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 mobile phone number.

FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Black Maestro: The Epic L... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: book is in acceptable condition. considerable wear.
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 all 2 images

Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend Paperback – July 3, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.99
$6.43 $0.01
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$15.00

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
$14.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend
  • +
  • Wink:  The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield
Total price: $29.96
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times writer Drape (The Race for the Triple Crown) illuminates a little-known figure in the history of American sports: Jimmy Winkfield, the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. Like that of more well-known black performers Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker, Winkfield's successwas a mixed blessing: racism and injustice ultimately force Winkfield to flee his native country for Russia, where he witnesses the revolution and lands in Paris with other Russians. The youngest of 17 children in a Kentucky sharecropping family, Winkfield's passion for horses sets in early, and his slight stature bolsters his desire to be a jockey, "where blacks and whites rubbed shoulders without cross words or a stinging backhand to upset the harmony."Black jockeys such as "the legendary slave jockey Simon ... who helped drive General Andrew Jackson from the racing game" and Isaac Murphy, who was so successful, he built himself a $10,000 house before the turn of the 20th century. While Drape's attempts at novel-esque narrative occasionally read cliché, this well-researched biography of Jimmy Winkfield and the larger chapter of America his life highlights is a valuable and entertaining read. 16 page b&w photo insert.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The prospects for a small black man born in the American South in 1882 were grim. That Jimmy Winkfield, the seventeenth child of a sharecropper, grew from such barren ground to become the toast of three continents is nearly incredible. Winkfield's gift was a unique ability to understand and communicate with Thoroughbred racehorses. He parlayed that gift into worldwide success as a jockey, winning consecutive runnings of the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902 before fleeing America's racism for even greater fame in Europe and in Russia. Along the way, he married three times (twice to white women), took two mistresses, fathered five children, made and lost fortunes, and was a firsthand witness to many of the events that shaped the twentieth century. Drape's exhaustive research allows him to tell Winkfield's story in detail and in context. While fully appreciative of Winkfield's accomplishments as a jockey, a horseman, and a man, Drape doesn't gloss over the jockey's many transgressions against those he loved, and that is what makes this biography not just a tribute but a life. Dennis Dodge
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 65%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
  • Thousands of books are eligible, including current and former best sellers.
  • Look for the Kindle MatchBook icon on print and Kindle book detail pages of qualifying books. You can also see more Kindle MatchBook titles here or look up all of your Kindle MatchBook titles here.
  • Read the Kindle edition on any Kindle device or with a free Kindle Reading App.
  • Print edition must be purchased new and sold by Amazon.com.
  • Gifting of the Kindle edition at the Kindle MatchBook price is not available.
Learn more about Kindle MatchBook.


The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006125228X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061252280
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grant H. Pace on May 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book has it all. An amazing story, one that rivals Forest Gump for eccentric adventures. A well wrought and meaningful look at racism, and one man's equanimous manner of dealing with it. And the sure hand of Joe Drape, whose horseracing coverage for the New York Times has no rival in the industry. A must read. It's got Seabiscuit's depth and incredibly detailed research, with even more heroic heights. It is amazing that this story is not a part of racing, and our country's lore. But thanks to this book, my guess is it becomes just that.
Comment 14 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Hardcover
What a story! Born one of 17 children in a poor, black, Kentucky farm, Jimmy Winkfield won the Kentucky Derby twice. He tried again in 1903 but failed and his career was over. Except that by moving to Europe and Russia he continued as a top rider in the Sport of Kings.

He was doing exceedingly well when the 1917 Revolution came along to disrupt. So what he did then was to collect some 250 horses and drive them to Poland. Later he moved to Paris and was living there when the Germans came in 1940. He returned to the United States where he again became a victum of the blatent racism of the time. Again he was able to persevere and prosper by turning broken-down thoroughbreds into money-making racehorses.

This is an exceedingly well researched, very well written book that brings a little known sports figure a small amount of the recognition he deserves. This book follows 'Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield (ISBN: 0071418628)'

When asked why he picked this subject, the author responded: 'Jimmy Winkfield lived a life that transcended sports or horses. He witnessed lynchings, felt the constraints of Jim Crow laws. He was a rich man with a white valet in Russia. He romanced beautiful women on three continents, dodged bullets and the Bolsheviks to save some of the world's finest thoroughbreds in a trail drive that makes 'Lonesome Dove' look like a walk in the park. He was chased out of France by the Nazis and, in 1961, had to demand the right to enter a party that he was invited to at Louisville's Brown Hotel. This wild arc was all made possible because of Jimmy's singular gift for communicating with racehorses.'
Comment 7 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Hardcover
This book is so well written that it got me hooked on it right away and I am not a racing fan. The author, Joe Drape really captured the essence of Jimmy Winkfield and brought his story to life in this book. After reading this book I was left with the firm understanding that man can accomplish so much in a lifetime; it is up to us to make something of our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. It is a truly amazing account of one man's life. Jimmy Winkfield is a legend and I would not have heard about him if it were not for this book.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Drape paints an indelible picture of the racial strife that haunted African Americans in the racing industry following the Civil War and the introduction of Jim Crow laws, but equally shares the opportunities that were present for those few, like Jimmy Winkfield, who were willing to relocate to Europe in the wake of the often violent attitudes in his home country. I found ample sources of new reading material on prominent African Americans in Europe and was especially surprised to learn of the positive treatment they received in Russia of all places given its reputation for bigotry and prejudice today. The book is well researched, but suffers from a bit of disjointedness that sometimes left me to trying to remember how certain characters fit into the overall narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to others interested in 19th and 20th Century history and the lessons it can teach us today.
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
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to teach our children a valuable history lesson, then you must purchase this book. This story is so full of history, adventure, drama, suspense, and the reality of personal tragedies and suffering. I find myself drawn to it to read it again and again.
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
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jimmy Winkfield, black jockey, and two-time Kentucky Derby winner fled Jim Crow on US racing circuits for the race tracks of Poland, Russia, Vienna and later Paris around 1910. This bio draws the exciting story of horse racing in America and abroad, starting in the late 19th century when racing was America's most popular spectator sport. The picture of continental racing are terrific. The characters - jockeys, trainers, owners, here and abroad - covered a world I knew nothing about. The author obviously knows his racing. I'd have given this book another star if the picture of Jimmy Winkfield was more of a piece, and if the author had resisted sugar-coating him. All told Black Maestro is a terrific story, well told.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. 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
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful story of a little known expert horseman and jockey. His life journey and triumph in an environment of extreme racial prejuice and jealously defines imagination. He had set backs which he always came back from. He triumphed in the end although he was treated as a man and respected in foreign nations. He was treated as less than human in his own so-called country. Few people of any race when faced with such obstacles could have triumped like Mr. Winkfield. Strong man. Expert on horses with no formal training. Who does that! Great read!!!
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

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend