Customer Reviews for

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Willies Story

This book has so many stories told by Willie that I have never read anywhere before. I find it very difficult to put the book down. Anyone who has a love of baseball will love this book. I highly recoomend it for your own reading pleasure or as a gift to a sports-ori...
This book has so many stories told by Willie that I have never read anywhere before. I find it very difficult to put the book down. Anyone who has a love of baseball will love this book. I highly recoomend it for your own reading pleasure or as a gift to a sports-oriented friend or relative.

posted by BlackNGold on May 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

A tough read

isI gave up on this book after 40 pages. To that point it was mainly about the experience of blacks in baseball before the sport became integrated, with a tidbit about Willie Mays added here and there. If you are interested in reading about Willie Mays, good luck wadi...
isI gave up on this book after 40 pages. To that point it was mainly about the experience of blacks in baseball before the sport became integrated, with a tidbit about Willie Mays added here and there. If you are interested in reading about Willie Mays, good luck wading through these 600 pages.

posted by 799837 on February 12, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good summer baseball read

    As an upper-20's baseball fan I found this book to be very detailed and informative. It quenched my thirst to learn more about Mays during his playing days and especially during the social fabric of America at the time.

    Unless you're without a day job, you won't read this book in a week. It's long, but very good, if you don;t mind spending a couple weeks chipping away over your lunch hour and before bedtime.

    SOLID BOOK and RECOMMENDED!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Living Legend

    Hirsch attention to detail captures Willie's legendary status. His writing style is as fluid and graceful as Willie in his prime. The descriptions of Birmingham in the 40s and 50s was riveting, as was his tracing Willie's ascent through the Negro League and minors--overall a valuable history lesson. Also a great thrill ride through baseball's new golden age into the modern era. Willie's personal story parallels baseball's rise, peak, and the beginning of the decline. Hirsh's description of the end of Willie's playing career is as painful to read as it was to see. Hirsch captures it brilliantly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hagiography of th Great Willie Mays

    I remember Willie Mays playing baseball. I think he was the best total player of my lifetime.

    The book is a celebration of Willie Mays. I am happy to celebrate Mays with Hirsch. I think Hirsch's style and telling of the book was outstanding. Hirsch captured the times with Mays's transcendance of the troubled race relations. Mays was a great baseball player for some, and for others, he was only a black player.

    Hirsch depicts Mays as a man with a strongh relationship to his mentor father and strong relationships with other mentors as he grew up. Mays became mentor to others players as he neared the end of his career.

    Hirsch drew a contrast between Mays and Jackie Robinson. Mays was stoic and steadfast, Robinson was a complainer. Both had valid perspectives.

    I do not think that Hirsch had much balance when speaking about the caucasion players of Mays's time. It makes me wonder about the accuracy of the rest of his writing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

    the real Willie Mays. Highly recommend.

    I thought this book gave a great account of this great ball player's life. many people today have forgotten just what a great all around player he really was. many that have met him at shows, autograph events have depicted him as unfriendly or worse, but having read this book, if this is in fact the case, there are many pages of reasons why.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The life of Willie Mays parallels the social upheavals in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. This book is far more than a biography of the Say Hey Kid; it is a reflection of American life during the two decades after World War II.

    Hirsch is a compelling writer that captivates the essense of the true life of Willie Mays. Mays has been called the most complete baseball player of all time with the five tools that define great ballplayers. What is moving in this book is the way Mays both personified the way southern African-Americans were raised and treated in the South, but also the comparisons and differences of treatment in the North. The unfairness of treatment that black ballplayers received, whether playing in the Negro Leagues or making the breakthrough to the major leagues, is apparent. Baseball is played against the backdrop of the beginnings of the civil rights movement and that theme carries across the decades. Also of significance are the attitudes of the different black players to the response they should or shouldn't give to the movement. Hirsch makes compelling argument to the National League owners as being more receptive to breaking the color barrier than American League owners. Intertwined in the book is the story of the move of both the Dodgers and the Giants from New York to California. And overshadowing the entire book is the relationship between Willie Mays and Giant owner, Horace Stoneham. Willie Mays became a cult hero not only because of his natural ability and great plays, but because of his genuine love of being around kids. Willie enjoyed playing baseball. This is a great book for baseball lovers who remember the players of the 50s and 60s, but it is also a great book for the younger generations to read to try to understand what it was like to be a professional black athlete--- playing in front of thousands of fans---during the time of segregation, unrest, the challenge of the reserve clause and the changes in the game of baseball itself. This book is a gem.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Biography

    Willie May's is a living legend. This book lays his life open for all to read and see just how great of a life he led. He had a humble childhood and grew up to be a happy and humble baseball player, who was thankful for the opportunity he had to play.

    Mays preferred a private life and doesn't talk much about his past, and to be able to get a glimpse of it here, is a rare opportunity.

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    Posted May 18, 2011

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