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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rose by Any Other Name
Pete Rose is an icon, despite all that has happened to him over the years. A player more dedicated than talented he still reigns as the best there ever was. He is still the all time hits leader in MLB despite having been retired from the game for a quarter century. He was also a leader of men, providing the fiery energy needed for success on the Big Red Machine of the...
Published 9 months ago by Roger D. Launius

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Might have liked it better if the storyline would have stayed more ...
Might have liked it better if the storyline would have stayed more chronological, particularly in the first third of the book. Got used to it and the flow by then.
Lots of interesting tidbits and a fairly candid assessment. Have to say the author gave words to what I had been thinking about Pete, both consciously and maybe subconsciously.
Coaching baseball back...
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer


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32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rose by Any Other Name, March 16, 2014
By 
Roger D. Launius (Washington, D.C., United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
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Pete Rose is an icon, despite all that has happened to him over the years. A player more dedicated than talented he still reigns as the best there ever was. He is still the all time hits leader in MLB despite having been retired from the game for a quarter century. He was also a leader of men, providing the fiery energy needed for success on the Big Red Machine of the 1970s and the Phillies World Champion of 1980. At the same time he was a demon-haunted human being whose vices were just as overpowering as his virtues.

Kostya Kennedy tries to bring all of this into perspective in this new biography of one of baseball’s giants. We find out little new here, but it is well presented and convincingly argued. Yes, Rose had a lot of shady friends. Yes, he was an inveterate gambler, womanizer, all around jerk. Yes, he was a driven, single-minded performer on the sports stage. Yes, he broke rules, laws, and other conventions of society.

He also has the all-time Major League record for career base hits (4,256), games played (3,562), and at-bats (14,053). He has three World Champion rings, 1975 and 1976 with the Cincinnati Reds and 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1973, took three batting titles (1968, 1969, and 1973), and was a 17-time all star.

In every way imaginable, Pete Rose is one of the greatest players ever, emphasis on “ever,” in Major League Baseball. Yet he is not in the Hall of Fame and has been banned from the game life. His experience is tragic, polarizing, and evergreen. The author expends considerable effort to come to grips with the question of whether or not Rose should be banned from baseball and prohibited from induction in the Hall of Fame. I admit that I’m all for it. Someone got all of those hits and other accolades from his career. That person belongs in the Hall. That person is Pete Rose. He might have been less than successful at life, but he certainly was successful at baseball. If we barred entry to the Hall for all of those who failed in life but were great players I would have to throw out a bunch of Cooperstown enshrines starting with Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby and Babe Ruth. Kennedy pretty much shares those sentiments.

Rose’s situation is amplified by the steroid era in which many, many players nearing their time for consideration for the Hall of Fame are not banned from the process despite suspicions of their culpability in PED use. We’ll see what happens.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY FINE BRIEF HISTORY, March 5, 2014
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
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I was raised in Greater Cincinnati, and raised through the Rose period. I am a Pete Rose supporter. Think he should be in the Hall of Fame. He has paid his penalty. That said...PETE ROSE An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy is a very fine effort, a short history of Pete Rose that covers his life without dwelling at any phase too long. It is easy to read and filled with great insight. Like another reviewer said, I read the book in one day. Interesting. Rose indeed is a dilemma, controversial and usually sets off arguments. Read this book, get the facts, then argue better whatever side you are on. There are a lot of books out there on Rose, this is one of the better ones. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steroid Era casts Pete Rose in a different light, March 9, 2014
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
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Author Kostya Kennedy writes that "perhaps the most polarizing and provocative question in sports is, 'Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame?'" He says Rose is a figure who stirs uncommon passion, righteousness and indignation.

It's been more than 25 years since Rose has been banned from baseball for betting on baseball. And, in 1991 a 10-person special Hall of Fame committee was established with the idea of keeping Rose out of the Hall of Fame. The committee, termed "a sham" by sportswriter Jack Lang, passed a resolution that "Persons on the ineligible list can't be eligible candidates for the Hall of Fame." The resolution was later passed into the Hall of Fame's by-laws. Rose, however, was the only player the by-law applied to.

There's no question about Rose's on-the-field baseball credentials: the all-time hits leader with 4,256, an All-Star at five positions, the epitome of hustle and how to play the game the right way and The Sporting News' Player of the Decade for the 1970s.

San Francisco sportswriter Wells Twombley wrote, "A player like Pete Rose only comes along once in a lifetime."

Rose's off-the-field activities of gambling and womanizing (neither one of which he tried to hide) didn't endear him to some teammates or baseball officials. Rose had only two commandments in baseball and life: be on time and play hard.

The sudden death of Pete's father, Harry, in 1970 of a heart attack had a profound effect on him. Kennedy writes, "Pete would never again feel the accountability the way he felt to his dad. With his dad gone, Pete didn't care who he might disappoint."
Pete's sister added, "If Dad were still alive, Pete wouldn't have drifted and fallen like he has."

In the first two-thirds of the book, Kennedy recounts Rose's childhood and baseball career. Kennedy doesn't focus on The Dowd Report until page 190. John Dowd, who investigated Rose, says he regrets how the matter unfolded, and he wished that he and Rose had been able to discuss the matter man-to-man without the lawyers. He believes Rose might have admitted his guilt, accepted the consequences and eventually been eligible for the Hall of Fame.

Sportswriter Jack Lang said, "If Pete had admitted his crime, there would be a public demand he be eligible for the Hall of Fame."

Commissioner Fay Vincent believes Rose violated a cardinal baseball rule, but also a principle, a moral boundary. Vincent said, "Rose is a man without a moral compass."

The Steroid Era, however, has cast Rose in a different light. Kennedy writes, "Rose was banned for the incalculable damage he may have done to the foundation of the game. Steroid users are reviled for the damage they actually did."

Kennedy does an admirable job of recounting Rose's career and his impact on the game, capturing his personality and shortcomings and framing "the Pete Rose question." Although Rose violated a cardinal baseball rule and is ineligible for the Hall of Fame, it's nice to be reminded of Pete Rose, the baseball player. It makes his situtation, however, even sadder.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Evenhanded Look At Pete Rose, May 29, 2014
By 
scesq "scesq" (New Milford, New Jersey USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
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I grew up watching Pete Rose. I was never a big fan partly because of the fight he had with Bud Harrelson in the 1973 playoffs and later because of the allegations that he bet on baseball which he eventually admitted to, but I always respected him as a player. This book looks at Rose's career as well as the allegations about his gambling. It is a well written book that, while fair, made me think better of Rose.

Pete Rose is portrayed in this book as an overachiever who played hard and always supported the underdog as long as he was not on the other team. His baseball records speak for themselves.

As a young Mets fan Pete Rose's style of play was brought to life for me in game 3 of the 1973 National League Playoffs. As detailed in this book Rose came in hard at second base and slid into Mets shortstop Buddy Harrelson. As he popped up he elbowed Harrelson in the cheek and a brief fight ensued with Harrelson getting the worst of it. Other players joined in. After the fight broke up the Mets manager and four players had beg the upset fans to stop throwing from throwing things at rose in left field or th game would be forfeit despite the Mets leading 9-2 at the time.

Prior to that Rose also was known for a collision at home plate in the 1970 All-Star game injuring himself as well as catcher Ray Fosse who separated his shoulder and never was the same player.

In both instances Rose is viewed as someone who played hard and was not afraid to slide hard or barrel into a catcher which was viewed as standard play back then. He also would not hesitate to do or say something that would rally his team or distract the other team.

The book takes a thorough look at players who had bet on baseball in the past, the Dowd Report, Rose's betting on baseball and his ban from baseball and being elected to the Hall of Fame. The author really does look at all sides when it comes to whether the ban should continue or be lifted and whether or not Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. He also looks at all sides when it comes to Rose as a person.

Rose is " An American Dilemma." For some he is proof that if you work hard you can succeed in life even if you don't seem as gifted as others. For others he is proof of what happens when people think they are above the rules.

This is a very well written book. I read it in two nights. I thought better of Rose after reading the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping biography, July 28, 2014
By 
Ron (Tacoma, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
Once I started this book, I could not put it down. Kostya Kennedy shows both the good and bad of this baseball great. As someone who grew up watching Pete Rose play, I admired his on the field accomplishments, and this book did a great job of reminding me of all that Pete did as a player. No one played harder, no one put more of himself into the game than Rose did. The parts of the book that dealt with his dark side were sometimes hard to read - this was a guy who had everything in the world, and he lost much of it due to his reckless and dangerous behavior. Perhaps no one suffered more from the fallout of Rose's bad habits than his son, Pete, Jr. It was enlightening to learn about Pete, Jr.'s long journey through the minor leagues, and the taunting he endured from fans everywhere. Also informative was the background on Pete's own mother and father. Does Rose belong in the Hall of Fame? I say yes. He made more than his share of mistakes, but I believe he deserves a second chance. Read the whole story here and come to your own conclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must-read for Baseball Fans, May 24, 2014
By 
Jack de L.A. (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
Baseball is a game of numbers. However, when it comes to the heart and soul of America's pastime, statistics such as strikeout totals, on-base percentages, and career hits aren't just cold, dry tabulations. Instead, these figures are barometers for a player's commitment to the fans. From 1963 through 1986, no Major League player embodied the stats-and-passion spirit of baseball like Pete Rose. In his new book, "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma," author Kostya Kennedy provides a candid and intriguing account of Charlie Hustle's life, career, and tragic downfall as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

Not only is Kennedy's book thoroughly researched, it's also nicely paced. While many authors try to cram every trivial factoid of their research into their final manuscripts, Kennedy exercised exquisite discretion in preparing his text. To this end, Kennedy only includes pivotal insights and revealing quotes in his work, ensuring that the reader will gain a comprehensive understanding of Rose's life, without having to wade through a quagmire of superfluous detail.

In addition to its brisk-but-thorough pacing, Kennedy's text also supplies a tactful, evenhanded, and objective analysis of Rose's banishment from the Hall of Fame. Like an effective political-science professor, Kennedy explores all of the controversies surrounding Rose's lifetime ban without ever revealing his personal feelings on the issue. Insofar as this point is concerned, one of the most penetrating sections of the book deals with the biographic differences between former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent and Pete Rose. As Kennedy explains, Vincent was a product of New England's blue-blood, prep-school patrician class. Consequently, Vincent took an austere, Puritan stance on rule-breaking and sanctions. On the other hand, Rose was a product of the industrial, down-and-dirty, work-hard-and-play-hard ethos of blue-collar Cincinnati. As a result, Rose saw rule bending and gambling as morally acceptable, as long as no one got hurt and the job got done. Suffice it to say that Kennedy's exploration of the biographic chasm between Vincent and Rose is one of the high points of the book.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" is the case Kennedy makes for Rose's induction into Cooperstown. As Kennedy points out, Rose's gambling peccadilloes never directly damaged the game of baseball. While Kennedy concedes that Rose's gambling and lies had a less-than-pristine patina to them, he also acknowledges that, unlike the record-shattering juice-heads who've befouled baseball in recent years, Rose's vices never did any damage to the game he loved so much.

There's no doubt that Kennedy's book is replete with virtues, but with that being said, it should also be stated that the writing in "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" is far from perfect. The book's sentences are often choppy and incomplete, the semantic pacing is disjointed, and the punctuation is tortured. In all fairness, however, the writing issues in Kennedy's book are probably less the fault of the author than they are of the editor. There's no doubt that Kennedy is a strong storyteller with a keen eye for detail. As a result, it's too bad that an editor didn't massage Kennedy's phraseology into something that would be more palatable for readers.

The bottom line: Reading "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" isn't like reading a sleekly written, smoothly polished article in The New Yorker. In a strange way though, Kennedy's writing issues are thematically consistent with Pete Rose himself: both are rough around the edges, but they're also extraordinarily accomplished in their own ways. In this sense, both Kennedy's book and Rose's career are worthy of celebration.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Rose Has A Few Thorns, July 1, 2014
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
The story of Pete Rose left me with mixed feelings about one of baseball's greatest players. No doubt his on the field accomplishments stand right up there with the best, but his addiction to gambling may have somewhat tarnished his image in some people's eyes to some degree that he not be put in the Hall of Fame.

Pete Rose was no doubt a leader when he was with the Reds and later with the Phillies. Charlie Hustle's physical and mental attitude towards the game is very unique, unlike a lot of ballplayers . He help set the standard as to how a ballplayer should play.

One forgets that ballplayers are all human, with human failings and feelings like the rest of us. Just like Hollywood stars, we put them on such a high pedestal, we don't want to see the dark side, so we just look away. We try to seperate the two, but I guess it is easier said than done, especially when one affects the other. And for me, that's where I am torn.

With steroid use being what it is, and certain ball players who cheated using other methods, who's to say what Rose did is any better or worse?? If you are going to put other players in the Hall of Fame who have cheated, in my opinion Pete Rose should be in there too. Either let them all in or let no one in. Pete Rose has paid his dues, as sad as that may sound considering the circumstances.

Thank you Kostya Kennedy for the wonderful yet sad look into one of baseball's great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprises About Pete Rose, August 28, 2014
By 
D.A.W. (Sarasota, FL) - See all my reviews
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I grew up in a state Ohio border town in Indiana. Everyone living there were Reds fans. I even went to games in the old Crosley Field. For years I listened to Reds radio announcer Waite Hoyt. Rose and I are the same age and I started following his tenure when he first started playing for the Reds. As a fan I only knew about him from what was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer and what antidotes provided by Waite.This book as brought many memories about his playing with the Reds and an incite into his live off of the field. Unfortunately for me, finding out about his troubled private life had been very disappointing. I do not think he is a person that I would have liked very much if I got to know him in this private life, even though his ability to hit the ball and spark the play of any team that he joined, is second to no other MLB baseball player.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insightful Look Into The Personality Of A Man Possessing Little Personal Insight, April 21, 2014
This review is from: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma (Hardcover)
Kostya Kennedy's new book on Pete Rose provides a fascinating look into the way Pete Rose thinks about life, and at the same time doesn't think about it. It is clear that he can compartmentalize his life maybe even better than he played the game. In explaining Rose's personality, Kennedy provides insight into the reasons Rose is a polarizing figure, and also explains why we from the outside see the tragedy in his life while Rose simply chooses not to see it at all. The highlights of his career are covered really well--his rookie season, the collision with Ray Fosse, his helping the Phillies become a winner. At the same time, the divide, even among his former teammates, about whether he should be in the HOF, and his interesting ability to repeatedly undercut his chances, are on full display here. I got a greater appreciation for the valuable player he was--and at the same time, a feeling he is a bit like the proverbial car wreck. It's not pretty, but it is hard to look away. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Might have liked it better if the storyline would have stayed more ..., July 22, 2014
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Might have liked it better if the storyline would have stayed more chronological, particularly in the first third of the book. Got used to it and the flow by then.
Lots of interesting tidbits and a fairly candid assessment. Have to say the author gave words to what I had been thinking about Pete, both consciously and maybe subconsciously.
Coaching baseball back in the early 90's my oldest son idolized Pete and emulated him on the diamond. The hustle and love of the game part that is! Over 30 and raising his own family now he keeps baseball in his life traveling around the country to nearly every park. We live 700 miles apart and get to at least one game together every year.
Point is Pete Rose and his approach to the game with exuberance, passion and obvious love rubbed off on millions of Americans. So commissioner - let the sports writers vote. If they put him in along with the other dozens of flawed heroes then do be it.
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Pete Rose: An American Dilemma
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy (Hardcover - March 11, 2014)
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