Reviews for Blackout : The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training


Booklist Reviews 2004 September #1
Jackie Robinson's integration of major-league baseball in 1947 has been well chronicled, but often overlooked in the Robinson hagiographies is the fact that he had done it all once before, in 1946, prior to playing minor-league ball with the Montreal Expos. Montreal was relatively free of the institutionalized bigotry Robinson would later face, but Florida, where he spent spring training in '46, certainly was not. Crowds were often verbally abusive, and Robinson and three other black men trying out for Montreal were forced to live in a rooming house while their teammates lived in an all-white hotel. Unlike Robinson's first year with Brooklyn, which played on a national stage in the established press, the indignities of his first spring training had to be endured in relative isolation, covered only by black journalists. Lamb's detailed and annotated research provides an in-depth examination of an important step in the integration of baseball, a step that, up until now, has not received the coverage it deserves. Of interest both to baseball fans and social historians. ((Reviewed September 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Choice Review 2005 March
The life of Jackie Robinson is one of 20th-century America's epic tales, which is why this book, though overlong and underedited, is an important contribution to American studies. Making use of a wide, rich array of periodical sources, Lamb (College of Charleston) documents Robinson's harrowing first spring training in Sanford, Florida, in 1946. One of two African Americans assigned by Branch Rickey to the Dodgers' triple-A farm team in Montreal, Robinson endured almost daily doses of invective, contempt, or legal harassment--from Floridians, from some on-the-field opponents, and even from the grandees of the baseball establishment. The tale makes for painful reading. In addition to bringing the dramatic story of these two months to light, Lamb is also concerned with giving fuller credit to the black sporting press and The Daily Worker in forcing major league baseball to admit African Americans. Along the way, Lamb writes of Eddie Klep, a white man who was denied admission to the Negro Leagues; Clay Hopper, Robinson's reluctant Mississippi-born manager; and the Florida town that took 50 years to apologize for its involvement in tormenting Robinson. Summing Up: Essential. All collections supporting sports history, American studies, and African American studies. Copyright 2005 American Library Association.

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Library Journal Reviews 2004 September #1
Lamb, a sports journalist turned academic (media studies, Coll. of Charleston), holds up a magnifying glass to Jackie Robinson folklore. By examining primary newspaper material regarding Robinson's first spring training with the Montreal Royals in Florida, Lamb lays bare the events of 1946, the year before his major league debut. The most honest accounts came from black journalists and the Daily Worker, the newspaper of the Communist Party. Baseball's unofficial press organ, the Sporting News, did less well, and baseball heroes like Rogers Hornsby end up with tarnished reputations. After reading this book, citizens in many Florida cities will have to reassess their myths regarding Robinson's treatment. This is not just a baseball biography but also a marvelous piece of history. As Lamb notes, "We do not give this story justice if we limit it to baseball." Valuable for historians and a highly readable account for general readers, it is heartily recommended for all libraries. Randall L. Schroeder, Wartburg Coll. Lib., Waverly, IA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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