By now we all have heard the story of Branch Rickey. The one man with enough courage formulate a plan to challenge baseballs long-standing but unspoken color barrier. With his signing of Jackie Robinson he set in motion changes that would affect the face of the game forever. Today we take a look at another Branch Rickey biography……
Branch Rickey – A Life
By:Jimmy Breslin – 2011 Penguin Books
Through the years I have read several Branch Rickey biographies. Some of those were good and some not so good. Unfortunately this book falls into the latter category. Branch Rickey-A Life has several flaws, at least in my opinion. Since there have been so many Ricky biographies published, one would hope at least the common factual information would be correct.
I am learning now that Breslin may not be one of my preferred writers to read. Perhaps its his writing style, or the fact that these are very short books he writes. You don’t get the chance to read in any great detail, any of the information in his books. Regardless of the subject matter he seems to have a 150 page limit to tell the story. Within those 150 pages you are only able to briefly immerse in each topic, and as we all know Rickey is a story that is very complex.
In the end what you get with this book is a very basic biography about the man. It is almost a warm and fuzzy rendition of Branch Rickey and left me wondering why did we need this. Almost Fifty years after Rickey’s death and Seventy years after the birth of his great experiment, the reader expects much more. After plunking down your hard-earned money to buy this book I feel safe in saying the reader deserves more as well.
As I said above maybe I am the issue with Breslin’s writing style. I just didn’t get what he was trying to give the reader in this book. If it was geared towards a juvenile audience it would have accomplished its goal much better. But as a Biography on a large figure in the baseball realm, it failed miserably.
I had the same problem with Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game, also by Breslin, but learned after the fact it was some sort of compilation of articles manifested into a complete book. I don’t think that is the case here. I really feel that this book just totally missed its mark.
I think most readers will be disappointed with this book, especially seasoned baseball readers……..but you be the judge, I am just one opinion.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Penguin Books