Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball

Overview

In Rickey & Robinson, legendary sportswriter Roger Kahn at last reveals the true, unsanitized account of the integration of baseball, a story that for decades has relied on inaccurate, second-hand reports. Kahn's telling, however, contains exclusive reporting and personal reminiscences that no other writer can produce, including revelatory material he'd buried in his notebooks in the 40s and 50s, back when sportswriters were still known to "protect" players and baseball executives. First and foremost, Kahn's ...

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Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball

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Overview

In Rickey & Robinson, legendary sportswriter Roger Kahn at last reveals the true, unsanitized account of the integration of baseball, a story that for decades has relied on inaccurate, second-hand reports. Kahn's telling, however, contains exclusive reporting and personal reminiscences that no other writer can produce, including revelatory material he'd buried in his notebooks in the 40s and 50s, back when sportswriters were still known to "protect" players and baseball executives. First and foremost, Kahn's account centers around an in-depth examination of the two men chiefly responsible for making integration happen: Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson.

Here Kahn separates fact from myth to present a truthful portrait of baseball and its participants at a critical juncture in American history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Roger Kahn is, as a Washington Post reviewer noted, is "not only a great baseball writer, but also something rarer: a great writer whose subject happens to be baseball." In Rickey & Robinson, the now octogenarian author of The Boys of Summer offers a revelatory account of the story behind the told and retold myth of major league baseball's integration. To grasp the actual event, this veteran sportswriter draws on reminiscences and previously entries from his own notebooks of the period that he had discreetly suppressed at the time. Certain to be reviewed and savored.

Publishers Weekly
08/11/2014
Kahn’s (The Boys of Summer) book—a mix of memoir, history, and reportage—subtly argues that the integration of baseball, accomplished through the efforts of Brooklyn Dodgers president and general manager Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson, did more to improve race relations in the U.S. than perhaps any other single act. Seemingly driven more by the logic of Kahn’s memory—he was a reporter who covered the Dodgers when the events described occurred—than by the logic of narrative, the book is haphazardly organized. And though Kahn tells some new stories and spent time combing through Rickey’s archives in the Library of Congress, the story as a whole is not “untold.” Nonetheless, Kahn’s writing is, as usual, fine and strong, and his anecdotes are engrossing. Kahn inserts himself into the story frequently, and he is as engaging a character as Rickey or Robinson, which is saying a lot. In spite of its flaws, this book makes for a good introduction to the story of Rickey, Robinson, and the integration of baseball. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Much has been written about Jackie Robinson and much has been written about Branch Rickey. But, thanks to the legendary Roger Kahn, we are granted front-row access to the inner workings of a fascinating—and historic—relationship. Like its author, Rickey & Robinson is a treasure." — Jeff Pearlman, bestselling author of Showtime and The Bad Guys Won

"Roger Kahn's classic, The Boys of Summer, changed my life—that and Catcher in the Rye were the two books that made me dream of becoming a writer. Now, Roger returns to the Brooklyn Dodgers to breathe new life into the two familiar men who changed baseball and, in their own way, America. I thought I knew everything there was to know about Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson but, not surprisingly, I'm still learning from Roger Kahn." —Joe Posnanski, bestselling author of The Soul of Baseball and The Machine, national columnist for NBC Sports

"Branch Rickey signed me in 1946, a few months after his historical signing of Jackie Robinson. Jackie and I were teammates with the Dodgers for nine wonderful seasons, including the 1955 World Championship season later memorialized in Roger Kahn’s masterpiece, The Boys of Summer. But Mr. Rickey’s and Jackie’s baseball accomplishments pale in comparison to the cultural impact they had on America, an impact that reverberates to this day. Roger knew both men well. Read his words and you will, too." —Carl Erskine, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, 1948-1959

"If you think you know the full Branch Rickey-Jackie Robinson story, you don't. And you won't until you read Roger Kahn's Rickey & Robinson, which tells the tale in new, vivid, unvarnished ways. This, at last, is the definitive account."—Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning?, senior writer for Sports On Earth and founder of Deadspin

"Kahn’s offering stands apart with its wealth of personal information and observations that the veteran sportswriter must have kept in his notebooks for decades."—The Boston Globe

Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-18
The author of the classicThe Boys of Summer(1972) and numerous other titles about the national pastime returns with a personal account of the fracturing of the racial barrier in Major League Baseball.Kahn (Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events that Shaped a Life, 2006, etc.), born in 1927 (the heyday of the Yankees’ Murderers’ Row), a journalist during the Branch Rickey/Jackie Robinson era, knew the principals personally. Numerous times throughout this important narrative, he alludes to his experiences with them during and after their active days in baseball. (In the early 1950s, Robinson, with Kahn’s participation, launched a short-lived publication,Our Sports, which focused on black athletes.) Kahn shows all the ugliness of the pre-Robinson era and the ugliness of many of the Hall of Famers’ experiences while with the Dodgers, especially during spring training travels in the Jim Crow South. Kahn names names—those players and others associated with the team who didnotwelcome Robinson (Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo) and those who were more welcoming (Eddie Stanky). Most came around, especially when Robinson’s myriad talents contributed to Dodger success. Kahn waxes lyrical in several places about Robinson’s athletic gifts, and he also has some harsh words for journalist Dick Young, whose writing he admired but whose views he often found offensive. But Kahn has almost nothingbutkind words for Rickey, who orchestrated the signing and development of Robinson but who, later, was eased out of the Dodger organization by Walter O’Malley—who doesnotcome off as an admirable character in this compelling drama. Along the way, the author offers much cultural and diamond history—the Black Sox scandal of 1919 (he quotes fromThe Great Gatsby), the tenure of commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the racial situation in Canada, where Robinson began his Dodger career.A gripping, informative blend of memoir and cultural history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781623366018
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/15/2015
  • Pages: 304

Meet the Author


Roger Kahn, considered by many to be America's greatest living sportswriter, is the author of 20 books including his classic bestseller, The Boys of Summer. A former reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Kahn has contributed to magazines such as Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Time, and the Saturday Evening Post. He lives in Stone Ridge, NY.
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