Jackie Robinson : A Biography (Paperback)

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Product Overview

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 figure in the areas of race and civil rights.
Born in the rural South, the son of a sharecropper, Robinson was reared in southern California. We see him blossom there as a student-athlete as he struggled against poverty and racism to uphold the beliefs instilled in him by his mother--faith in family, education, America, and God.
We follow Robinson through World War II, when, in the first wave of racial integration in the armed forces, he was commissioned as an officer, then court-martialed after refusing to move to the back of a bus. After he plays in the Negro National League, we watch the opening of an all-American drama as, late in 1945, Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers recognized Jack as the right player to break baseball's color barrier--and the game was forever changed.
Jack's never-before-published letters open up his relationship with his family, especially his wife, Rachel, whom he married just as his perilous venture of integrating baseball began. Her memories are a major resource of the narrative as we learn about the severe harassment Robinson endured from teammates and opponents alike; about death threats and exclusion; about joy and remarkable success. We watch his courageous response to abuse, first as a stoic endurer, then as a fighter who epitomized courage and defiance.
We see hisgrowing friendship with white players like Pee Wee Reese and the black teammates who followed in his footsteps, and his embrace by Brooklyn's fans. We follow his blazing career: 1947, Rookie of the Year; 1949, Most Valuable Player; six pennants in ten seasons, and 1962, induction into the Hall of Fame.
But sports were merely one aspect of his life. We see his business ventures, his leading role in the community, his early support of Martin Luther King Jr., his commitment to the civil rights movement at a crucial stage in its evolution; his controversial associations with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Humphrey, Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, and Malcolm X.
Rampersad's magnificent biography leaves us with an indelible image of a principled man who was passionate in his loyalties and opinions: a baseball player who could focus a crowd's attention as no one before or since; an activist at the crossroads of his people's struggle; a dedicated family man whose last years were plagued by illness and tragedy, and who died prematurely at fifty-two. He was a pathfinder, an American hero, and he now has the biography he deserves.

"From the Hardcover edition.

Specifications

Publisher Random House Inc
Mfg Part# 9780345426550
SKU 30369658
Format Paperback
ISBN10 034542655X
Release Date 4/30/2007
Physical
Dimensions (in Inches) 8.5H x 5.75L x 1.25T
Author Info
Arnold Rampersad
Arnold Rampersad has been the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature at Princeton University, in addition to having taught at Stanford, Rutgers, and Columbia universities. His first book was on a lesser-known work by Herman Melville, and he teaches American literature of all periods. Rampersad has distinguished himself as a biographer; his book on W.E.B. Du Bois and his magisterial two-volume life of Langston Hughes are cited as examples of the craft of biography. Rampersad collaborated with Arthur Ashe on his biography, DAYS OF GRACE. Rampersad wrote his highly regarded biography of Jackie Robinson with the cooperation of Robinson's widow and family. He has also edited and written introductions for a number of collections in American literature, has written numerous reviews and scholarly articles. Rampersad was the recipient of a MacArthur award, also known as "the genius grant."
Praise
"...Rampersand compellingly projects [Robinson's] life against the backdrop of the persons and institutions that affected him and that he, in turn, helped to change....[T]his outstanding biography is in every way worthy of its esteemed subject."
"The baseball portion of this book is thorough and covers a remarkable career, but the most impressive pages are those that cover the post-diamond years...."
"One of the two or three best sports biographies I have read. Like Robinson himself, this book goes well beyond sports and in the end suggests how people everywhere must live."
"In this book, as in life, Jackie Robinson seizes attention not only by his heroic self-control during the redneck vilifications and incipient player strikes of that first season but by his quite different demeanor afterward."
"Rampersad...has assembled a jumble of journalistic, archival and oral data into an elegantly rendered, meticulously documented narrative, a level-headed and sensitive chronicle of Robinson's life from his birth in a sharecropper's cabin, the grandson of a slave, in 1919 to his death 53 years later."
"A workmanlike book, admiring but not worshipful....Rampersad unobtrusively lays out the facts, including the facts of Robinson's edgy and sometimes irritating combativeness, allowing us to make out the meaning of the story on our own."
"Mr. Rampersad puts forward Robinson as a force in history, not its pawn, and his portrayal rings true. It's unlikely that many kids will read his book, but adults should, and its not too late for them to have heroes."
"This is a marvelous, riveting biography--not the least because it examines every aspect of Robinson's life in such telling detail. His portrait of Jackie's wife, Rachel Robinson, herself a woman of extraordinary achievement, and of Robinson's family life in general, is exemplary.
From the Publisher
Editors Note Arnold Rampersad's brilliant biography of "Jackie" Robinson offers an intimate look at one of the most well-known American figures. Drawing heavily on never-before-seen personal documents, Rampersad gives readers privileged glimpses of this complex man and his compelling story, from his birth in Georgia to his stardom in baseball to his work in the civil rights movement.
Product Attributes
eBooks Kobo
Book Format Paperback
Number of Pages 0560
Publisher Ballantine Books
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Format: Paperback
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