Jackie Robinson: A Life in American History

ABC-CLIO. (Black History Lives). Mar. 2021. 252p. ISBN 9781440872686. $63. REF
This “Black History Lives” series installment focuses on Jackie Robinson, who integrated Major League Baseball. Smith (history and political science, Cabrini Univ., Radnor, PA; editor, American History Through Its Greatest Speeches) covers Robinson’s life in detail and puts his actions into historical context, including particularly disturbing parallels between Robinson’s childhood in the South and his service in the segregated U.S. Army. Smith discusses how Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and became MLB’s first Black athlete. After examining Robinson’s baseball career, she explores how he used his fame to make race and racism topics of national discussion, to varying degrees of success. Smith uses a variety of sources (detailed in the bibliography) to give readers a solid understanding of Robinson’s life and achievements. The book includes a time line, an index, and some of Robinson’s correspondence with Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and others.
VERDICT Readers interested in history, sports, and Robinson (whether as an athlete or for his work beyond baseball) will learn much from this worthwhile book.
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