Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review - The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

Since I didn't really start paying much attention to baseball until the early 1970s, I pretty much missed all of Henry Aaron's career. I, of course, had some awareness of Aaron's career, if through nothing else from reading his post-career baseball cards. I now have a much better appreciation of what he accomplished and of what a great player he was. I also have learned of what Aaron had to go through to play baseball. He was not the first black player in major league baseball, of course, but he was an early one and at the forefront of the integration of baseball. He played minor league ball in a Southern league and it's almost unbelievable reading of what he had to put up with.  Bryant, the author, spends almost as much time expounding on Aaron's baseball feats as he does on the social ramifications of his career.

Aaron sounds like he was a difficult person to know which Bryant tells us a lot. Perhaps this is why I'm not sure I really know Aaron as a person. And maybe that's OK, I'm not sure Aaron really wants the general public to know him very well.

I recommend this book. There seem to be a lot of books about Aaron to choose from, just in a quick check on Amazon. I don't know how this book compares to any of the others. The danger in reading a biography of someone is that you never know how much the author's viewpoint and opinions color the story. On the whole, I'd say that Bryant was very complimentary while going into Aaron's more difficult side. His career long rivalry with Willie Mays, his long-time quarrel with Bowie Kuhn and the feeling of disrespect he felt after some early dealings with the Hall of Fame were discussed in detail.

This is the first book I read on a Kindle. This is a Kindle Touch. I got it as a safety prize from work. I didn't think I'd like the experience but I'm happy to say that reading on the Kindle was effortless and enjoyable. I did not buy the book but borrowed it through my local library. You get to keep it for 2 weeks and then it disappears from the Kindle (except for a link). The loan actually comes from Amazon. After the two weeks you get an option to buy the book, or rent it for another two weeks. It took me 3 weeks to read so I had to renew it. The process for the original rental and the renewal was easy. The Touch has a wireless 3G connection (or it can connect through your home network). It took about 10 seconds for the book to download.


Hackenbush said...

As the owner, currently, of some 1700+ books I'm still struggling with the whole e book concept.

capewood said...

I own a lot of books but don't buy many any more. Most of my reading is of library books. I already borrow a lot of audio books so I guess the format of the activity isn't that important. There is nothing like holding a book and reading it but I find that either the audio book or Kindle experience is OK.