"Even readers who know who Mr. Rose is will learn much from...this book's stacked roster of interviews and anecdotes [and] fascinating and well-chosen tangents....Kennedy covers the [Big Red Machine] period expertly." --Craig Fehrman, The Wall Street Journal
"Will absorb you immediately...a fascinating study of one of America's most enduringly fascinating athletes. Masterful." --Mike Vaccaro, New York Post
"An exceptionally well-written book that lays out both sides of what remains a highly-charged issue." --Paul Hagen, MLB.com
"Kennedy takes that familiar story and delves deeper, presenting an artful portrait....With writing of such quality and a subject of such complexity, it deserves to be read by anyone who appreciates good biography." --John C. Williams, BookPage
"Kennedy's book on the tarnished and enigmatic Rose is exceptional. Like the best writing about sport--Liebling, Angell--it qualifies as stirring literature. I'd read Kennedy no matter what he writes about." --Richard Ford
"Kostya Kennedy has given us the real Pete Rose at last. Perhaps Pete does not deserve him, but baseball fans and readers who appreciate superb and subtle writing will be grateful." --David Maraniss
"This is a wonderful,
clearly written book about a dark and complicated tragedy that continues to beset the purity of our national pastime. The whole story is here: the deeply talented, passionate ball player, 'Charlie Hustle,' and the deeply morally challenged hustler who bestrides essential questions about our national game." --Ken Burns
"Pete Rose is too rich a character to fit on a bronze plaque. He requires a good, trenchant, poignant
(ah, Petey) book, and this is it." --Roy Blount Jr.
"Better than any previous account. Kennedy leaves no doubt about Rose's greatness as a player or his guilt as a gambler." --Allen Barra, The Boston Globe
"A remarkable book about a fascinating, vexing figure." --Kirkus (starred review)
"Kennedy's ambitious account is an anecdote-rich read." --Publishers Weekly
How do you solve a problem like Pete Rose? Baseball's still-reigning hit king, "Charlie Hustle," never ceases to be a divisive figure. Kennedy (56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports) takes a fresh look at him. While the book contains a fair amount of biographical material, it's more of a consideration of Rose's place in baseball history 25 years after his ban from Major League Baseball (MLB) and from Hall of Fame consideration because he bet on baseball games. The narrative shifts between Rose's past—with anecdotes from family, friends, and former teammates—to his present life working the autograph circuit and filming a reality show with his young fiancée. The big question that has dogged him in the last quarter century—whether or not he has a right to a plaque in Cooperstown—hangs over the story and is newly scrutinized in light of recent steroid scandals. VERDICT While Rose may be handled a little too lightly here in some readers' opinions, this will find an audience among baseball fans.—BR
A reflection on the meaning of legendary baseball player Pete Rose. Rose is Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader, as well as the leader in games played and at-bats. He holds nearly 20 records and was one of the hardest working and most beloved players during his playing days. Yet, due to the fact that he gambled on baseball while he was a manager with his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, he is officially banned from baseball and is not enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. "Even now," writes Sports Illustrated assistant managing editor Kennedy (56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports, 2011, etc.), "25 years into his exile, he remains a figure who stirs uncommon passion, righteousness, indignation." Were this book just a biography of "Charlie Hustle," it would be a fine one. But more importantly, Kennedy explores not only Rose's life and career and his ignominious fall from glory, but also the complexities and conundrums surrounding his ineligibility and his character. Rose's detractors and supporters alike will find evidence here to both confirm and challenge their biases. Kennedy is a graceful writer who interweaves traditional biography with myriad explorations of the puzzle that is Rose: his affinity for gambling and his waywardness with money, his up-and-down relationships with women and his children from his marriages, and his sometimes-tawdry post-baseball life. Kennedy tends toward discursive divergences that usually build a larger picture, though occasionally he is like an interesting man at a party who tells wonderful stories but interrupts himself to tell an even better tale. Nonetheless, most of the time, he weaves magic in these pages. Rose may not deserve as nuanced a biographer as Kennedy, but baseball fans certainly do. A remarkable book about a fascinating, vexing figure.