Review: Luckiest Man

Luckiest ManJonathan Eig, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

This well-researched biography of Lou Gehrig follows his life and baseball career in vivid detail, from his humble beginnings playing high school ball to his stellar performance as first baseman and power hitter for the New York Yankees. Along the way, Eig discusses some of the broader social developments in America in the 1920s and ’30s, but the focus remains on baseball and how it evolved throughout the early 20th century. The book uses a wealth of primary sources, particularly the many newspaper stories that covered Gehrig’s remarkable career. Most importantly, though, this biography illuminates Gehrig’s personality — humble, modest, conscientious, hardworking, and determined to do his best in life both on and off the field.

I don’t particularly follow baseball (or any other sport, frankly), but for some reason I’ve always been interested in Lou Gehrig — probably because he was left-handed, like me, and because he died tragically young. So I decided to check out this biography, and I’m glad I did because it is fantastic. I felt like I really got a sense of Lou Gehrig as a person, and it was a pleasure to read about someone so admirable. I also loved learning more about the other legendary players of that era: Babe Ruth figures prominently in the book, and there are plentiful references to other greats like Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio. Eig discusses Gehrig’s baseball career in great detail, sometimes describing almost every play of a game. I suppose this might be boring for some, but I really appreciated all the information since I knew basically nothing coming in. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, although it will probably be most appealing to baseball fans.

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