Andrew's Reviews > Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball

Rickey & Robinson by Roger Kahn
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it was amazing
bookshelves: firstreads-giveaways, baseball, biography, memoirs

Every year, Major League Baseball salutes the memory of its first African-American player, Jackie Robinson. Every year, even as the celebration grows, the number of people who have first-hand memory of those days grows smaller.

Veteran baseball writer Roger Kahn remembers. He also remembers Branch Rickey, the man who was determined that the color line should be broken. He remembers Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first baseball commissioner who was equally determined that segregation was in “the best interests of baseball”, and Walter O'Malley, who purchased the Dodgers (the team that employed both Rickey and Robinson), and many others of the players – both on-field and behind-the-scenes – of that era.

“Rickey and Robinson” is not meant to be a formal biography of either man. It tells enough of their back-stories to understand what led each of them to the point of history when Robinson trotted out on the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but does not attempt to be a complete picture of either man.

One thing I could never decide if I liked or hated was Mr. Kahn's constant self-references. At times, it felt important to realize that this history was being written by a man who actually witnessed it and who wrote about it as it was occurring. On the other hand, it felt like he was trumpeting himself as another member of the cast of this moment in history – as though it couldn't have happened if the crusading journalist helped to ease the path. (And he could be right about this – it just felt awfully self-serving.)

I would recommend this book to every baseball fan, especially those who only know about Jackie Robinson because their game program says that every team has retired his #42. I would also recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the civil rights movement in this country – seeing how difficult it was for a man of color to simply be permitted to play organized baseball in a traditionally white league provides an important grounding for what finally exploded in the 60s.

RATING: 4 1/2 stars, rounded up to 5 stars where 1/2 stars are not permitted.

DISCLOSURE: This book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher in a random draw. A review request was implied, but not explicitly required.

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Reading Progress

November 1, 2015 – Started Reading
November 1, 2015 – Shelved
November 12, 2015 – Finished Reading
December 10, 2015 – Shelved as: firstreads-giveaways
December 10, 2015 – Shelved as: baseball
December 10, 2015 – Shelved as: biography
December 10, 2015 – Shelved as: memoirs

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