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

Roger Kahn, Author
Roger Kahn. Rodale, $25.99 (285p) ISBN 978-1-62336-297-3
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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.)
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