If you are looking for a detailed, unbiased book on the life of Branch Ricky, you'd better look elsewhere. This is a Jimmy Breslin book, which means you are going to get a lot of tangential stuff; some of it personal and some of it only tenuously connected to Ricky. Personally, I love this style of writing which is much more fun to read than some dry recounting of events, but whether you will like it depends on your expectations.
The great point this book makes is that attitudes have to change before social progress can be made. Breslin focuses attention on the way Ricky engineered acceptance of Jackie Robinson by orchestrating attitudes within the the Brooklyn franchise, as well as with civic leaders, the press, and politicians. Breslin also puts the importance of Robinson into an even greater context as paving the way for the eventual acceptance of a black man in the white house.
A very enjoyable book, if a little disjointed at times.
If you see the movie "42", you quickly realize that without Branch Rickey (portrayed wonderfully by Harrison Ford), there might not have been a Jackie Robinson breaking the racial barrier in major league baseball. This book provides excellent back story on the courageous, progessive-minded owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers. And, who better to write this book than legendary writer Jimmy Breslin.
Jimmy Breslin with his gift for easy-to-read yet hard hitting prose beautifully shows us why Branch Rickey was among the most important people, if not the most important person, in the history of baseball. His insightful, humorous and at times biting style will touch even those who aren't baseball fans. I loved this book so much I didn't want it to end. My knowledge of and respect for Branch Ricky grew as I read it.
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