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It's Good to Be Alive Paperback – March 1, 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If Jackie Robinson was the heart of the Dodger teams of the late 1940s and early 1950s, Roy Campanella, the Brooklyn backstop, was its backbone. A powerful man with a powerful will, he won a trio of National League MVP honors in the 10 seasons before his Major League career, which began late because of his skin color, ended early as a result of a car crash. Campy's autobiography, originally published in 1959, is as gritty as the Hall of Famer was. It weaves its way from the Negro Leagues to the Majors, then digs in to detail the catcher's post-crash rehabilitation with honest inspiration.

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published in 1959, the year after the automobile accident that transformed him from a Hall-of-Fame baseball player to a quadriplegic, Campanella's long out-of-print autobiography nonetheless packs more uplift than any inspirational sports bio (the title says it all). Campy's refusal to succumb in to self-pity is an apt demonstration of the grittiness and self-determination that took him from 15-year-old Negro League catcher to color-barrier pioneer to bona fide major-league star. And yet, read against the backdrop of baseball's current labor unrest, his sunny outlook and unshakable faith seem naive. Campanella was, for example, used by his team's management to infiltrate the Negro Leauges to make sure black players they signed weren't too "risky" (something that had nothing to do with their on-field talent) and to break the color line in the American Association, at a time when he could have been playing in the major leagues. Although admitting "confusion" about his standing as a black man in the Dodgers' organization, he nonetheless is gushingly grateful toward his employers-an attitude both irritating and, as when he seeks advice from Al Campanis, deeply ironic (Campanis was the Dodger exec who said on Nightline that he truly believed blacks lack "certain necessities" to hold management jobs in baseball). Campanella's descriptions of his efforts to rebound from the accident-circumstances that might have crushed a lesser spirit-are far better, rescuing the book from the realm of sports cliche.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803263635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803263635
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,719,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THIS IS THE STORY OF ROY CAMPANELLA OF THE BROOKLYN DODGERS. HE TELLS HIS LIFE STORY ABOUT BASEBALL AND THE CAR ACCIDENT THAT LEFT HIM ALMOST TOTALLY PARALYZED. HE WAS A VERY GRATEFUL AND INSPIRING INDIVIDUAL. I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK. HIS DESCRIPITION OF HIS STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE AND ALL HE HAD TO ENDURE TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE LIFE AFTER HIS ACCIDENT IS TRUELY INSPIRING. ANYONE WHO READS THIS WILL TRULY APPRECIATE THE MIRACLE MAN ROY CAMPANELLA. VERY RECOMMENDED.
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Format: Paperback
This autobiography of Roy Campanella was published in 1959. It's quite good in covering Campy's boyhood, life in baseball and life in the year after he had the accident that left him a quadriplegic. Roy comes across as a great guy and quite inspirational in dealing with his tragedy. However, there is no mention of his feud with Jackie Robinson. Also, Campy writes in glowing terms about his wife Ruthe, but she left him the year after the book was published, so she must not have dealt with his handicap as well as he portrays. Campy writes about his adopted son David being arrested, but says that he learned his lesson and will stay out of trouble from now on. Well, he was wrong about that, because David was arrested several more times and died of a drug overdose. Good book, though.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book many years ago when I was living in the US.I have always been a Dodgers fan and Roy's story has been an inspiration to me. I now live in Australia and just decided to see if It's Good To Be Alive was available as it was40 odd years since I read it. It was great to recall all the characters of those days in baseball and again read Roy's tale of courage.
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By A Customer on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this autobiography Roy Campanella takes you through his life as a child all the way through his debilatating car accident which left him quadripilegic. He asks the reader to please not feel sorry for him. Although at first thats hard, you later see that his life was rich with experinces and love. The book is very moving and I guarentee you will shed tears several times. You really get insight to Roy and find he is very much a lovable gentleman. The book surprising has quite a few mistakes, such as names of people (eg. instead of William Wrigley he writes Phil Wrigley. Also it's grammer isnt perfect. But this is easily forgiven. At the end of the book you feel you got to know Roy,and wished you could have met him.
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Format: Paperback
Campy was one of my boyhood heroes. I was devestated when I heard of the crash that cut short a great career for this quiet man. As much as he was a star in baseball, he was more so as a human being. Still aqlive when he had no chance to live, he was an inspiration to so many. No longer possessing the great physical ability that carried him to baseball stardom, he rose to stardom as a role-model, something blatantly missing in many celebrities today.
Join Campy in the struggles as a youth of mixed parantage, as a star in the Negro Leagues, a pioneer in organized baseball, but even more so as an unsung hero to manypersons with and without physical limitations
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