Monday, August 3, 2015

Review of "Brooks"

Hopefully many of you utilize your local public library like I do. Our library has an inter-library loan program with others in the region where a patron can request a book that is in the system but in the collection at another library.  I took advantage of that program when I saw this book was in our system but not at my local branch.  I am glad that I did so, because this was a terrific book on a legendary Orioles player.  Here is my review of "Brooks."

“Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson” by Doug Wilson

Baseball, history, biography, Orioles

Publish date:
March 4, 2014

353 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Brooks Robinson is one of those rare celebrities who understand that while he or she didn’t ask to be a role model, just by being a famous athlete there will be those who look up to you.  Robinson upheld that duty by avoiding scandal or controversy and also became one of the best fielding third basemen in the history of baseball.  Robinson’s story is documented in this terrific book by Doug Wilson.

Since there is no controversy or hot topic in which one can immediately associate the name Brooks Robinson, Wilson instead focuses on his baseball career and Robinson’s personal life when appropriate to the story.  When reading biographies, I believe it is important to make stories about the subject’s childhood and early adult life relevant to how that shaped the person when he or she became a celebrity. That is certainly the case in this book, as every story will help the reader understand either Robinson the baseball player or Robinson the person.

Brooks Robinson the player became a legend with his fielding at third base.  In 1970, he was the World Series MVP as the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds.  He earned the award mostly because of his fielding, but he also contributed with the bat.  By the time the book reaches the 1970 World Series, the reader won’t be surprised by this because Robinson has already achieved all-star status with his play on the field.

Off the field, the book portrays a man who lives his life by treating all others with respect, avoids the baseball life of drinking and carousing and is a loyal family man, both to his parents and to his wife and children.  This helped Robinson become one of the most revered sports figures in Baltimore, alongside Johnny Unitas and later Cal Ripken Jr.

The book also reflects how Robinson lived, as it is written without much profanity or adult situations that would not be appropriate for young readers.  Reading this, it felt like I knew men like Brooks Robinson and I would be proud of my children to wish to be like him when they grew up.  I highly recommend this for readers who wish to read about someone who not only embraced his celebrity but also respected everyone who did not achieve that same status.  

Pace of the book:
While I was initially reading this in small parts because of other books as well, once I settled on reading just this book in one sitting, it was a very quick read – completed in just a little over three hours. 

Do I recommend? 
Any reader who likes baseball biographies will enjoy this book.  With the ease of reading, the in-depth research and the character of Brooks Robinson, this book should appeal to a wide range of readers.

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