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Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of…
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Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball

by Roger Kahn

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This is an odd book. It is consistently interesting, but it doesn't always hold together.

Part of the problem is that Kahn is an opinionated guy, and he presents his opinions as obvious. So that's a little grating if you don't agree with his world view. He gives a fair amount of personal detail about some of the people he talks about; most of them are dead so I guess he feels free to do that. He is very laudatory towards Rickey and I'm not sure that's deserved. I tend to doubt "great man" versions of history; I think Kahn exaggerates Rickey's "courage" and I think he also exaggerates the threat that baseball might have been shut down by a players' strike against Robinson.

Another problem is that the book isn't well edited or proofread. There is repetition that doesn't serve a purpose, and there are stupid errors that probably come from relying on a spell-checker. It is a little hard to follow; the flow isn't really clear. Kahn flips back and forth from 1947 to the mid 50's when he was covering the Dodgers. So it isn't always clear whether he is reporting his own experience or what he has heard.

But the book has a lot of detail about the day-to-day life of baseball in New York in that period, and Kahn has talked to a lot of the people involved, and at length.
  franoscar | May 5, 2015 |
Kahn is one of baseball's enduring author treasures and he was a friend of both Rickey and Robinson and even co-authored a periodical with Jackie. He provides an interesting perspective on Rickey's decision to sign Robinson and break the baseball color barrier. Although Rickey, known as " El Cheapo" certainly had economic and altruistic motives, Kahn argues that it was not solely a profit driven decision. Other owners could have assumed the role of pioneer and declined. There was nobility in Rickey taking the initiative. Sadly, he did not proceed with equal vigor in protecting Robinson, particularly in respect to salary, forcing Jackie to live in shabby surroundings in New York at the outset.
An intriguing perspective on the Robinson drama and as always with Kahn - extremely well written. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
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