Tung's Reviews > Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series

Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof
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Jan 09, 08

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 2006

The nonfiction account of the 1919 World Series and the Chicago “Black Sox” scandal. Asinof relates the short history of baseball through 1919 and the prevalent gambling and cheating that grew as the game’s popularity grew. He describes the power of the club owners, and their mistreatment and abuse of the players that drove the players’ plan to throw the World Series. Asinof documents the histories of all 8 of the players involved, as well as the histories of the relevant gamblers. The book is basically divided into three major sections: the first third is the relevant baseball history up to the scandal; the second third is a description of the actual events of the 1919 World Series and (speculation on) how the players threw the games; the last third is the resulting trial and the aftermath of the scandal. Interesting read, although surprisingly not as exciting or as gripping as I was accustomed with nonfiction sports books (i.e. Seabiscuit or The Greatest Game Ever Played). The excitement deficiency is especially true during the description of the trials following the discovery of the scandal. If your book ends with nationally sensational courtroom scenes, your writing should convey the excitement and drama; not so in this book. Asinof also takes a very clear point of view of the events and relates all events in order to prove his perspective – that is, that the owners and gamblers victimized the players. I couldn’t separate the truth from potential hero worship (especially of Shoeless Joe Jackson who the book tries to pity as much as possible). An obvious must-read for baseball fans; a recommended read for all others.
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