I enjoyed this book. It is good for children to read. Strong story.
In one of the sports literature arenas that already boasts many seminal works of great storytelling and rhapsodic prose, Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye is a distinguished, inviting and elucidating addition. The book captures a pivotal time in the evolution of baseball and of North American society. As if there isn't already a motherlode of stories and milestones to make that a captivating read, this book is rendered even livelier because it focuses on arguably the sport's greatest practitioner and groundbreaker on numerous levels: athlete, entertainer, ambassador, philosopher clown prince and African American icon Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige.
Author Larry Tye's skills at distilling a complex story with layers of themes, towering mountains of data and gaping valleys of omissions in the data (for a sport deeply fascinated with and rich in statistics, recordkeeping in the early days and outside of the then exclusively white major leagues was sketchy at best) are breathtakingly impressive. That the themes and data are digestibly interwoven with infectious storytelling - true or tinted delightfully rose-coloured, all told with gusto - is more impressive still. That this daunting assignment was further complicated by a central figure who contributed as much to his own mystique as he did to his rightful legend makes the whole package, with astutely marshalled sources and research, extraordinary.
How does one write a story about a man who even during his glory days was as much myth as he was real? Leroy "Satchel" Paige is a poster child for the tragedy of segregated baseball. Tye interviewed more than 200 veteran fellow players of the Negro and Major Leagues and fleshes out the Satchel Paige persona. Through Paige's hardscrabble years growing up in Jim Crow Alabama to his time with the Negro Leagues' Kansas City Monarchs, his tours barnstorming against the likes of Dizzy Dean and Bob Feller and seasons played in Cuba, Venezuela ,the Dominican Republic, and the Major Leagues Tye tells the story of one of the finest pitchers ever who finally was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
A joy to read as it was about his life outside of baseball as much as about his baseball career.
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