True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson is an unconventional biography, focusing on four transformative years in Robinson's athletic and public life: 1946, his first year playing in the essentially all-white minor leagues for the Montreal Royals; 1949, when he won the Most Valuable Player Award in his third season as a Brooklyn Dodger; 1956, his final season in major league baseball, when he played valiantly despite his increasing health struggles; and 1972, the year of his untimely death. Through it all, Robinson remained true to the effort and the mission, true to his convictions and contradictions.
Kennedy brings literary grace to his subject, illuminating Robinson’s sizzling style on the ballfield, his colossal significance in American culture, his complex humanity and his enduring legacy ... Unlike a traditional biography, True focuses on four distinct years in Robinson’s life ... Kennedy’s approach allows him to linger over scenes, painting lush portraits of telling moments from Robinson’s career ... He renders the everyday indignities and terrifying death threats during spring training in the Jim Crow South ... Some vivid passages describe Robinson on the base paths, showcasing his astonishing physicality and attacking philosophy ... Kennedy fleshes out a proud, sincere and often stubborn man, especially in the final section ... The episodic structure of True has costs, as it bypasses some significant periods and themes in Robinson’s life. Most obviously, Kennedy pays minimal attention to the barrier-breaking integration of the Dodgers in 1947 ... True nevertheless explains Robinson in striking, human terms.
... a fresh and refreshing look at a twice-told (or more) tale ... it is Robinson’s time in Montreal that pulsates on the page ... As illuminating as these seasonal portraits are, what emerges from True above all is that Robinson was baseball’s man for all seasons, a mixture of great conscience, great grace and, not least, astonishing physical skill ... Mr. Kennedy’s chronicle is less a biography of a man than a story of a distant time ... True pays homage to a beautiful game that now—between truculent owners and players, a series of strikes, a surfeit of strikeouts, and an obsession with home runs—seems on the verge of ruin.
An unconventional biography of the baseball legend. The author writes about the four most important years of Robinson’s life ... Kennedy notes that Robinson was not only an incredible baseball player but also an outstanding person who endured much throughout his life and career and paved the way for so many athletes today. The inclusion of occasional photographs and illustrations is a bonus ... A fantastic, well-written biography; fans of baseball and of Robinson's career (on or off the field) must read this captivating book.