Rickey and Robinson: The Preacher, the Player and America's Game
February 2000, ©2000, Wiley-Blackwell
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On August 28, 1945, a scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team escorted an intriguing, if not exactly youthful, prospect into the intriguing, if not exactly welcoming, office of a veteran baseball man who had already revolutionized the sport at least once. Jackie Robinson meet Branch Rickey.
What actually happened in that cluttered room over the course of the next few hours will never be known for certain, but without a doubt this meeting set in motion changes in major league baseball and in the nation that would echo long after the postwar became the Cold War.
Though baseball necessarily lies at the heart of this fascinating dual biography, the stories of these two remarkable men touch many of the most important issues and changes in American life from 1895-1970-the transition from rural to urban America, two World Wars and the war in Vietnam, the Red Scare, the evolution of mass media, and, of course, the Civil Rights movement-their lives spanning most of the century that they helped to shape. Alone, each story is a good one. Combined-and they can hardly be separated-the Rickey-Robinson story becomes compelling, even mythical.
For those readers not particularly interested in baseball, Rickey and Robinson will surely help them appreciate the game's place in American history. At the same time, those who do not have to be persuaded that baseball truly is America's game will treasure this remarkable work. This unique book is certain to make informative and entertaining reading for a variety of courses in sport history, recent America, popular culture, and the U.S. survey.