Why We Love Baseball is an enjoyable book. It is well-written, tugging at the heartstrings one moment, being like Ripley’s Believe It or No” in another. There are lots of good portions here for St. Louis Cardinals fans, and aspects of the book could actually appeal to people who are indifferent to baseball. Still, this book is clearly for fans.
Birdgirl: Looking to the Skies in Search of a Better Future is inspiring for those looking to change the world, for those wanting an adventure story, and for those concerned about mental illness.
Perhaps, given our recent claim to greater visibility and the fact that RISE is arguably the first volume of its kind—especially as a “pop history of Asian America”—overzealous readers like myself may hastily expect it to be the Asian American story.
Criminal (In)Justice is an accessible, highly readable book that does an excellent job presenting the counterarguments to the anti-mass incarceration, defund the police crowd. If you want to know arguments and the evidence for them, this book is a concise, painless way to learn.
In her 2023 biography, Becoming Ezra Jack Keats, Virginia McGee Butler challenges assumptions about Keats—indeed about all picture book authors—a mission for which Keats, who was deeply invested in challenging stereotypes, would have offered his hearty approval.
Timothy Egan’s engaging account is simple: D. C. Stephenson, who would become the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, was the archetypical stranger who came to town one day, in this case Evansville, Indiana, in 1922. Stephenson built the Klan in Indiana with good marketing. He made the Klan stand for virtue: strong White families, temperance, and godliness. He was very successful in recruiting churches. He was a smart organizer, getting law enforcement to join in great numbers as well as low-level politicians. Then, he kidnapped a woman who worked for him.
Duke Fakir’s life determination radiates throughout I’ll Be There: My Life With The Four Tops. From arriving early in high school, hustling up the group’s first uniforms, managing the group’s funds, and now preserving the group’s legacy.
Walk the Blue Line is a pro-police book, reminding us of the humanity of the police officer. The people who do this work, the book suggests, are not any different from the rest of us. The stories are often gripping, violent, and poignant.
Whereas most sportswriters focused on Kaepernick and the celebrity professional athletes that followed his lead, in The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World,Dave Zirin instead mostly features the high school and college athletes and coaches that drew inspiration from Kaepernick.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s remarkable and often tragic life is one that could have been scripted by Shakespeare. John A. Farrell has a great deal to work with and handles it well. He is respectful but not fawning. And those who love political history and complex characters will learn a lot from and enjoy Ted Kennedy: A Life.