Exuberant ... In less capable hands, Mr. Pearlman’s childlike wonder in relating his subject’s exploits might come off as cloying. Instead, the author’s palpable enthusiasm supercharges descriptions of Mr. Jackson’s at-bats or off-tackle runs, which are often described with hyperbole that is at once self-aware and delightfully cheesy ... Readers should also consult Mr. Pearlman’s occasional and often hilarious footnotes. By his count, the author—renowned for his tenacity—interviewed more than 700 people in his reporting for the book ... Excellent.
Captivating, copiously researched ... The author spares no details in limning the destitute, cruelly violent childhood Jackson miraculously survived; his evolution as a world-class athlete; friendships and enmities with coaches, teammates, reporters, family, and fans; and his admirable disdain for the trappings of success. But it’s the individual moments Pearlman shares that startle.