Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jackie Robinson: A Biography” as Want to Read:
Jackie Robinson: A Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jackie Robinson: A Biography

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  862 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson is illuminated as never before in this full-scale biography by Arnold Rampersad, who was chosen by Jack's widow, Rachel, to tell her husband's story, and was given unprecedented access to his private papers. We are brought closer than we have ever been to the great ballplayer, a man of courage and quality who became a pivotal figur ...more
ebook, 560 pages
Published June 8th 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published December 12th 1991)
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 Jackie Robinson, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jackie Robinson

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jim Marshall
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am often struck by the way American popular culture cherry picks the virtues of its heroes. We all know the story of Jackie Robinson—a stellar African American athlete who starred in multiple sports at USC and was selected by Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager Branch Rickey to be the first African American to play major league baseball. Robinson was taunted and threatened, hit in the head with fastballs on multiple occasions, and often the victim of clear rule violations. Yet he remained cool, unshaken ...more
Caroline Brewer
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of 10 books I have recently read about Robinson and clearly the most authorative. Mere words are inadequate to sum up the amazing, thrilling, chilling, and groundbreaking life that was Jackie Robinson's, but Arnold Rampersad has done a fabulous job of breathing life into words and into the man who helped change America in the most startling and powerful ways imaginable. And indeed, for the better.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this biography because it does not look at Robinson's life through hagiographic lenses, but at the same time treats him with respect. The relationship between Dodger owner Branch Rickey and Jackie is especially interesting and moving in the great admiration they had for each other up to Rickey's death. Over half the book is spent on Jackie's life after retirement involving the civil rights movement of the 196o's and is quite interesting in how his life sometimes was in conflict with so ...more
Gaye Ingram
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back when people listened to baseball games on radio, I was one of two people in my school whose favorite baseball team was the Brooklyn Dodgers. The other person was my best friend Marie, who was Italian, and she didn't listen to broadcasts of the games. I did. In my memory, they are visual. I see Jackie Robinson sliding into third base and the Giants' third baseman (It was always the Giants) and the baseline coach stomping the grass with rage at the call. Robinson gets up, dusts himself off, g ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read books about baseball each summer, which is what I thought Jackie Robinson, a biography, would be primarily about, and while the author does of course cover Robinson's breaking the color barrier and all that he went through in his 11-year professional baseball career, this is also a book about the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

When he retired from baseball due to age and injuries, Robinson devoted himself to civil rights while also pursuing various business ventures to suppo
Jun 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This biography traces the life of a man who climbed the podium of sports to the highest level in order to advance civil rights. Excelling in any sport he tried, it must have been especially difficult to watch his teammates stay at a luxury hotel while he had to suffer Jim Crow lodging conditions. Branch Rickey broke the color barrier with Jackie's introduction to the Brooklyn Dodgers and many fans and players hated this; nonetheless, he played ten years and in six world series. The constant comp ...more
Jack Gamba
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book did a great job describing the troubles Jackie had in his life on his way to the top. The author took you on a journey from his life growing up in the South ,to his first baseball game for the Broklyn Dodgers. If you read this book you will see first hand accounts of racism described by Jackie. You also get to read about his life in the Army. Even when he was fighting for our country, he was treated badly. Because of a false conviction Jackie was discharged from the Army ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though Jackie Robinson's place is history is obvious, I had never realized what an outspoken figure on civil rights he was. With today's politics, it seems surprising that Robinson was a vocal Republican, though that is easier to understand when you consider that the Democratic party of his time was plagued by racist southern Dixiecrats, and the GOP still had social moderates like New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
I like the book for what was the story of jackies life
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
I love baseball so I read this book in middle school and did a book report on it. it was a great book to read and i would recommend it to any child who likes baseball.
Saathvik Vangati
This book chronicles the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African American professional baseball player. Robinson's courage of conviction and the support of his family and friends enabled him to cross the color barrier in baseball, Robinson challenged his critics and the naysayers to accept him as he was: a man, an athlete, and a very talented baseball player. In my opinion, this was one of the best books I have ever read on the fact of how one man has created a legacy for the whole sport of b ...more
Joel Erickson
An engrossing book about Robinson, who was a titan of sport and then so much more after that. What's easy to forget about Robinson is the looming figure he cast on the civil rights movement even after he was done playing, and it's a remarkable portrait of a man who stuck to his convictions, even when those convictions drew fire from all sides. Well-reported and incredibly researched.
Really fascinating book. I love baseball, so to read about such an iconic figure during such a prejudiced time was amazing. I remember growing up watching a Disney TV movie and it mentioned him and how it inspired a child to go back playing baseball due to his color. Definitely a wonderful book to read.
Deandre Wilkerson
Arnold Rampersad purpose of writing Jackie Robinson was to inform and give an enormous bibliography. Impact can come from how good he was but then also what he went through in life. It gives great thought towards audience. The book shows that history was made and it will work as long as you you provide the reason to make it happen by believing in what can be done. This book will have long lasting value because Jackie Robinson showed that he can do what it takes. Many people still talk about Jack ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The biography Jackie Robinson by Arnold is great book that discusses the struggles and hard ship Jackie had to ace very day well playing in the major leagues. The book discusses the life of Jackie for when he was a kid living in Pasadena to going to UCLA for college. Where love for sports continued and he got better and every day. Before Jackie could finish college he was drafted into the army where he was a second lieutenant. After he got out of the army Jackie was in need of money so he turned ...more
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fifth or sixth book I've read about Jackie Robinson, and I enjoyed it very much. A few things set it apart. First it went into a lot of detail about his childhood and his college years. Secondly, and I found this significant, it is the only biography I've read so far that highlighted Robinson's religious conviction and the part that it played in his life and in his decision to accept the challenge of integrating baseball. The book gave a very clear sense, that, along with other motiv ...more
Lucas Underwood
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book i read is called Jackie Robinson: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad. This story tells us about the man by the name of Jackie Robinson, who made history being the first African American to play in what today would be the MLB.
Jackie Robinson did one of the greatest things, which impacted the United States history in a huge way. Jackie Robinson loved the game of baseball, he was a great player. But the age that Jackie lived in it wasn't right for a black man to play ball with all of the whit
Anup Sinha
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent biography of Jackie Robinson, thorough in its research and not in the least limited to what he did in baseball. What separates this from other Robinson accounts, even his own autobiography, is that Rampersad is evenhanded in dealing with the ordinary aspects of this icon as well as the not so flattering.

The book is long (464 pages) and at times the detail bogged me down, but you can certainly skim through parts you have only superficial interest in. It is perfect for a Jackie Robins
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this journey. It is not for the faint of heart, as it is long and detailed and gets a bit tedious at times - almost 500 pages I think. If you don't like baseball you won't enjoy the lengthy recapping of almost every game Robinson ever played in. There were several factors that contributed greatly to my continued interest in this book, though it took me longer than most to finish. First, Jackie Robinson lived at the same time and in the same area as my father and mother. They g ...more
I was moved to read this after seeing '42'. I was eager to know more about Robinson and although I am not a huge fan of baseball, I found that the book did a superb job of portraying this complex and utterly self-determined man. As great as his achievement was in baseball, the story of his life before and after the game supersedes even that accomplishment. That said, even if the reader can imagine possessing Robinson's athletic skill - and that in itself requires an enormous leap - very few, I'm ...more
Conner Rodriguez
Name: Conner Rodriguez
Date: 5/18/13
Book: Jackie Robinson
Author: Arnold Rampersad
Rate: 5 stars

I chose this book because Jackie Robinson is my favorite baseball player of all time. 1947 might have been one of the most important years in American history because Jackie Robinson was the first black athlete to sign with a white team. Jackie’s patience with all the racism and name calling influenced other white teams to sign blacks. In the book “Jackie Robinson” my favorite quote was
5Love N
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Natalie Love
Waldorf 5
ELA 11
14 October 2015
Nothing Was Going To Stop Him
Jackie Robinson didn’t let the color of his skin, stop him from playing baseball. When Jackie was on the road with his white baseball team, he says “white ballplayers could look forward to some streak of luck or some reward for hard work to carry him into prominence or even stardom. What had the black player to hope for?” (Robinson 25). It’s not going to be easy for Jackie to be on an all-white baseball team because of his sk
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2017
Being a huge baseball fan, I was embarrassed at how little I knew about Jackie Robinson. While it took 4 months to read this book, it wasn't for lack of interest, so much as lack of time on my part.

The author's detailed description of the racism and discrimination Jackie faced at the beginning of (and throughout) his life left me in awe at his perseverance and determination. It pained me to read about the MLB scout who saw him play in junior college and remarked how he would have signed Jackie r
Justin Heath
I decided to read this book after watching Ken Burns' documentary on baseball. I wanted to learn more about Jackie Robinson and the courage and strength he showed in integrating baseball. I didn't know about his political affiliations and how he championed civil rights following his retirement. He worked tirelessly for change and it seems that this came at a great cost to him - mainly his health and, ultimately, his life. He was an exceptional athlete and an inspirational man. I'm glad I know mo ...more
Dakotah Killam
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dakotah Killam
The man with determination

I wasn't a huge baseball fan when I started this book, but I'd heard of Jackie Robinson. I used to think I knew who he was. Well, you don't anything until you read this book! The comforting text written by Arnold Rampersad inches over every exciting aspect of Jackie Robinson's life. It was written using information that Jackie Robinson's wife provided for the first time. The topics range from rising above racism to sharing personal family experiences. If
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this biography, I have some mixed but mainly positive thoughts about it. The book was interesting during the middle, as that was when Jackie played in the majors. In the majors, Jackie experienced a good bit of action, such as being purposely spiked, thrown at by a pitcher, and so forth. But in the beginning, it was about his mom's life before and I found that bit very boring. If you don't mind a book that is a bit slow paced, then you will probably enjoy this. But keep in mind, th ...more
Sherrie Pilkington
This is a good biography. The writing is concise, well researched, and doesn't drag along as so many do. Stylistically, that's really all I can ask of a biography. What makes this book stand out, however, is simply the fact that Jackie Robinson led an amazing life. Obviously, he was a phenomenal athlete but more than that he was a devout Christian, compassionate human being, and a necessary voice in the civil rights crusade. I had no idea how instrumental he was in raising money for NAACP and SC ...more
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-it
Wow what a story and what a man! I had no idea the depth of his achievements!! I just knew him as an amazing ball player who endured the struggles of being the first black player. Number 42...stood for so much more!!!! I can see now why they only retired his number in Baseball!! After Baseball, his playing field was even more impressive!!! He became a leading activists for civil rights in America, fighting Jim Crow, as a politician, newspaper editor and entrepreneur in so many business to furthe ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arnold Rampersad
Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson is about a young lad named Jackie who was an African American guy who played in the Major League Baseball association for blacks, the coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted a black man on their team who was able to stand up for himself and others and was good at baseball. This is about how Jackie survives in the MLB and manages to have team mates of all sorts stick up for him against the odds.

I loved this book, I also like biograph
This book is very interesting even if you arent a baseball fan. this book is about the first black baseball player jackie robinson. it is actually kind of sad what was happening because baseball was his favorite sport and he couldnt even play because he is black.this book walks you through all his struggles to play pro baseaball and how he overcame and wound up being one baseballs best. jackie robinson was the first to ever steal home and he was the only one to do that until recently someone did ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • Baseball
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • I Was Right On Time
  • My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life
  • The Lords of the Realm
  • Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
  • Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History
  • October Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the Yankees' Miraculous Finish in 1978
  • Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee
  • The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
  • Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest