe Ruth and his teammates, battling greedy owners and a hostile public; unknown political functionary Calvin Coolidge, thrust into managing the country’s first great public health crisis by an absentee governor; and New England’s soldiers, enduring trench warfare and poisonous gas to drive back German forces.
At the same time, other stories were also unfolding: Boston suffrage leader Maud Wood Park was fighting for women’s right to vote, even as they flexed their developing political muscle; poet E.E. Cummings, an Army private found himself stationed at the center of a biological storm; and Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge maneuvered as the constant rival of a sitting wartime president.
In the tradition of Erick Larsen's bestselling Devil in the White City, September 1918 is a haunting three-dimensional recreation of a moment in history almost too cinematic to be real.
Praise for "September 1918"
Robert Simari, MD
“Many of us — OK, all of us — were raised to believe the only thing going on in September of 1918 was the Red Sox and their march to yet another World Series championship. What Skip Desjardin teaches us in “September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series,” is that life is never so simple. His trip back in time is rich in detail and sparkles with interesting characters, making this a must-read for anyone with an interest in Boston history — sports or otherwise.”
Boston Red Sox
"Skip Desjardin has artfully weaved the disparate threads of baseball, war and pandemic to give us an unforgettable portrait of a singular month in our history. From seminal figures like Babe Ruth to souls lost in the mists of time like David Putnam, the teen-ager who became America's top flying ace, Desjardin guides us through the playing fields of Fenway Park, the battlefields of France, and the hospital wards of Massachusetts to tell a story that will appeal to sports fans and students of history alike."
Executive Vice Chancellor
University of Kansas Medical Center
"Rarely do so many streams of history run through a single time and place. Desjardin’s debut weaves the amazing tale of a worldwide biologic pandemic and government misinformation which feels as cautionary as is does historic. 'September 1918' is a page turner that offers a unique glimpse into a pivotal point in world history, and a stark reminder of the fragile nature of public health in a shrinking global environment."
SKIP DESJARDIN DISCUSSES "SEPTEMBER 1918" WITH BOSTON RED SOX HISTORIAN GORDON EDES
A Q&A with author Skip Desjardin and Boston Red Sox team historian Gordon Edes highlighted the 7th Annual Early Baseball in Boston lecture series sponsored by the Gibson House Museum in Boston.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF
1918 RED SOX SEASON
Watch Skip Desjardin's interview as part of NESN's special recounting the 100th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox 1918 championship season.