Books by William Brashler

Released: July 1, 1994

The author of The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1973) and a biography of Josh Gibson chronicles not just the rise and demise of the Negro Leagues, but the history of African- Americans in baseball from the post-Civil War era to the 1950s. He picks a handful of stars to profile and paints an engaging picture of the wild and wonderful style and variety of black pro and semipro ball—played by barnstormers and clowns, as well as the all-star teams that regularly faced (and frequently beat) white major leaguers. After pointing an accusatory finger at Cap Anson, the player/owner who was most influential in creating the ``Gentlemen's Agreement'' that excluded blacks from the Major Leagues, and at Commissioner Landis, who perpetuated it, Brashler perceptively analyzes the interlocking web of factors and circumstances that finally dismantled that barrier and pays fine tribute to the talent and character of Jackie Robinson. On the other hand, though he bases some of his narrative on interviews with Cool Papa Bell and other Negro Leaguers, their insights are not much in evidence aside from scattered, colorful sound bites, and his coverage of baseball in Latin America is sketchy. Several recent books, most notably Gardner and Shortelle's The Forgotten Players: The Story of Black Baseball in America (1993) and the McKissacks' Black Diamond: The Story of the Negro Baseball Leagues (1994) cover the same territory in equivalent detail. Sturdy but supplementary. Index; bibliography; occasional small b&w photos. (Nonfiction. 11-15) Read full book review >

A beautiful, brainy woman ditches the lazy pleasures of Florida when she falls head over heels in love with the Chicago Board of Trade. By the author of The Chosen Prey (1982) and nonfiction The Don (1976) and Josh Gibson (1978). The girl with the lust for futures contracts is Joanie Yff. Joanie should be a nobody. Her daddy was a handsome blond sailor passing through Pensacola with no intention of marrying Joanie's mother. But regular support money from Daddy, a good example in her mother, an appetite for hard work (she's put herself through business school as a hairdresser), and an amazing head for figures have armed Joanie with just the right weapons to make it in the business world—and a chance contact with Ken Korngold, a high-powered trader from Chicago, is just the push she needs to head her for one of the world's wildest and most exciting financial markets. Joanie's plan to cut hair and study business at the University of Illinois disappears when she runs into Korngold and goes to work as a clerk for his firm. The close exposure to the boss and to the trading pits is exciting, and it's the right track to become a trader. Then a fallout with Korngold over the sad fate of a fellow clerk sends her to another firm—and the chance to go on the floor as one of the wheeler-dealers. There's a romance with a nice fellow trader, but the real action is all at the Board of Trade, where Joanie has to go to war with her old boss and dodge a gang of federal investigators. Moves with the madhouse pace of the trading floor. And Joanie is an extremely endearing commercial pirate with no deplorable yuppie characteristics. Read full book review >