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Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time Hardcover – August 17, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gehrig, who played baseball for the New York Yankees from 1925 to 1939, is best known for having participated in a record 2130 consecutive games--and for having died at 37 (in 1941) of what is now called Lou Gehrig's disease. His career was a triumphant one, even though he labored for many years in the shadow of Babe Ruth, but Gehrig's personal life was not without problems. He was born into near-poverty in New York City, the son of an unambitious father and a driving, domineering mother. His immigrant parents wanted him to earn a college degree, but he left Columbia when the big money of baseball beckoned. Exceedingly shy and inarticulate, he was seen by many as sullen and unfriendly, although all respected him. He had a happy marriage but his mother hated his wife. This biography by Robinson ( Oh Baby, I Love It! ) is sensitive and moving. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- The shy and reserved Lou Gehrig, overshadowed by Babe Ruth, played for the New York Yankees from 1925-1939 and earned the nickname "Iron Horse" for playing in 2130 consecutive games. Robinson traces Gehrig's life from his poverty-stricken childhood with a domineering mother until he drops out of Columbia to play baseball. His happy marriage is covered, plus an insight into baseball during the 1920s and 1930s. His death at the age of 37 from a rare disease, now called Lou Gehrig's disease, completes a carefully researched biography. Appendices follow his baseball record and list winners of the Lou Gehrig Award.
- Mike Printz, Topeka West High School, KS
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 17, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393028577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393028577
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,659,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Boehm on June 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Even though I am a Cubs fan, my favorite baseball player is Lou Gehrig. This book has a lot of baseball information that My Luke and I did not have.
If you want to read about Gehrigs baseball career this is a great book to read. I suggest if you really want to read about Gehrig get a copy of My Luke and I By Elenor Gehrig even if it is out of print.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Randy Pathe ( on September 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Ray Robinson gives us a different look at Lou's life. The often strained relation with fellow teammate Babe Ruth. The softness in Lou's heart that touches many as well as the outstanding performances Lou achieved in his brillant baseball career that were often over shadowed by Ruth. A definate must read for Yankees fans, baseball fans and anyone one interested in a remarkable man.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
In "Iron Horse", Ray Robinson gives the reader an introduction to the Lou Gehrig persona. More than a list of records and triumphs of the baseball star, we meet the human being behind the records. I always had the impression that Gehrig was a good man, whereas Babe Ruth was only a good baseball player. This book confirms that impression.

Growing up the son of German immigrants, Gehrig had the disadvantage of being something of an outsider in his own world. Baseball was just one avenue he traveled in his efforts to advance himself. Various jobs and Columbia University were other options pursued by Lou. His parents discouraged him from playing a game which they did not understand. When Lou had to choose between Columbia University and baseball, his parents urged the University, while a professor recommended baseball. Going to work every day was not extraordinary for Lou. That was how his parents raised him.

In his chosen trade, Lou achieved excellence and attention wherever he played. Lou lived the thrill of playing baseball, and as a Yankee to boot! Lou always considered himself the luckiest man alive, even as he lived in the shadow of two giants, Babe Ruth at the start of his career, and Joe DiMaggio toward the end. Through it all, Lou considered himself a lucky man.

Robinson leads the reader through a character study of his boyhood hero. We see Lou's relationships with his loving parents who could never understand the stage on which he strode. His wife, who gave him joy while suffering his mother's resentment, would be his solace in his illness. His relationships with his team mates, particularly Babe Ruth, get much attention. In this book we see Gehrig as a man not only driven by passions and wants, but guided by a sense of right and wrong.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many traps are set for the baseball biographer. S/he can fall into biased hero-worship; lapse into the recitation of dusty, Biblical lists: "And in 1930 he hit .379, which begat an average of .341 the following year, and verily an average of .349 in the year 1932, and ..."; bombard us with information of questionable value; bore us.
Ray Robinson falls into every one of those traps. There are pages and pages of dry as dust technical stuff which reads poorly. If a biographer wishes to get into the details of how a player learns to hit to the opposite field or how he adjusts his grip or how he deals with left-handed sinkerball pitchers going to the outside of the plate, it has to be presented well. Present it as a measure of personal growth, wrap it up in interesting anecdotes, surround it with spicy quotes, offer it as a baseball primer or an insider's tip. What we get in "Iron Horse" are pages of dull, drab detail.
The writing does not help. Right from the start, we know we're not in good hands with a meaningless, clichéd subtitle like "Lou Gehrig in His Time". Of course he's in his time. Who else's time is he going to be in? Bad word choices drop like clumsy anvils: we are told that Lou "experienced" a five-for-five game.
There is also a fan's bias pervading the book that gets tiresome. Yes, the author nails his colors to the mast as a Gehrig devotee from the start, but after a while his determination to interpret everything Lou ever did in the best possible light makes one suspicious. If Gehrig were allowed to have a few human flaws, instead of the author defensively explaining away anything conceivable as a lapse, he - and the book - would be more accessible.
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By K.A.Goldberg on January 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a very readable and personal biography of baseball's Iron Horse. As many know, slugger Lou Gherig (1903-1941) was one of baseball's all-time greats, with 493 homers (23 grand slams), a lifetime batting average of .340, plus a .447 On-base-average and .632 Slugging percentage. Gherig's record 2,130 straight games played (finally eclipsed by Cal Ripken in 1995) would have continued if not for the onset of the fatal disease that now bears his name. In author Ray Robinson's skillful hands we come to know Gherig, his nice-guy shyness, devotion to his mother (and later, wife Eleanor), and quiet, classy demeanor. We also get a feel for his upbringing, his days at Columbia University, and more importantly, big league baseball in the 1920-1930's. The author interviewed many ex-teammates like Lefty Gomez, Waite Hoyt, Phil Rizzuto, Bill Dickey, Tommy Henrich, etc., and their words add immensely to the narrative. Robinson notes how Gherig's accomplishments were often overshadowed by Babe Ruth and others, but given Lou's quite persona perhaps it didn't bother him. The author also shows the too-soon decline, as the tragic disease took its toll on this immensely decent, incredibly-strong man, and indirectly his family - his parents had no other surviving children, and his widow never remarried while dedicating her remaining four decades to raising funds for research.

At less than 300 paperback pages, this book may not be as detailed as other Gehrig biographies. Still, it is readable, well-researched, very personal, and highly moving.
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