“We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball” by Kadir Nelson (audio book narrated by Dion Graham)
Baseball, history, Negro Leagues
February 1, 2009
1 hour 55 minutes total reading time
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
There have been many books written about the history of the Negro Leagues, so there was really not a lot of new material to be reviewed in this book by Kadir Nelson. However, the manner in which this book was written and narrated was a refreshing version of the history of players who deserve all the accolades they deserve for the dedication that they gave to the game they love.
The history of the Negro Leagues, from their beginnings under Rube Foster to the decline of the leagues after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, is told from the viewpoint of a narrator who was a player in the Leagues, but remained nameless and team-less. He can best be described as an “Everyman” type of player.
This player, personified by the terrific reading of Dion Graham, lets the listener feel like he or she is on the dusty fields with the players on those days they play two or three games. Or on the buses traveling from city to city with the stories of keeping the driver awake or maybe players sharing driving duties. Or the problems the player faced during the days of segregation when trying to buy food or find a place to sleep for the night. Or learn a little more about the superstars of this time, such as Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson. Graham’s smooth delivery and happy personification of the “everyman” player makes it a joy to listen to an audio book.
This is sold as a children’s book, a fact I did not realize until after I listened to it and did a little research on Nelson. While listening to it, I did not get the impression that this was a children’s book (recommended for ages 8 and up). The language, while fairly simple, was sophisticated enough to keep older children and adults interested. There are still many facts that can be learned while reading or listening to this book. Overall, this is a great book for anyone who wants to either learn a little more about the Negro Leagues or just wants to be entertained by some great baseball stories.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
This was a quick book. As I listened, I actually replayed a few of the sections on the CD as I didn’t want to miss some important information. The narrator didn’t read it so fast that the information couldn’t be absorbed, but because he was very entertaining as well as informative, I replayed certain sections where I missed something because I was laughing.
Do I recommend?
Yes. As mentioned in the review, I believed that I gained a much better understanding of this book in the audio format than I would have had I read the paperback or e-book. But no matter which format the reader prefers, this book should be added to the reading list of every baseball fan.
Book Format Read: