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Hank Greenberg: The Hero Who Didn't Want To Be One (Jewish Lives) Hardcover – March 29, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Greenberg responded to anti-Jewish tauts by fans and opposing players with restraint and used such insults to motivate him. Early in his minor league days, he employed physical confrontation on the diamond, but quickly came to realize such action was self-defeating. His restraint, coupled with his superstar status, made him a hero to the Jewish community, something he did not want to be. Kurlansky suggests that Greenberg's way of dealing with blatant racism was used by Branch Rickey as a model for Jackie Robinson.
The author also shatters a number of myths surrounding Greenberg. One such myth concerns his quest to shatter Babe Ruth's single-season homerun record in 1938. With five games left in the season and sitting at 58 homeruns, no one in baseball, the story goes, wanted a Jew to break the record of 60. Therefore, the anti-Semitic owners, managers, pitchers conspired to throw him nothing to hit in the season's final days. Kurlansky skillfully demolishes this myth, pointing out that Greenberg himself renounced it on several occasions.
However, the book provides limited information about Greenberg's baseball career.Read more ›
The author does a good job of highlighting Hank's absolute modesty... when along with bashing balls out the park in magnificent quantities... he also became the highest paid active player in baseball... and to that period of time... the second highest paid in history behind the one and only Babe Ruth. It is also emphasized how hard working Greenberg was in his pursuit of his baseball dreams. Additionally, it's also made clear that he faced more prejudicial hate of any player before Jackie Robinson. And like Robinson in years to come he had his own version...Read more ›
On those terms, this is a remarkable book. The book's subtitle, although a bit awkward, captures its thesis nicely. Despite being born into a Jewish family, Hank Greenberg was virtually non-observant and disliked the attention he received as a "Jewish" ball player. Kurlansky spends substantial time on the episode where Greenberg decided against playing on Yom Kippur, revealing that had it been left to Hank, he certainly would have played. His parents' expectations and other social pressures, not his personal religious devotion, kept him away from the ballpark that day.
Escaping the tag "Jewish ballplayer" though, would prove impossible for Hank. Most newspaper accounts would mention it. He would be heckled tremendously for it (though not as bad as Jackie Robinson would endure later). He quickly learned, however, that ignoring hecklers was the only effective means to combat them. He used the heckling to spur him on to greater degrees of excellence. He even denied that anti-Semitism was at play during his chase of Babe Ruth's home run record in 1938 (he finished with 58). Later in life he even yelled at an elderly fan who brought it up. Greenberg simply did not like the fact that his Jewishness would color his achievements or even his failures. He could, however, not escape it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting and passionately written book about a unique American hero. Not only does Kurlansky's book make you aware of the struggles that minority ethnic groups have gone... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very thorough and easy read. I learned a lot about Hank Greenberg the man, and Hank Greenberg the ballplayer.Published 16 months ago by Robert M. Delong
Not a full-scale biography of this often-forgotten baseball great, but rather this is a vivid and fascinating thumbnail that illuminates his place in his times and cultural... Read morePublished 21 months ago by J. Hundley
Hank Greenberg was major league baseball's first superstar Jewish player. Greenberg, a star for the Detroit Tigers, was voted an All-Star four times and won the American League... Read morePublished on November 10, 2013 by Barry Sparks
Very insightful and an easy read. Good details about Greenberg's life and times, particularly during a difficult era of anti-semitism in many parts of the country. Read morePublished on October 2, 2013 by Andy Pollack
I enjoyed this book. It wasn't a biography, to me, it was more of a telling of a man that stood up for what he believed in, in a time that made that a hard thing to do. Read morePublished on June 21, 2013 by Millied
Repetitive=got boring after a while. there was too much info about a lot of other players and their issues and problemsPublished on March 2, 2013 by Phyllis Lensky
This short work is an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in the history of baseball and its great player. Read morePublished on April 7, 2012 by Jonathan A. Weiss