Customer Reviews: Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson
Amazon Vehicles 4-month subscription Amazon Fashion nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 Halloween Candy Cozy Knits STEM Book 2 or More Hours of House Cleaning on Amazon bajillions bajillions bajillions  All-New Echo Dot Starting at $89.99 All-New Kindle for Kids Edition Leonard Cohen Shop Cycling on Amazon

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$25.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on May 10, 2002
There has been a lot said and written about Joe Jackson by a variety of people - baseball people, baseball historians, scholars of the 1919 World Series, residents of the South (particularly South Carolina), and others. There's also been a variety of books produced about Jackson, most with his point of view or the "point of view he would have had," whatever that might have been at any point in time. It was with some skepticism that I picked up Fleitz's book and started to read, half expecting to see the same arguments that I've read before - Jackson as a victim, as the greatest player not in the Hall of Fame but for one mistake, and how he went back to South Carolina and scratched out a living (or was very successful, depending on which book you read).
Fleitz's book was a most pleasant surprise - it offers information that I haven't found anywhere else, and gives more "flesh" and substance to the person that was Joe Jackson than any previous account of his life that I had read. One point is the relationship that he had with his wife: always shown as the doting couple, Fleitz writes that this wasn't always the case. In baseball, he shows that Jackson wasn't the near-mythological player that he had been portrayed, and that he did fail at any number of clutch situations. By the same token, Jackson is also frequently mentioned as a batting role model to any number of famous players. The reactions of contemporaries thoughtout the book is also delightful feature.
A primary focus of the book is in the 1919 World Series and Jackson's role in that. Through the years Jackson has garnered significant numbers of supporters claiming that he was innocent; Fleitz offers evidence and opinions that he may not have been that innocent at all. There is also the issue of his initial acceptance of the gamblers' money. As with many people, I have my opinions of the World Series fix and Jackson's involvement. Prior to Fleitz's book, the opinion was a little fuzzier; after reading the book, it's become a little clearer. Was he innocent or guilty? Read the book and make your decision - it's well worth your time.
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 24, 2001
Baseball biographies come in all types, from boring descriptions of the player's performance in games, to tantalizing disconnected details of the player's life outside the lines, to full-fledged development of the player's life history and personality. This new book by David Fleitz falls more toward the latter. I recommend it to all baseball fans, especially ones (like me) who are fascinated by the lesser-known stars of the pre-Ruthian world.
Much of the book is devoted to Jackson's role in the Black Sox scandal, putting it into historical context and digging into the actions and motives of some of the key figures. The passages involving Charles Comiskey are especially revealing.
The road between city life and country life was much longer back then. Early baseball has many stories of the difficulties rural men faced when thrust into MLB's urban landscape. Because of his great physical skills, the illiterate Jackson is a highly compelling example of these stories. I now feel like I've met Jackson. Among the best baseball biographies I've read.
0Comment| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 21, 2001
As a thirteen year resident of Greenville, South Carolina, I have finally found a biography about "Shoeless" Joe Jackson that captures his life story rather than the many myths surrounding the man. As any baseball player or fan knows, the likes of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and other baseball greats have been immortalized in a plethora of biographies, but Joe has been little more than a footnote. Perhaps, this is due to his involvement in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, perhaps not. This book, however, finally captures the life and many facets of Joe Jackson. Though I do not subscribe to one theory or another in regard to his involvement in throwing the 1919 World Series, I am pleased to have finally found a book that addresses this issue without glamour, intrigue, or writer's license. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in baseball, the history of our National Past Time, or the life of one of baseball's greatest hitters, Joe Jackson.
0Comment| 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 20, 2002
Great book. Separates the myth and the legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson from the "average Joe" and looks at his banishment from baseball in an honest, objective light. Author does an outstanding job of dissecting Jackson's behavior and possible motives throughout the scandal of the 1919 Black Sox.
But more importantly, more personal information about Joe is available on Joe throughout the pages of this text than any I have ever seen. This is a fantastic accomplishment as there is a lot of sappy, sentimental fluff out there about Joe Jackson and this book really made me feel as though I knew Joe, in addition to understanding what he was about.
This book is by far and away the best baseball book of the year (along with Reed Browning's Cy Young) and is amongst the best and most important baseball books ever written. If you're a serious baseball fan, you will enjoy SHOELESS!!
22 comments| 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 17, 2013
I wish I had discovered this book years ago. I have always been fascinated by Shoeless Joe Jackson's story -- the illiterate mill worker with the third highest batting average in baseball history, yet banned for life as a result of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. This book is the best Shoeless Joe profile I have read to date because it is a balanced look at the man, both his admirable qualities and his faults.

In the book, Fleitz debunks much of the mythic "Field of Dreams" and "Eight Men Out" hero worship of Jackson to explain who the man really was. The 1919 Black Sox scandal has been covered ad nauseum in many different books. I like the fact that this book focuses on the totatlity of Jackson's life, both before and after the 1919 World Series.

Among the things I learned in this book: 1. Shoeless Joe loved his grain alcohol and burlseque shows; never saw that side of him portrayed in "Field of Dreams" or "Eight Men Out." 2. Jackson initially thought that getting traded to the wealthy White Sox organization would be a financial boon to him rather than the monetary letdown it turned out to be. 3. Jackson's Grand Jury testimony was very incriminating, and makes all his future claims of innocence seem dubious at best. 4. Charles Comiskey is in baseball's Hall of Fame, yet he actively covered up the Black Sox scandal for fear of negative publicty and hurting his crowd numbers. 5. The Black Sox continued to throw games throughout the 1920 season, either because of greed or fear of being exposed/threatened. 6. Jackson may have been illiterate, but he was extremely driven when it came to chasing dollars. Jackson's strongest objection to the 1919 World Series is that he was promised $20,000, but only ever received $5,000. 7. Jackson never liked the "Shoeless Joe" nickname.

The book is provides a very balanced picture of Jackson the man. In addition to his more negative qualities, there are many stories in the book of Jackson's kindness, especially in the years following his career and with children.

If you can only read one Shoeless Joe book, this is the one to get. This book is must reading if your only knowledge of Shoeless Joe Jackson is of the mythical man created by "Field of Dreams" and "Eight Men Out."
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 25, 2013
Having grown up blocks from Comiskey and being a die-hard Sox fan, most of what I'd known of Joe Jackson was the myth, and how Comiskey's tightwad ways played into the throwing of the Series. That's about all I'll share on that so as not to be a spoiler. But the reason I chose this book was to learn more about what happened after the 1919 Series. This book delivered that and a whole lot more about his life prior to and during his playing days. Fleitz's narrative was very easy to read, though at times felt more like a listing of fact A, fact B, fact C. All in all, if you've got an interest in the times and aftermath of the 1919 Series, or are a Sox fan looking for a good read, this is a safe bet!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 8, 2012
As a senior who played and loves baseball, this is a great baseball book. It doesn't spend as much time on the "scandal"as I expected and exposes many intimate moments of a great player. Wouldn't you have liked to see the duels with Cobb for the hitting titles?
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 17, 2013
This book provides an insightful look into Joe Jackson's personal and professional life, as well as a detailed study of the machinations behind the Black Sox fix of 1919. A must-read for any baseball fan.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 9, 2011
This is nice biography, just enough information to keep you reading. The book covers all meat of Joe's life without getting bogged down in too much detail. If you just want to know about the myth and lore about Joe Jackson then this is the book for you.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 27, 2013
Or more appropriately...a grand slam!

Fleitz's biography of Joe Jackson is an excellent inside look at the man, the times and the corruption of baseball in early twentieth century.

From his initial upbringing in poverty stricken Greenville, South Carolina through his days of celebrity as one of baseball's greatest hitters, to the demise of his career with suspicious involvement in the Black Sox scandal, this book covers it all...full count...bases loaded.

So the bottom line? To be or not to be in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Well researched and skillfully written.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse