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Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  3,659 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
The definitive account of the life and tragic death of baseball legend Lou Gehrig.

Lou Gehrig was a baseball legend—the Iron Horse, the stoic New York Yankee who was the greatest first baseman in history, a man whose consecutive-games streak was ended by a horrible disease that now bears his name. But as this definitive new biography makes clear, Gehrig’s life was more comp
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2005)
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Dec 28, 2014 Shaun rated it it was amazing
Oh that I've finally stopped crying, I guess I can try to do this book justice.

As the title suggests the first half of this book deals with Lou Gehrig's life...and what a life it was. Growing up, I went to my fair share of baseball games and was happy to cheer on our local Philly team, but it wasn't until I had kids and was sucked into the word of little league and travel ball that I came to hold a true affection for the game.

From March through the beginning of November, most of my week
Sep 01, 2013 Lance rated it it was amazing
Having not read a book on Lou Gehrig since middle school and wanting to learn more about the man, I picked up this book hoping to learn more about his playing career and how he dealt with the prospect of facing death. Those topics are certainly covered, but there is so much more to this book that it should be on every baseball fan’s list of books to read.

Meticulous research and superb writing make this book one of the most definitive biographies of Gehrig. The reader will learn about the
Scott Taylor
Feb 13, 2011 Scott Taylor rated it it was amazing
What made Lou Gehrig special? What made him the luckiest man? In many ways he was average but unlike most average people, though, he happened to be incredibly gifted as a baseball player and he came to have a devastating disease named after him. Those are the facts. I picked up this book -to find out the rest of the story, and mostly found it.

The book starts out with a description of that famous July 1939 day when Gehrig delivered his famous "luckiest man" speech. The audio CD version has actual
Jul 08, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I read this book while I was on vacation in New Jersey this summer and I never did get around to rating & reviewing it when I got back. But now with all this ice bucket action, I've decided to rectify the situation.

I'm really not a gal who follows sports, or likes sports, or has any interest at all in sports. Growing up, if someone had a game on the television, I found it so grating that I would go in another room and read. Okay, I still do that.

And yet, I really wanted to read this book.

Sean O
Jun 23, 2015 Sean O rated it really liked it
I was a Yankee fan as a child. The story of Lou Gehrig is one of the first real tragedies a baseball fan learns. The greatest first baseman to play the game, struck down in the prime of life. A great and powerful athlete, slowly losing his muscles one by one. A hero with humility. A man who should play second fiddle to none, sandwiched between Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio. Someone who ended his consecutive games played streak because he felt he could no longer contribute to the team.

This book wou
Mar 14, 2011 Mqcarpenter rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Looking through the glass of hindsight, everyone just flat out looks better. Life is funny that way. If you were mean in reality, history may classify you as "gritty." If you were thoughtful, history may remember you as "genius." Or if you were fat, you may be labeled as "stout and strong." The story of Lou Gehrig is not necessarily an example of this. In reality I will never know. The author will probably not know either. Lou is painted as larger than life in "Luckiest Man." He was thoughtful, ...more
There's an awful lot about baseball in this book. That should come as no surprise, as Lou Gehrig was famous for being a star baseball player. And I have to admit, I skimmed through a lot of the game descriptions--the play-by-play, if you will. I enjoy baseball, especially when beer and hot dogs are involved, but reading about it doesn't interest me.

What is interesting is reading about Gehrig's early life, his hardscrabble upbringing as the son of poor German immigrants. He was their only child t
Cheryl Gatling
Lou Gehrig was a shy man, simple in his tastes, and with an almost childlike naivete about him. Tongue-tied around reporters, he was never their darling, as the more flamboyant Babe Ruth was. But he just kept plugging away, and plugging away, and New Yorkers came to love him because he won for them. Until the magic seemed to slip away from him. He became weaker. He stumbled. He dropped things. Surely, a little rest, some nutrition, some physical therapy, or vitamin therapy, would bring him up to ...more
Robert Sparrenberger
Sep 11, 2013 Robert Sparrenberger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An excellent book about a great baseball player and perhaps a better human being. Humble, dedicated and never flashy Lou Gehrig is given a wonderful bio in this book. I enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish. Several interesting parts to this book.

1. The awesome numbers he put up in only 14 seasons with the Yankees.
2. His grace in which he handled his illness at the end. The letters written to his doctors were especially poignant. His hope to get better was so real but never to be.
3. Th
Feb 14, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved this book. It's a testament to both Gehrig and Eig that the book was a steady drumbeat of "this guy was really dull" and each page I thought "yes, but tell me more." Gehrig was just a guy who showed up every day and did his job really well. No flash, no asking for favors, uncomfortable with fame, drank minimally, didn't party, total mama's boy, married late. He was so dull he own teammates though he might still be a virgin into his late 20s. His one vice was that he was a heavy smoker, e ...more
Janine Urban
Nov 30, 2014 Janine Urban rated it it was amazing
There will never be another Lou Gehrig. This book was on my bookcase for over a year waiting to be read. I was leary of starting it because I knew how it ended and I didn't want it to break my heart. Needless to say, I opened it and I didn't make it past the prologue before I teared up. I am not a Yankees fan. My baseball team love lyes with another. But I believe that there are players, such as Gehrig, that transcend fan lines. Gehrig was a model player. On the field and in life. In spite of ad ...more
David Carraturo
Aug 25, 2015 David Carraturo rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best baseball books - biographies I have ever read. I am a huge Lou Gehrig fan and have been looking for a complete story of his life to read for quite some time. Jonathan Eig poured in a tremendous amount of research, brought the reader back to the depression era seemlessly and also explained ALS thoroughly. The greatest baseball player of all time and his life story needs to be read by all - not just baseball fans. Luckiest Man is the real "Pride of the Yankees" story and s ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it
Just so you know, I bought this book before the ALS Ice bucket challenge, and if all you participants and donors want to know something about the disease you donated to and the man it's unofficially named after, then read this. I thought it was a well-researched book full of detail and era-related tidbits and and tons of baseball stats and knowledge. But, and here's the but, I thought the book, like it's said about the man Gehrig himself in this book, for all his accomplishments, it lacked "colo ...more
Aug 15, 2014 Jan rated it it was amazing
I found this story rich in detail about one of the greatest baseball players, his life in baseball and what a courageous man he was, on and off the field. Until this reading, the movie with Gary Cooper was the only reference I could make to Lou Gehrig. I loved the little pieces of history Eig included in his well-researched book and how he dealt with the disease that took his life. And, here we are, some 75 years later and still no cure has been found for ALS.
Chris Conrey
Nov 28, 2009 Chris Conrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
Great look into the quietest superstar to play the game. If you are a fan of baseball at all, this is worth your time to refresh your history.
Michael Stetz
Sep 27, 2016 Michael Stetz rated it really liked it
Lou Gehrig. Poor bastard.
May 06, 2017 Christina rated it liked it
Let me start by saying I am a huge sports fan in general. Baseball is one of my favorite sports and Lou Gehrig is my absolute favorite baseball player - if not one of my favorite sports heroes. So why did I give a 3 star rating? I'd call it more like 3.5 star. I guess I was hoping to learn more about the man and less about his baseball achievements. I get it, it's a book about a baseball player so there will be baseball details. For me the game play by play, etc. was a little too much because I ...more
John Whyte
May 19, 2017 John Whyte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographys, sports
One of the best sports biographies I've read.
Luan Morina
May 09, 2017 Luan Morina rated it it was amazing
more than baseball, more than for a baseball legend, this book is a story about ALS, a story about life... fantastically written biography for Lou
Don LaFountaine
Jan 07, 2013 Don LaFountaine rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography about Lou Gehrig as much as I did when I read it over 10 years ago. Lou Gehrig was the greatest 1st baseman in Yankee history, and arguably the greatest 1st baseman in Major League baseball history. With that said, what many people seem to know about Lou Gehrig are two things…long streak – died young. This book goes into depth about the life of this great person.

Lou Gehrig was born to immigrant parents who came to America in the last of the 19th century. They
M. Milner
Aug 15, 2012 M. Milner rated it really liked it
A detailed, meticulously researched and heartbreaking read, Jonathan Eig's biography of Lou Gehrig is one of the better sports biographies I've read, even if there's a few things that kept irking me about it.

To most. Gehrig has come down to us for two things: a famous speech he made on July 4, 1939 (and what lends this book it's title) and a mind-blogging streak of consecutive games played, never mind that it's been broken. This book does a lot to show how important he was: a powerful hitter, a
Jan 10, 2010 Fmartija rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, 2010
Many of us know Lou Gehrig primarily for the disease that afflicted him and carries his namesake. "Luckiest Man" wonderfully opens up the world of Lou Gehrig as a person and as one of, if not the greatest, first basemen ever to play the game of baseball.

Lou Gehrig was a superstar caliber player without the big booming personality that we usually associate with superstar players of that level. He was a cornerstone player in an era of some of the greatest New York Yankees teams to ever take the f
Diana Ortega
Dec 26, 2016 Diana Ortega rated it it was amazing
If you know anyone with ALS, this will surely make you cry. This brought many memories back from when my dad fought ALS, since it paralleled Lou Gehrig's diagnosis, daily struggle, and untimely death. Hearing about his baseball stats was amazing, and knowing how he lived a humble life as such a superstar in his heyday intrigued me.
Chris Witt
Mar 28, 2011 Chris Witt rated it really liked it
Similar to my issues with Eig's book on Jackie Robinson, this occasionally reads as though somebody leafed through Wikipedia entries and put together a blow-by-blow account of Gehrig's life.

However, it's a step better than that and ultimately enjoyable. Also have to give Eig credit for putting together a biography of a man whose personality doesn't exactly lend itself well to a 350-page reads. Gehrig was basically a quiet guy who went about his work. But Eig brings him to life. You get everythin
Zach Koenig
Aug 25, 2014 Zach Koenig rated it it was amazing
The life of Lou Gehrig is almost ready-made for the biographical treatment in pretty much any way imaginable. It contains the requisite amount of success, adversity, and drama to make it more compelling than anything a fiction writer could ever come up with.

The great thing about this book, however, is that it follows the "K-I-S-S" ("keep it simple, stupid") method of writing. Whereas some bios will spend pages and pages talking about the lives of the subject's parents or other sometimes mundane
Andy Miller
Aug 20, 2014 Andy Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thoroughness of this fine biography ties together and explains the different parts of Gehrig's life. The upbringing by his parents who isolated themselves and were of modest means amidst affluence(as shown by his mother's cooking and cleaning at a fraternity that Gehrig would visit while an athlete at Columbia) explain Gehrig's later shyness and aloofness. His initial physical awkwardness explains both his later work ethic and needless insecurity about his baseball skills. It also explains h ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Andre rated it it was amazing
This was a great biography, but the deeper into the story I got, the more difficult the book was to read. That is the result of superb writing. Jonathan Eig did as thorough a job as possible of getting into the details of Lou Gehrig's illness and physical deterioration. The muscular atrophy, search for diagnosis, loss of motor skills, and search for answers are painful to read.

Most biographies are of people who are no longer with us, and we know the ending going in, but rare are those whose deat
Bonni Sweet
I have loved reading about Lou Gehrig since my days in Jr high when I first read about him. Maybe it was the fact that we shared the same birthday. Maybe it was the fact that he worked so hard at something he wanted very much. He never expected anything to be given to him without working for it. I'm in no way a die hard baseball fan. I like to watch it when I can but this man lived for it, as I lived for my sport of choice growing up. He practiced and followed the rules and continued to be the b ...more
Jun 17, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it
This is the amazing story of an amazing man. I have been a lifelong fan of Lou Gehrigs, but I've never known his full story. I had seen Pride of the Yankees many years ago, and got a sense of his character and personality, but learned upon reading this book that there is so much more to Gehrig's story. This book added to my understanding, and helped me understand the events surrounding his tragic demise at the hands of ALS. I also wasn't sure about the details surrounding his death, I just knew ...more
May 24, 2013 Al rated it really liked it
If you come to this biography of Lou Gehrig only remembering the Disease (ALS) that would end the Streak (most consecutive Major League ball games played) and result in the Speech (“Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”), you will be rewarded with much more than the man’s heroism in the face of a bleak future; you will revel in the story of one of the most accomplished and unusual men to ever play Major League Baseball. Author Jonathan Eig has done a brilliant job r ...more
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Jonathan Eig is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a New York Times best-selling author who has written four books: "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig;" "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season;" "Get Capone;" and "The Birth of the Pill."
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“He loved baseball so much that he sometimes went home after a game, rounded up a few of the kids from the neighborhood, and played in the street until dark.” 0 likes
“The Gotham boys have a first baseman, Louis Gehrig, who is called the ‘Babe Ruth’ of the high schools,” wrote the Chicago Tribune.” 0 likes
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