Customer Reviews


72 Reviews
5 star:
 (46)
4 star:
 (20)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Pastime as Greek Tragedy
From the first paragraph to the last sentence of this gripping book, Asinof grabs your interest and doesn't let go. The story he is telling is fascinating - a tale of talented but clueless ballplayers, manipulating gamblers, money-hungry owners, and corrupt politicians, all coming together to create the greatest scandal the world of baseball has known. He tells it with...
Published on July 30, 2004 by Theo Logos

versus
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice knitting, but no yarn
That eight members of the heavily-favored Chicago White Sox baseball team conspired with gamblers to throw the World Series in 1919 to the underdog Cincinnati Reds was somewhat in dispute -- until about 1920. After a sensational trial that year and several other investigations the general outline of "the fix" became well known, though Mr. Asinof apparently wasn't...
Published on May 8, 2008 by Valjean


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Pastime as Greek Tragedy, July 30, 2004
By 
Theo Logos (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
From the first paragraph to the last sentence of this gripping book, Asinof grabs your interest and doesn't let go. The story he is telling is fascinating - a tale of talented but clueless ballplayers, manipulating gamblers, money-hungry owners, and corrupt politicians, all coming together to create the greatest scandal the world of baseball has known. He tells it with clear, clean prose that keeps the story moving through every detail to its tragic conclusion.
The eight disgraced ballplayers who threw the 1919 World Series have been dubbed the Black Sox for posterity, yet with two exceptions, they are the most sympathetic characters in the whole sordid story. Chick Gandil, the tough first baseman who hatched the scheme, and his friend Swede Risberg, nasty tempered shortstop, who needed no prodding to join in, don't come off well. The rest of the crew, however, seem to have joined in a half-hearted, hapless manner. Particularly tragic are Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of baseball's greatest all-time hitters, whose talent was only exceeded by his naivete, and Buck Weaver, the outstanding thirdbaseman whose only real fault was his loyalty to his friends in not reporting the scheme, as he took no part in throwing the games, and accepted no money. These clueless, grossly underpaid ballplayers, most of who profited little or nothing from the fix, were the only ones punished for the scandal that rocked the nation.
The tale of the gamblers involved is as fascinating as it is telling. Three distinct levels of gamblers were present in the fix. Sleepy Bill Burns was an ex-ballplayer and small time gambler who did the legwork, consulting with the players. He went bust and was double-crossed by both the gamblers above him and Chick Gandil. Abe Attell and Sport Sullivan were a level up on the gambler's food chain - they had some access to the big time boys, but were not part of that exclusive club. Through constant maneuvering and double-dealing, and calculated risk taking, they were able to walk away from the scheme with a tidy profit. Arnold Rothstein was the big time. His money backed the fix, yet he took almost no personal risk, and emerged completely unscathed from the whole nasty affair while turning a huge profit. Big fish eat little fish, no matter what the ocean.
Finally, the least likeable characters of this tragic, real life morality play were Charles Comiskey, owner of the White Sox, and the rest of the baseball owners. For years they had turned a blind eye to the corruption of gambling in the game rather than expose it and risk the popularity of their sport and the profits in their ticket sales. When the fix of the World Series exploded across newspaper headlines, and they could no longer hide their dirty secrets, they used all their wealth and connections, buying off elected officials, and even colluding with the gamblers behind the fix, to protect their reputations and profits. It was their power, their lawyers, their money, that presented eight ballplayers as the scapegoats for national outrage, while willingly sacrificing true justice and exposure of their own hypocrisy. After reading this book, you may be left shaking your head that Charles Comiskey is in the Hall of Fame, and Shoeless Joe Jackson is forever banned from that hallowed hall.
Eight Men Out is a story of baseball, crime, and legal maneuvering. It is a window into the workings of power, and a cautionary tale of the corruption of the American dream and the twisting of justice by powerful interest. Most of all, it is an American tragedy of lives and reputations ruined, dreams shattered, and potential unfulfilled, that is as fascinating as it is sad.
If you are interested in baseball, American history, or the sociology of American society, you should read this book. You will not be disappointed.

Theo Logos
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Baseball History. Great Writing., September 1, 1998
By A Customer
I thought this was an excellent read that I found hard to put down. It is rightly ranked by Roger Kahn ("The Boys of Summer") as one of the best 10 baseball books of all time. No matter how much you know about baseball, this book gives a great background on what being a ball player was like during the first two decades of the century. While it is true it is hard to sympathize with today's athletes who seem to be loyal to the highest salary, this book makes it hard not to sympathize with players who were subject to the salaries imposed upon them and whose only recourse was to sit out. There was no free agency in those days and under the reserve clause a player was at the whim of the team's owner. If he didn't like his pay he could choose not to play for that team, but the owner would also make sure he couln't play for any team. While not condoning gambling by players or throwing games (especially in the World Series), it is hard not to understand the temptations faced by many players who were underpaid, near the end of their careers and with no other skills other than baseball. In those days before social security and major league pensions, a bribe of more than your annual salary and the chance to get even at the owner who, in your eyes, was exploiting you, must have been very tempting indeed.
The book certainly makes you feel sympathetic toward "Shoeless" Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver. Like Pete Rose, these two players probably deserve some of the forgiveness that we're so proud of. Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame and Weaver's name should be cleared.
The writing is superb. It gives us a good feel for the intensity surrounding a World Series, the world of gamblers and the world of sportswriters. It also shows that all the good things about baseball and its traditions are the same today as they were then and serve as a connecting thread through generations.
See the movie again afterwards. It is very faithful to the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a dated classic perhaps, but a classic, December 6, 2000
By 
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
In its time (1965) this book really blew the lid off the long-sanitized version of the Black Sox scandal available to the public. Its readability, depth and refusal to glorify any of the participants are what make it the starting point for any baseball lover seeking the true story of the whole sordid affair. Its placement in greater historical context is especially well done; the reader is reminded that it did not occur in a vacuum. WWI was just over, Prohibition was coming, and the dominant national mood was 'we're very noble, we won the Great War' (all historical debatability of that point aside). Game-throwing was nothing new to baseball, as Asinof points out, but the idea that a full third of a team would throw a World Series was a body blow to what had become somewhat of an egotistical nation.
While some new information has come to light in the last thirty-five years, it has only supplemented what Asinof learned--to my knowledge none of it has been refuted. Considering the number of basements and old offices likely cleared out in the intervening time, and at least one definitely pertinent discovery that I'm aware of (the Grabiner notes), this is quite an accomplishment. Recommended both as baseball history and as a portrait of a lusty, turbulent time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Research, Gripping Tale, November 3, 2001
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
This gripping expose' captures the feel of America in 1919. Author Elliot Asinof shows how the White Sox players (rather, infielder Chick Gandil) first approached the gamblers, and how the fixed World Series proceeded amidst threats, misunderstandings and double-crosses. We also read about the player's 1921 trial for conspiracy, noting that the gamblers escaped unscathed. I liked the author's portraits of conspiring players Eddie Ciccotte and Shoeless Joe Jackson (who's guilt seems modified), the unfairly banished Buck Weaver, and innocent teammates like Ray Schalk and Eddie Collins. Asinof correctly co-indicts baseball's reserve clause and Sox owner Charles Comiskey. The cold-hearted Comiskey precipitated the scandal by grossly underpaying his talented athletes in that already low-wage era. One senses parallels to modern college point-shaving scandals; bitter athletes fixing scores to grab a slice of the pie unfairly denied them.

Since this book first appeared in 1963, free agency boosted player salaries, the missing grand jury confessions surfaced (in offices of Comiskey's late attorney), and this book's movie plus FIELD OF DREAMS brought the scandal to recent light. One thing hasn't changed; the underdog White Sox still have been in just one one World Series (which they lost)in all the years since 1919.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Recap of Baseballs Darkest Days, June 20, 2001
By 
Joseph C. Landon Jr. (Lewisville, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I only knew of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 on a superficial level. This book gives you the details of all the conversations, meetings, and actions that took place between the players, gamblers, and management which led to 8 players of the Chicago White Sox baseball susposedly throwing the 1919 World Series. Asinof has surprising detail of conversations that took place and talks about each person involved as if he knew them personally. You wonder how he received all this info in the age before tape recorders and microphones were prevalent. He certainly did impressive research and the book should be commended for that.
What he doesn't do is take sides and seems to write the book as a distant observer. But at the end you seem to feel somewhat sorry for some of the players involved, especially the ones among the eight (Buck Weaver, Joe Jackson) who didn't necessarily throw their games but were banned for life anyway because of their knowledge of the conspiracy. What would you have done in their position?
Overall, it's most likely the best summary of one of the most incredible and darkest events in sports history. It's must read for all sports fans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revealing, June 16, 2000
The scandal of the 1919 Black Sox is probably the most disilluisioning chapter in the history of baseball. Asinof captured the feeling of America and its reaction to the scandal on and off field. The story is told accurately and with great insight. "Shoeless" Joe was a wonderful player who made bad decisions. He can be both admired and loathed by fans who now know that he wasn't completely innocent as the Sox threw the Worl d Series. It shows how baseball perserviered throught the gambling. Baseball tradition has kept the game alive through many adverse situtations and when gathered together make the history of baseball very rich. A must read for ALL baseball historians and fans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Gentlemen, they went to see a ballgame. But all they saw was a con game."---States Attorney Gorman to the jury, February 17, 2008
By 
mwreview "mwreview" (Northern California, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
"Eight Men Out" was first published in 1963 but may still be considered the definitive account of the 1919 Black Sox scandal which is often brought up in today's media as a reference to the current black spot on baseball ("steroids is the biggest scandal since 1919..."). The Chicago White Sox's loss in the 1919 World Series caused by eight (well, one of the 8--Buck Weaver--actually played to win) players who agreed to throw the series as part of a gambling conspiracy was very complex with many names involved. The strongest part about Asinof's book is how clearly he explains the workings of the series fix. The official trial documents were lost and most of the survivors of that time who were in anyway close to the fix refused to cooperate with the author.

Asinof had to rely in large part on newspaper articles either contemporary or later accounts that revealed hitherto unknown facts about the case. Despite such limitations, Asinof clearly reveals the workings of the gambling world, the motivations of the players involved in the conspiracy, the suspicions of the newspapermen who covered the series, and the response of the higher ups like Charles Comiskey and AL President Byron Johnson in dealing with the scandal. Conjectures were made in the process, but Asinof includes relevant background information on the characters involved to give validity to his interpretations.

The planning of the conspiracy (probably the most difficult part of the story to tell) and the games themselves are the most comprehensive and intriguing parts of the book. The trial and the aftermath were also well-written and thorough covering the fates of almost every character involved. I saw a sports memorabilia catalogue that offered a letter signed by Commissioner Landis to Joe Jackson dated April 6, 1922 which stated "In view of the crime in connection with the World's Series of 1919, of course the money about which you inquire cannot be paid to you" (the minimum bid was $5,000--half of what Cicotte received for his part in the conspiracy). This book definitely gave me a better understanding of what that 1919 scandal that ruined the careers of Jackson and seven of his teammates was about. If one is really interested in this subject, I would recommend also looking at other more recently published books to see if there has been more information unearthed since "Eight Men Out."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the Best Book I have ever read, April 17, 2002
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
Maybe that is an exaggeration. Regardless, the work so effectively completes the picture of the 1919 world series scandal. The writing is clear and vivid. No background information about the scandal or baseball is necessary to enjoy this book. The novel expresses the historical portrait of post WWI and pre depression America, with unregulated gambling and little unionization. The use of media and press in sports and scandal of this trial beckons how media, sports, and scandals are related today. I hope everybody gets a chance to read at least one page, because you can't put it down afterwards.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE BLACKSOX SCANDAL!!!!!, May 20, 2001
By 
Jason Ryan Furrow (San Antonio, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
Eliot Asinof's Eight Men Out gave an excellent depiction of the first World Series played after WWI. This series had everything, one of the greatest baseball teams of all time (Blacksox) playing a Reds team that was supposed to get swept. It also had the most famous scandal in baseball history, along with millions of baseball fans, after a devastating war, trying to watch a good wholesome series and forget what happened in WWI. Unfortunately they got a fixed series. It was a very unfortunate ending to the likely Hall of Fame careers of Buck Weaver and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, but that's the price one must pay for gambling. The only reason why this book didn't get five stars was the lack of post trial coverage and careers after their early exit from baseball. Other than that I recommend this book to baseball fans of all ages and guarantee that no matter how much of a history buff you are you can learn something from this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you want the real story? Start reading "Eight Men Out"!, June 12, 2001
This review is from: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series (Paperback)
This book changed my entire philosophy behind the "Black Sox" scandal and the other related stories of that time frame. Asinof gives not only an accurate description of the 1919 World Series and its aftermath, but also delves into the other scandals of that era, making the reader further understand the circumstances surounding scandalous baseball. He brings new considerations to readers who have previously misunderstood and or misread about the times of Shoeless Joe and the other ball players of that time. After reading his book I find that most of the further reading I have done on the topic has been inaccurate or misleading. My personal desire to learn and eventually write on the topic of my favorite Black Sox player ultimately came from this wonderful book. I rate this book nothing less than the best; 5 stars. A great read for any sports enthusiast!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof (Paperback - May 1, 2000)
$17.99 $13.66
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.