Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig” as Want to Read:
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  3,336 Ratings  ·  191 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
ebook, 432 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Luckiest Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Luckiest Man

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 08, 2015 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 04, 2015 Lance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Scott Taylor
Feb 13, 2011 Scott Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sean O
Jul 27, 2016 Sean O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Janine Urban
Dec 13, 2014 Janine Urban rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert Sparrenberger
May 30, 2015 Robert Sparrenberger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2011 Mqcarpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 07, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 24, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Luckiest Man is an excellent biography on the Yankee great. The research and coverage is almost exhaustive and reads partially like a descriptive box score (when detailing Gehrig’s baseball career) and a verbatim transcript of his interactions with doctors and families (when covering the later years). The author is able to use the correspondence between Gehrig and his family members, doctors, and others to craft and almost “fly on the wall” overview of the events that led to his unfortunate reti ...more
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
Dec 21, 2014 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-favorites
Lou Gehrig should always be a national hero and I'm not talking about his baseball talent. He led a life of gratitude. Grateful for the opportunity to play a game he loved and earn enough to support his family. He led the New York Yankees by example: always in by curfew, keeping himself in peak condition, never squabble about pay and gave his all every night night on the field. Some team mates were turned off by his shyness, but they never doubted his work and tolerated the rest. He is still ove ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lee Schnitzer
May 14, 2016 Lee Schnitzer rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal book. I was born and bred a Yankees fan and grew up hearing the stories of the Yankees of old. One of my mom's favorite movies was 'Pride of the Yankees' with Gary Cooper. I've seen this movie more times than I can count. A few weeks ago, I rewatched it and thought of how 'dramatized' the story was, and that I'd never really sat down and read the REAL story about the real Lou Gehrig.

So I did some research and found 'Luckiest Man'. I started reading it and couldnt put it down. It was a
Vicki Davis
Jul 23, 2014 Vicki Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book about a courageous, humble man, a man of tremendous integrity. Lou Gehrig lived most of his amazing baseball life in the shadow of the more colorful Babe Ruth, but he never seemed to mind. He believed in hard work and showed that as he set an amazing record for most consecutive games played (a record that was not broken until Cal Ripken), practiced hard to master first base, and was one of the most amazing, natural power hitters the game has ever seen. However, he showe ...more
Kieran Fearey
Growing up, I was the only kid I knew who had any idea who Lou Gehrig was. His story and the man he was had been a huge inspiration to me since i was young. This book will not only amplify any respect you have for him as the man, but magnify Lou Gehrig the person. We get to see him from his humble beginnings all the way up to his tragic death. The books descriptive powers are able to chronologically lay out not only the legend... but the actual person. We get to see letters and interviews that s ...more
Apr 08, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good documentary of the life of Lou Gehrig. It begins when his parents meet and goes to his death. The story shows his love of baseball and his mother. It is unclear as to whether he ever knew how serious his disease was or if he was ever told because his medical records were sealed at the time and unavailable to this author. It could have been possible that he knew but chose not to address that fact and who could blame him.

He was an unsung baseball hero till towards the end of his career
Sep 12, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Even for a non-avid baseball fan I thought it was pretty fascinating. It was interesting to read more of baseball's historic beginnings; the fascination with the game. People sat on rooftops to watch the Yankees after 40,000 people had filled the stadium. This is baseball at it's finest! Sadly Lou Gehrig died of ALS at the prime of his life; it is to this day a disease associated with him. I guess it was fitting that I read this book during the ice bucket challenge. Nothing ab ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking story to be sure. This story was extensively researched and well told by the author. There are a lot of baseball statistics, especially in the first half of the book, but instead of being tedious and boring I felt they drew me into the story and made me a spectator who witnessed,first-hand, some of the greatest baseball ever played.

I'm always amazed at how people can turn so heartless in the face of a great loss. It may have been no secret that Lou Gehrig's wife (Eleanor) and hi
Chris Conrey
May 28, 2013 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.
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
Apr 22, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 23, 2010 Andre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2010 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball fans
I've always been fascinated by Lou Gehrig. While most baseball fans as kids grow up idolizing Babe Ruth, I was drawn to Gehrig. So much so, in fact, that I remember dressing up as him for a 'living wax museum' that my fourth-grade class put on. I memorized all kinds of stuff about his life and then, sadly, his untimely death.

Jonathan Eig has written THE Gehrig biography and has done so in a way that reveals not only the brilliance and power of the ballplayer, but also the sensitivity, insecurity
Jun 05, 2013 Al rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2010 Fmartija rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
M. Milner
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sports books: Best baseball biography 20 7 May 03, 2013 08:32PM  
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero
  • The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • Cobb: A Biography
  • I Was Right On Time
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
  • Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero
  • Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History
  • October 1964
  • 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports
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."
More about Jonathan Eig...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…