Automotive Holiday Deals Books Gift Guide Books Gift Guide Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Train egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Grocery Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Holiday Music in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now Tikes
Branch Rickey: A Life (Penguin Lives) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Branch Rickey (Penguin Lives) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 17, 2011

45 customer reviews

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge
"Please retry"
$1.58 $0.01

"The Ghosts of K2"
The epic real-life story of the first ascent of the legendary mountain. See more.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize–winning Breslin offers this slim biography on baseball manager and executive Branch Rickey, a man Breslin refers to as a œGreat American. What results is a well-rounded look at a man who not only reformed competitive sports but also influenced the norms of society by helping Jackie Robinson break baseball™s color barrier. Born to a tight-knit family in Ohio in the late 19th century, Rickey™s career as a major league player didn™t last long (as a catcher, he once allowed 13 stolen bases in a game), so he graduated from law school and became the manager of the St. Louis Browns. Yet his most far-reaching achievements happened decades later during his time in Brooklyn, when he shook baseball to its foundations by bringing Robinson to the Dodgers. Rickey as general manager knew there would be backlash and Robinson would be subject to rampant racism, but he was undeterred and never stooped to the level of those who attempted to sabotage his work. As he later told a group of students, œracial extractions and color hues and forms of worship become secondary to what men can do. Breslin™s gift for easy-to-read yet hard-hitting prose will touch even those who aren™t baseball fans. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Branch Rickey grew up poor in Ohio but graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University. Later, he invented baseball�s minor-league farm system and built winning teams in St. Louis, Brooklyn, and Pittsburgh. Yet one accomplishment dwarfs all others: he integrated baseball when he signed Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line in 1947. The mistreatment of a college teammate fueled his altruism, but Rickey also knew black players would expand baseball�s fan base. Breslin, the acclaimed newspaper columnist and best-selling author, tells the Rickey-Robinson story in his own inimitable style, pointing out that before Rickey even selected Robinson, he aligned New York�s business and legislative power brokers into a supportive alliance. Much has been written about Rickey�s commitment to Robinson, but Breslin brings out the fact that the experiment might never have worked if Rickey hadn�t been such a shrewd businessman, challenging baseball�s racist ownership and gaining the backing of the game�s commissioner. And, yet, the heart of the story remains Robinson�s strength of character and Rickey�s understanding that it would take a very special person to endure the humiliation that would come with breaking the color line. This is a wonderful book, bringing new life to a much-told story; long a social activist, Breslin is filled with disdain for the small-minded and the haters, while exuding admiration for those who defy them. In a revealing epilogue that connects the dots, Breslin ends on Election Night 2008 in Brooklyn, at a polling place located at the Jackie Robinson School�the night Barack Obama was elected president of the U.S. --Wes Lukowsky

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Lives
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022496
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,054,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hillman on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The wonderful "Penguin Lives" series has hit another home run with Breslin's insightful, entertaining and revealing treatment of the man who, as GM of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the late 1940's, had the courage and foresight to facilitate Jackie Robinson's extraordinary breaking of the sport's color bar.

These "Lives" books are not meant to be exhaustive biographies. Generally, there are no indices, source notes. Rather, the author provides a quite selective bibliography for readers wanting fuller treatment. The mission of the "Lives" books, rather, is to sketch the full life, and home in on significant, inspiring acts of the subject that truly made a positive difference in the world. The several I have read, including this one, have the sense of a masterful story-teller chatting knowingly with me across a kitchen table.

Enter Breslin, an icon himself, who for more than 55 years has moved us to tears and laughter and greater understanding. His selection to treat Rickey really is "beautiful." By story's end, Penguin's choice of Rickey as the inaugural sports figure in the series--ahead of Robinson, Ruth, Thorpe--also seems totally appropriate. As Breslin shows, without Rickey doggedly pursuing his vision of integration against many foes, a decade (or more) might have passed unchanged.

What led Rickey to dissent from all 15 other baseball owners (Breslin provides their ridiculously pious and hypocritical "Statement on Race") and dedicate himself and his team to integration?
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Book Mark on February 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
My interest in learning more and more about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey has ground exponentially since watching the well-done blockbuster 42 that appeared in my HBO-watch list. From Harrison Ford's role in the film, I felt that Branch was 85% in it for the money - did he really want to change the world? People are motivated by so many different things, and I was impressed that his religious faith and morals played such a big part.

This book is a nice entry into the life of Rickey, but I found it a bit lacking for my appetite. It is certainly well-written and to the point, but it doesn't seem to bring forth much more information than was revealed in the movie. I plan to check out books Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who Broke Baseball's Color Barrier and Jackie Robinson: My Own Story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David R. Anderson on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Branch Rickey by Jimmy Breslin

Jimmy Breslin's paean of praise to Branch Rickey is the fourth and most recent title in the Penguin Lives Series to frame the American struggle to provide equality to Black Americans in terms of the people who helped make it happen. Biographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Abraham Lincoln preceded Rickey's. Of the four, Rickey's contribution is perhaps the least celebrated, but by no means the least important. Had Rickey not hired Jackie Robinson to play second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, no telling when the color line in big league sports would have been breached and black athletes and others given the opportunities that had been withheld from them as a matter of law and custom from the day the first slave ship landed at Charleston.

Breslin tells the story as if he were holding forth in an Irish pub across the street from Ebbets Field. He writes in an easy, conversational voice which takes you in and makes you want to hear more. While many readers and fans know the highlights of the Rickey-Robinson story, what is not so well known is how much planning went into the groundwork to bring Robinson up to the majors. Among Rickey's challenges, the opposition of all the other owners in the major leagues, the need to persuade the New York legislature to pass a fair employment law, and the shrill opposition of many sports writers and politicians with Jim Crow sympathies.

Like the other books in this worthwhile series, it is short (146 pages) and to the point. Breslin hits the high spots in Rickey's remarkable life and in his mission to end the humiliation that marks second class citizenship wherever it is found. Rickey deserves all the praise that comes his way.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Byrne on May 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Jimmy Breslin has written a short, rather pithy biography of Branch Rickey. It's sort of a wikipedia of Ricky bios. He feels the need to bring Barak Obama up in the very first paragraph. Which is rather amusing, since Rickey was a life-long Republican and Jackie Robinson supported Richard Nixon. Later in the prologue he gives you a list of the only Rickey books he considers worthwhile.

He seems determined to give you an, "aw shucks" approach to Rickey's life; as if you were sitting on the front porch having a chat. Factually, I think he did pretty well, since he drew on a couple of the books on his approved list for his tome. Not much research on his part was (evidently) needed.

No book is expected to be error-free. But I sat up straight when I read Breslin's statement that Jackie Robinson played in his first World Series in 1952. Any junior Robinson fan knows that he led the Dodgers to the Series in his rookie season of 1947, and most know that the team was back in 1949. Minimal research would have prevented this error.

Other than being a lot shorter than other Rickey bios, I don't see why this was written. In the past month I've learned more about Branch Rickey (and the Robinson part of his tale) from books by Red Barber, Arthur Mann and Harvey Frommer. Breslin's book absolutely isn't worth the cover price (I bought it used). I can't imagine using it as a resource in the future.

Jackie Robinson is my idol. And naturally, I hold Branch Rickey in great regard. There aren't a lot of Rickey books out there, but the others are better than this one. And many of the Robinson books are more informative about Rickey than this one.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: cigars now