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Pete Rose: An American Dilemma

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  684 ratings  ·  122 reviews
"Kennedy's book on the tarnished and enigmatic Rose is exceptional. Like the best writing about sport--Liebling, Angell--it qualifies as stirring literature. I'd read Kennedy no matter what he writes about." --Richard Ford

Pete Rose played baseball with a singular and headfirst abandon that endeared him to fans and peers, even as it riled others--a figure at once magnetic,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 11th 2014 by Sports Illustrated
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having a big time prejudice against Pete Rose, I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. I knew that Rose was a crude,cocky,shallow man, but what I learned was- he is what he is-he has never pretended to be anything else. I can respect that. Probably many sport stars are not people I would admire, but pretend to be more than they are. I hadn't known how hard Rose worked to succeed in baseball-harder than most, what he lacked in natural talent he made up for in sheer determination. His inc ...more
Harold Kasselman
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Kindle Edition)

This is a very fine biography that highlights the ups and down of an American enigma. The book is an easy read and fortunately doesn't dwell on minutiae as some biographies often do. It focuses on the personality of Rose as influenced heavily by his father Harry but there is no deep pycho- babble analysis of Rose. Indeed it appears that no one truly understands the man; not his brother Dave, his son Petey Jr. and perhaps not ev
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
By making Rose not exactly likable but more sympathetic than I ever would've expected, Kennedy has pulled off quite a literary feat. That's not to suggest that he goes easy on Rose, far from it; he presents the man in all his brazen arrogance and venality, but also credits his monomaniacal passion and dedication to the game, and his generous praise of teammates and opponents. Regarding the Hall of Fame debate, Kennedy is impressively even-handed, giving voice to all sides, avoiding getting preac ...more
Vfields Don't touch my happy!
3.5 stars
This was suppose to be the summer of baseball for me. I bought loads of tickets and I cleared time. So now I'm loosing my mind and I picked this up to understand what the big deal was with Pete Rose was. I hear old-timers argue endlessly about him today so it still bothers baseball fans. The book was well written, clear and concise. I was thrilled reading about the race for Ty Cobb's record. I don't know if it was Kennedy's goal but I honestly felt sorry for Rose.
Take me out to the bal
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Pete Rose has been one of the most polarizing figures in baseball for the last 25 years. In that time, he signed an agreement that permanently banned him from associating with Major League Baseball, has admitted in a tell-all book that he bet on baseball after denying so for over 15 years, spent time in prison for tax evasion, hawked as much memorabilia and as many autographs as he could and yet still have a lot of support to win reinstatement and enshrin
victor harris
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As the title indicates, Rose represents a dilemma. The main issue is whether he should be allowed on the Hall of Fame ballot after being banished from baseball. Being banished from the game and its official activities is not the same thing as being eligible for the Hall. In light of multiple recent steroid offenses since the Rose exile, there is a strong case for his eligibility. Steroids' users compromised the integrity of the game and its records far worse than any offenses Rose committed and ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
"I'm just like everybody else. I have two arms, two legs legs and four- thousand hits."

I love this quote from Pete Rose. It shows his sense of humor as well as his arrogance and the fact he is kind of a jerk.

Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy is a quick and detailed book that works (sometimes succesfully, sometimes not) to drill down and gain an understanding of the famous baseball player.

The dilemma he addresses is, of course, should Pete Rose be allowed into the baseball hall o
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
The fact that Pete Rose, for all his warts and personal failings, is still not in the Hall of Fame after 25 years is one of the great slights in the history of the game of baseball. To be sure, Rose is a deeply flawed man whose personal failings deserve the punishment he's received, but when all is said and done, a hall of fame which fails to include the hits leader is a joke. Cobb and Speaker threw a game for money and are in, Cap Anson was a racist of the highest order, Gaylord Perry is famous ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pete Rose the one many compare to Ty Cobb as their intensity for the game of baseball was similar and unmatched by any others. The all time hit king of the MLB any true fan of Pete Rose needs to read this book it is great for anybody that is fond of Pete. Even though he is a nasty little jerk he is able to show the most respect to the common man as his on field persona doesn't define him as a man. Many of his lessons were taught to him as a Child by his father who was a great athlete who continu ...more
Sam Sattler
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, biography
Pete Rose is a performance artist.

These days, he makes a very nice living just getting up in the morning and becoming the character known as Pete Rose, the only living baseball player on baseball’s ineligible list. Pete was not called “Charlie Hustle” for nothing, and the same hustle that made him one of the most special baseball players of his era is still evident today. But now, Pete is playing a different kind of game, and his hustle is focused on how much money he can “earn” by signing his
Luke Koran
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, favorites
In exploring one of the most iconic though equally enigmatic sporting heroes the world has ever known, author Kostya Kennedy captures magic in a bottle in his 2014 biography “Pete Rose: An American Dilemma.” From exploring key moments of Pete’s personal and professional lives through multiple interviews with the man himself, his family, his teammates, and his decades-long detractors, Kennedy gives all aspects of Pete Rose a fair shake while not situating his opinion too solidly one way or the ot ...more
Chris Dean
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The newest biography on arguably the most fascinating baseball personality of the last 50 years. Kennedy weaves back and forth between the traditional biography with his 2012 appearance in Cooperstown during induction weekend. All the while, the case for and against his inclusion in the Hall of Fame are weaved throughout. Several explanations and not justifications are given for Rose's actions. The final chapter with the Sandlot Kid is genius.
Desmond Duvall
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good look into the life of "Charlie Hustle". It takes the reader through his entire life, from early childhood all the way into retirement and his ban from baseball and everything in between. It's an interesting read, and while it will never win a Pulitzer Prize, I enjoyed the book. A lot of the stuff in the book are stories that have already been told, but there's also a lot of new stories too. The one story that I will take from this book is a story about Pete's first press conferenc ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Taylor
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pete Rose is baseball’s all-time leader in hits, games, at-bats, and plate appearances. He’s 6th all-time in runs scored, 2nd in doubles, and 7th in total bases. Rose led the league in hits 7 times, doubles 5 times, runs scored 4 times, won 3 batting titles, was the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, and the 1973 NL MVP. He was a 17-time All-Star, and made the All-Star team at 5 different positions, a record that will most likely never be broken.

Pete Rose played in his last major league game in 1986 an
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was an amazing read, and I'm so glad that I picked it up. Pete Rose: An American Dilemma covers the controversial career of Pete Rose. Author Kostya Kennedy does a fantastic job of telling stories of Major League Baseball's biggest quarrels, does Rose belong in the Hall of Fame? The legend bet illegally on his own Cincinnati Reds team when he both played for, and managed the organization. Kennedy dives very deep into what Rose was thinking during this time, as well as how his actions g ...more
Lindsay Hickman
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. No matter what side of the Pete Rose Hall of Fame debate you are on, it is a great read. This is a very sociological based book, a biography that goes back in Pete's family history, as far back as the Revolutionary War, but it also delves deep into his psyche as a baseball player, son, man, father, and husband.

I've always been a fan of Rose because my grandfather and father had always loved Rose, and I have met him multiple times. This book really helped me understand where h
Steve Green
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, I hated Pete Rose and his arrogance. This book totally changed my about Pete. Clearly Pete worked hard for everything he achieved and deserved everything he achieved. Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Initially, I didn’t think so. After reading this book, I think he does deserve to be in the Hall. Will it happen? Probably not in my lifetime. And that’s unfortunate.
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
here's the thing. You ever read sports illustrated? How there's always a long article in the back and it follows the same kind of pattern every time? That's how every chapter of this book was, in that same pattern. It opens with s situation, dances around it, and describes new characters, and then comes back to that situation. Not that I'm complaining, I like those articles in sports illustrated, it just made the book feel disjointed and loose.
Kev Willoughby
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Very interesting, and very sad. I still think Pete should be in the Hall of Fame, and I also still think he should not be allowed anywhere near a baseball field, team, or franchise. One of the best lines in the book is where Pete says that gambling is a victimless crime... never realizing that, above the victims in his own family, he is the biggest victim of all. Very honest though... ironically.
Geno Jaramillo
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a baseball player, coach, and most of all fan. I enjoyed reading the story about this man that I have idolized as a player my entire life. Although he had struggles through life he always brought it to the yard at full tilt. A fine example of how to succeed in this great sport!
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This biography covers both the baseball and personal lives of Pete Rose in a graceful style - not passing judgement on him but - there he is. Very well written and I recommend it highly.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book that fizzled at the end. The last part covered Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak?
danielle m incognito
Pretty good read

Very interesting take on the Rose situation. Would recommend to any baseball fan. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope others do.
David Kellerman
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
very fun book to read
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really good look at a well-known story. Really rooting for Petey!
Let me start by saying that BEFORE I read this book, I believed that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

AFTER reading this book, I STILL BELIEVE that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

Kostya Kennedy laid it all out -- the good, the bad, and perhaps, the indifferent.

According to the Baseball Writers' Association of America Election Rules, which are on the Baseball Hall of Fame's website:

3. Eligible Candidates -- Candidates to be eligible must meet the following requirements:

A. A baseb
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a decent book about Pete Rose. Did not go into enough detail for me though. I do think it is time for Pete Rose and Joe Jackson to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Everyone makes mistakes and deserve a second chance.
Richard Collier
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative about Pete

Pretty good book about life of Pete Rose. His love of gambling cost him a lot but his work effort and drive certainly provided a Hall of Fame resume!! Such a shame!
Budd Bailey
Jan 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Baseball analyst Bill James once wrote that Pete Rose wasn't one of the top 10 natural hitters in history by any stretch of the imagination.

Yet, there he is, on top of the all-time list of career hits by a major league baseball player. Once upon a time, everyone loved him for that, for the way he attacked the game with complete focus and intensity, day in and day out.

Rose played in the majors for more than a couple of decades, moved smoothly into managing, and then the wheels fell off. Who says
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“My Dad has more hits than your Dad - Pete Rose, Jr.” 0 likes
“My Dad has more hits than your Dad.
- Pete Rose, Jr.”
More quotes…