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Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero

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Guided by unpublished sources and interviews with Rachel Robinson and others, Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography is the first book to explore the faith that, Robinson said, carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered for integrating the major leagues and drove him to get involved in the civil rights movement.


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Guided by unpublished sources and interviews with Rachel Robinson and others, Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography is the first book to explore the faith that, Robinson said, carried him through the torment and abuse he suffered for integrating the major leagues and drove him to get involved in the civil rights movement.

30 review for Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero

  1. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero by Michael Long & Chris Lamb ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. . Thank you @netgalley for providing this e-book in exchange for my honest review! . I married into a baseball-loving Baptist family, so this book title piqued my interest on a few different levels. Jackie Robinson is best known as the first African-American Major League Baseball player. But I had no idea he was also a man whose deep faith in God drove him to use his baseball career a Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography: The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero by Michael Long & Chris Lamb ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. . Thank you @netgalley for providing this e-book in exchange for my honest review! . I married into a baseball-loving Baptist family, so this book title piqued my interest on a few different levels. Jackie Robinson is best known as the first African-American Major League Baseball player. But I had no idea he was also a man whose deep faith in God drove him to use his baseball career as a platform for advancing racial justice and reconciliation in America. . Through interviews, letters, and first hand sources, the authors tell Jackie's story of coming out of a single-parent home through college and on to playing in the Negro Leagues before being scouted out by Branch Rickey to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After his career in baseball, Jackie was a vocal public figure of the civil rights movement, corresponding with presidents, governors, and other leaders in the movement including Martin Luther King Jr. Behind it all was Jackie's steadfast faith in a God who had created all men equal and had created Jackie himself as a black man for his glory and purposes. . I had no idea Jackie Robinson had been such a prominent civil rights figure or that his faith had played such a big role in his life. This book gave me a mini-crash course in the civil rights movement through his eyes, and his story is very relevant and inspiring in light of today's continued racial divide. If you are a Christian, or baseball lover, or an advocate for racial justice (or all of the above!), you will find a captivating story in Jackie Robinson's life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    I am a life long San Francisco Giants fan, which means I am not, in any way, a Dodgers fan. That being said, this spiritual biography of Jackie Robinson is, in my opinion, a must read. While baseball factors into the book, this isn't really a book about baseball. This is a story of a man, his faith, and his determination to do what is right with his life. I knew some of Jackie Robinson's story. Every true baseball fan knows that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Baseball fans prob I am a life long San Francisco Giants fan, which means I am not, in any way, a Dodgers fan. That being said, this spiritual biography of Jackie Robinson is, in my opinion, a must read. While baseball factors into the book, this isn't really a book about baseball. This is a story of a man, his faith, and his determination to do what is right with his life. I knew some of Jackie Robinson's story. Every true baseball fan knows that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Baseball fans probably know something about his baseball prowess, especially as a runner. But that prowess is important largely because it enabled Robinson's to show the world that African American ball players could hold their own, paving the way for others, including one of my heroes, Willie Mays. Others have told Robinson's story, including Robinson himself, but what discover here is that it was Robinson's deeply rooted faith in God that enabled him to become not only a ball player, but a civil rights leader. The authors of this book are Michael Long, an associate professor or Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies at Elizabethtown College, and Chris Lamb, a professor of journalism at Indiana University-Purdue University. They tell Robinson's story with care and respect. It's not hagiographic, but the authors hold Robinson with deep appreciation. The book takes us on a journey from Robinson's birth in rural Georgia to Pasadena and on to Brooklyn and beyond. There are several figures who emerge as primary influences, the first being his mother, Mallie, who raised him to be strong, proud, and faithful. He never knew his father, who abandoned the family after his birth. The family would later move to Pasadena, where he developed a reputation as a great athlete, but also as a person with a temper. While still an impressionable young man, who occasionally got into trouble, he was befriended by a young Methodist pastor, Karl Downs, who took Robinson under his wing and instilled in him both a sense of confidence and faith that would sustain him through life. He would go to Pasadena City College and then UCLA, where he was known as great football player. He was a star athlete, but baseball was his worst sport. He would enter the Army during World War II, and pursued training as an officer, serving as a Lieutenant. In all of these early efforts, he had a strong sense of himself as a black man. After he got out of the Army, Jackie signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. Thought hadn't had much success playing baseball prior to this, he showed promise, especially with his speed. When Dodger's President Branch Rickey began looking for a player with whom he could break a line, that had troubled him since college, Robinson stood out. Rickey needed a player who was a good athlete, but who could also withstand the abuse he would face as a pioneer in an all-white league. Robinson had several things going for him. First, he was well educated, had been officer in the army, was known for being highly moral, and he was a good athlete. There was some concern about Robinson's temper, but Rickey, a fellow Methodist was able to use Jesus as a moral example for Robinson. Later, as we learn, Robinson wasn't nearly as willing to turn the other cheek, he understood that if he were to succeed, then he would have to do just that. It was not easy, but Rickey's faith in God and in him, and his own faith in God, along with the support of his wife, Rachel, proved to be sufficient. We learn about those first years as a player for Montreal and then the Dodgers. In the first two sections of the book, we are introduced to the four people who most influenced Robinson's life. His mother, Pastor Karl Downs, his wife Rachel, and Branch Rickey. All four had a deep faith in God, and they helped sustain his own faith during challenging times. Then we get to part three, which is titled "Fighting for Freedom." It is this section that is the most enlightening for me. I knew he was a ground-breaking athlete, who paved the way for other black players, and had some influence in the civil rights movement, but I didn't know how important and influential he was. I didn't realize that after he left baseball (remember that he didn't enter the major leagues until he was twenty-eight), he became a business man, a civil rights leader in his own right, a columnist, and influential in politics. He was a friend and critic of Martin Luther King (he wasn't as committed to nonviolence as king), a leader with the NAACP, a strong supporter of the Jewish community, whom he believed had suffered as African Americans had, and spoke against those within his own community who expressed anti-Semitic views. He was an integrationist and not a separatist. He believed in self help and self-determination, values instilled in him by his mother. He was a progressive Republican, but was not beholden to either party. He was close to Nelson Rockefeller, but fell out with Richard Nixon after Nixon pursued his Southern strategy. He was committed to change, and could be impatient. In fact, he used his newspaper column to express this impatience, challenging Presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon. When Robinson died in 1972, thousands gathered along the streets of Brooklyn to honor his memory. He was a man of faith, though he wasn't sure he could embrace Jesus' vision of nonviolence. Nonetheless, he was a man of prayer, and that prayer sustained him in his commitment to the cause of the uplift of the African American people. As the book closes, the authors invite us to read the statement placed upon his tombstone, a statement they suggest defined his spiritual approach to life: "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." (p. 178). Truly we can say, his life was important because of the impact his life had on other lives. May we embrace his philosophy of life, as revealed in this really wonderful book that touched the heart of this Giant fan!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Studentofparables

    It's so easy to assume. We passively absorb facts about prominent figures of history - be they concise, curated, textbook biographies; an hour-long history channel special; or, if we're lucky, the feature-length "based on a true story" Hollywood rendition. And we dust our hands, assume we've obtained the measure of the man, and move on to our next interest. Can a life be summed up so easily? Of course not. And authors Long and Lamb do readers the courtesy of not pretending they're even going to try. It's so easy to assume. We passively absorb facts about prominent figures of history - be they concise, curated, textbook biographies; an hour-long history channel special; or, if we're lucky, the feature-length "based on a true story" Hollywood rendition. And we dust our hands, assume we've obtained the measure of the man, and move on to our next interest. Can a life be summed up so easily? Of course not. And authors Long and Lamb do readers the courtesy of not pretending they're even going to try. The subtitle to their excellent work is "A Spiritual Biography", and they deliver! This is no fast recap of the highlights of what Jackie Robinson did, this is a deep look at who Jackie Robinson was.  Where he drew his identity from, and how that touched everyone in his life. This book is meaty, well-researched, and detailed. I learned so many new things about Mr. Robinson, and came away with a completely new perspective on the man he was, not just the ballplayer we learn about. It was a captivating read. I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Plenty has been written on Jackie Robinson and how he broke the color barrier in major league baseball. While this book does cover that, it focuses on his spiritual side and how important his faith was to him and how his faith helped him deal with his temper and frustrations. It also deals with his interest and influence in politics and his friendships with world leaders. This book is well-researched and footnoted with references and an index provided at the back of the book. There isn't a lot of Plenty has been written on Jackie Robinson and how he broke the color barrier in major league baseball. While this book does cover that, it focuses on his spiritual side and how important his faith was to him and how his faith helped him deal with his temper and frustrations. It also deals with his interest and influence in politics and his friendships with world leaders. This book is well-researched and footnoted with references and an index provided at the back of the book. There isn't a lot of dialogue so a bit of a drier read but I learned a lot I didn't know about him. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Parker

    The book took a very different perspective on Jackie Robinson's life, and focuses more on how and why he did the things he did rather than what. The book talks about a long avoided topic in regards to Jackie Robinson, his religious background. The book talks about the journey Robinson takes and how his religion impacted those decisions. Overall, a good read and would recommend if you want to learn more about Jackie Robinson. The book took a very different perspective on Jackie Robinson's life, and focuses more on how and why he did the things he did rather than what. The book talks about a long avoided topic in regards to Jackie Robinson, his religious background. The book talks about the journey Robinson takes and how his religion impacted those decisions. Overall, a good read and would recommend if you want to learn more about Jackie Robinson.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    It was okay. I learned a lot about Jackie Robinson that I didn't know. It was okay. I learned a lot about Jackie Robinson that I didn't know.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I won this book through Goodreads. Loved this inspiring story about an amazing man.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannan Harper

    It was a good read. It showed how Jackie Robinson used his faith to endure being the first African American to integrate major League Baseball.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Glover

  10. 5 out of 5

    Randy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Hanley

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lev Rothenberg

  13. 4 out of 5

    Claire Hall

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  16. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  17. 5 out of 5

    Diane Haney

    Although the title emphasizes Jackie Robinson's spiritual faith, which indeed was a major force in his life, the book seemed to me be more about the black man's struggle for civil rights and Mr Robinson's active participation in that struggle. Breaking the color barrier in baseball was a constant battle for Jackie not to respond to the many cruel, ignorant and downright hateful abuses heaped on him. That he did so is not only a measure of his character, but along with his considerable baseball t Although the title emphasizes Jackie Robinson's spiritual faith, which indeed was a major force in his life, the book seemed to me be more about the black man's struggle for civil rights and Mr Robinson's active participation in that struggle. Breaking the color barrier in baseball was a constant battle for Jackie not to respond to the many cruel, ignorant and downright hateful abuses heaped on him. That he did so is not only a measure of his character, but along with his considerable baseball talent, gave him the fame and respect which allowed him be an influential force in the civil rights movement. Mr. Robinson interacted with many of the political, religious and racial leaders of the time. Quotes and excerpts from letters clarify what he thought of these leaders and how he attempted to bring them to his own civil rights positions. We meet the people most responsible for molding Jackie into the spiritual person he was. A warm personal picture of his family, especially his strong hardworking mother are woven throughout this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Suggs

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Hoeke

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maryann

    I enjoyed reading Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography. Jackie lived during a time of severe prejudice regarding African Americans in professional sports. I would have thought that Jackie Robinson did not have a strong spiritual background. I could not be more wrong. It was perhaps this devotion that allowed him to become an icon in the sport of baseball while simultaneously dealing with prejudice and hostility in the world. I enjoyed this novel. I did not know that much about Jackie and I am I enjoyed reading Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography. Jackie lived during a time of severe prejudice regarding African Americans in professional sports. I would have thought that Jackie Robinson did not have a strong spiritual background. I could not be more wrong. It was perhaps this devotion that allowed him to become an icon in the sport of baseball while simultaneously dealing with prejudice and hostility in the world. I enjoyed this novel. I did not know that much about Jackie and I am now going to continue my research on this baseball icon.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bet

  27. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

  28. 5 out of 5

    Larry V

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Kemp

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    This was an interesting biography to read. I know very little about Jackie Robinson, probably what most people do, that he was the first African American major league baseball player. I had seen the movie 42, which was referenced and corrected when needed, but I had no idea of his politics and religious convictions. He spent a lot of time involved in politics after he retired from baseball, and spent more of his life outside the game than in it. I had never thought about it honestly. He came from This was an interesting biography to read. I know very little about Jackie Robinson, probably what most people do, that he was the first African American major league baseball player. I had seen the movie 42, which was referenced and corrected when needed, but I had no idea of his politics and religious convictions. He spent a lot of time involved in politics after he retired from baseball, and spent more of his life outside the game than in it. I had never thought about it honestly. He came from a religious family and it greatly influenced his actions. It was interesting to see the political connections that baseball gave him, to writing and speaking with presidents about civil rights to meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. It was interesting to know how that all connected and really shows how much of a team effort the civil rights movement was. It wasn't isolated events and people, but many people connect from different ideas of how to accomplish the same goals. From what I read, while Robinson claimed the Christian faith, many of this ideas didn't quite line up with what I would view as orthodox Christian beliefs. He struggled with certain aspects of his faith and was honest about it, which is always great to read, as we all have those areas and it's an encouragement to read how others deal and have gotten through those struggles. Would be a great discussion starting point on living out ones faith and how that looks. As a note for parents, there was accurate language used when the author described some of the names that Robinson was called. The author didn't edit the language, so please be advised if you read this with your children that there are foul words used, mainly in the beginning. I don't recall as of them but (n-word, b-word and so forth).

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