THE POWER AND THE DARKNESS

THE LIFE OF JOSH GIBSON IN THE SHADOWS OF THE GAME

An accomplished chronicler of baseball's Negro Leagues (Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, 1994, etc.) attempts to reclaim from myth the true character of a man best known as the ``Black Babe Ruth.'' Between 1928 and 1946, a time that featured such greats as Leroy ``Satchel'' Paige, Judy Johnson, and ``Cool Papa'' Bell, Josh Gibson was possibly black baseball's greatest attraction. Gibson's career spanned what, for all black players, were times of famine, feast, and, later, uncertainty arising from the major leagues' eradication of the color barrier. Through careful and facile use of a wealth of first- and second-hand accounts (including interviews with the slugger's son Josh Jr.), the author exposes to a wide audience for the first time how Gibson hid his indiscretions behind the massive shadow of his own fame and imposing physique. Persistent image-mongering by the black and white media of the `30s and his bosses, team-owners Cumberland ``Cum'' Posey of the Homestead Grays and W. Augustus ``Gus'' Greenlee of the Crawfords, kept Gibson's drinking, drug use, and womanizing out of the spotlight until they finally overwhelmed him, contributing to this death in 1947 from a stroke; he was 35. Ribowsky places the roots of Gibson's self-destructiveness in his inability to face emotional crises—including his wife Helen's sudden death in childbirth in 1930 and the manipulation by black and white organizers and promoters throughout his career—as defiantly as he faced the best pitchers of the day. The temptations of life on the road were also a factor (when not playing in the Negro Leagues, Gibson barnstormed off-season and played winter ball in Latin America). Ribowsky lays bare Gibson's ``tortured soul.'' This exemplary and long-overdue work demonstrates that Gibson took himself out of the game, or as the author writes in his closing, ``like Achilles, he had no defense against his own mortal flaw: himself.''

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-684-80402-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more