Social and sports history meet capably in this eventful account, a boon for baseball fans.



A vigorous history of a little-known episode in the integration of professional sports.

Jackie Robinson came first, of course, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. For that reason, writes Epplin, “it is perhaps inevitable that the second team in Major League Baseball to integrate in the twentieth century would be overshadowed by the first.” But in that season and the next, that second team, the Cleveland Indians, brought on two Black players. The first, renowned pitcher Satchel Paige, is well known today; by that time, he was already in his 40s and had been knocking around in the Negro Leagues for more than two decades, “someone who was incongruously both a major-league rookie and a baseball legend.” Paige did not disappoint, striking fear in the hearts of those who faced him on the mound. The second player, Larry Doby, is less well known, but Epplin brings him vividly to life. The author provides an indelible portrait of the duo galloping across the season, giving the Indians a World Series win in 1948. In this deeply researched account, the author also chronicles the contributions of two White men: team owner Bill Veeck and pitcher Bob Feller, who once could “throw a fastball that some major leaguers deemed the swiftest they’d ever encountered.” Feller had been having a bad time of it, but Indians fans flocked to Paige. Not only did Veeck integrate Cleveland stadium—at one game against the Dodgers, “one out of every six Black residents in Cleveland was in attendance”—he consistently demonstrated his skills as a showman. Quite apart from his role in bringing Black players into the game (Doby considered him a second father), Veeck also pioneered between-innings giveaways, pregame shows, postgame firework displays, and other standard tropes of modern pro baseball, contributions that have been largely unsung.

Social and sports history meet capably in this eventful account, a boon for baseball fans.

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31379-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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