The idea of integrating baseball began as a dream in the mind of Branch Rickey. In 1947, as president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he defied racism on and off the field to bring Jackie Robinson into the major leagues, changing the sport and the nation forever. Rickey's is the classic American tale of a poor boy from Ohio whose deep-seated faith and dogged work ethic took him to the pinnacle of success, earning him a place in the Hall of Fame and in history. Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jimmy Breslin is a legend in his own right. In his inimitable anecdotal style, he provides a lively portrait of Rickey and his times, including such colorful characters as Dodgers' owner George V. McLaughlin (dubbed "George the Fifth" for his love of Scotch); diamond greats Leo Durocher, George Sisler, and Dizzy Dean; and Robinson himself, a man whose remarkable talent was equaled only by his resilience in the face of intolerance. Breslin brings to life the heady days when baseball emerged as the national pastime in this inspiring biography of a great American who remade a sport---and dreamed of remaking a country.
©2011 Jimmy Breslin (P)2011 Tantor
"Breslin's gift for easy-to-read yet hard-hitting prose will touch even those who aren't baseball fans." (Publishers Weekly)
I admit I went to read this after watching the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson. Also as an old (meaning I'm old) New York Giant baseball fan who lived and breathed the rivalry with the Brooklyn Dodgers I was interested. Also remember Jimmy Breslin's sports columns, how could I go wrong. I saw the movie and wondered how much about Branch Rickey was true, how much license had been taken. I was told Rickey was so much MORE than the movie portrayed and having read the book that was true. So you can read it as a baseball fan, as a student of the civil rights movement or just some interesting picture of life and hopefully how much it has changed.
perfect marriage of story and storyteller
gruff /egotistical / perceptive / decisive
could be said of both rickey and breslin
no attempt at a spineless review of facts
a deep focus on the telling details and meaning
the economy of storytelling only enhances the tale
4-15-47 the absolute greatest day in the history of baseball
white pompous evangelical farm boy/lawyer from ohio
black willful angry sharecropper's son from california/georgia
it took the stage of NYC to bring them together
the other owners voted 15-1 to stop rickey/robinson
only breslin's city could overcome them and make history
america at its' best / sport at its' best / new york at its' best
breslin rightly connects the dots to other watershed moments
best example of an audiobook i've heard in the last 5 years
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