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Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke

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*[An] excellent exercise in narrative nonfiction. --Booklist (starred review) From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss comes the remarkable true story of Glenn Burke, a hidden figure in the history of sports: the inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player. Perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown. On October 2nd, 1977, Glen *[An] excellent exercise in narrative nonfiction. --Booklist (starred review) From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss comes the remarkable true story of Glenn Burke, a hidden figure in the history of sports: the inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player. Perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown. On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made history without even swinging a bat. When his teammate Dusty Baker hit a historic home run, Glenn enthusiastically congratulated him with the first ever high five. But Glenn also made history in another way--he was the first openly gay MLB player. While he did not come out publicly until after his playing days were over, Glenn's sexuality was known to his teammates, family, and friends. His MLB career would be cut short after only three years, but his legacy and impact on the athletic and LGBTQIA+ community would resonate for years to come. New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss tells the story of Glenn Burke: from his childhood growing up in Oakland, his journey to the MLB and the World Series, the joy in discovering who he really was, to more difficult times: facing injury, addiction, and the AIDS epidemic. Packed with black-and-white photographs and thoroughly researched, never-before-seen details about Glenn's life, Singled Out is the fascinating story of a trailblazer in sports--and the history and culture that shaped the world around him. Praise for Singled Out A compelling narrative . . . This is a meticulously researched history of the ways queer culture in the '70s intersected with baseball, Blackness, and larger culture wars, with one man at their center. -- Kirkus Reviews


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*[An] excellent exercise in narrative nonfiction. --Booklist (starred review) From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss comes the remarkable true story of Glenn Burke, a hidden figure in the history of sports: the inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player. Perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown. On October 2nd, 1977, Glen *[An] excellent exercise in narrative nonfiction. --Booklist (starred review) From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss comes the remarkable true story of Glenn Burke, a hidden figure in the history of sports: the inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player. Perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown. On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made history without even swinging a bat. When his teammate Dusty Baker hit a historic home run, Glenn enthusiastically congratulated him with the first ever high five. But Glenn also made history in another way--he was the first openly gay MLB player. While he did not come out publicly until after his playing days were over, Glenn's sexuality was known to his teammates, family, and friends. His MLB career would be cut short after only three years, but his legacy and impact on the athletic and LGBTQIA+ community would resonate for years to come. New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss tells the story of Glenn Burke: from his childhood growing up in Oakland, his journey to the MLB and the World Series, the joy in discovering who he really was, to more difficult times: facing injury, addiction, and the AIDS epidemic. Packed with black-and-white photographs and thoroughly researched, never-before-seen details about Glenn's life, Singled Out is the fascinating story of a trailblazer in sports--and the history and culture that shaped the world around him. Praise for Singled Out A compelling narrative . . . This is a meticulously researched history of the ways queer culture in the '70s intersected with baseball, Blackness, and larger culture wars, with one man at their center. -- Kirkus Reviews

30 review for Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Maraniss, whose Strong Inside covered Black basketball player Perry Wallace, turns his incredible research skills the the story of Glenn Burke. While it is fascinating and noteworthy that Burke is documented as having delivered the first high five as we know it today, his story is important for a variety of other reasons. Drawing on an impressive array of books and articles, interviews, and Burke's own autobiography, written with Eric Sherman, Out at Home, Maranis E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Maraniss, whose Strong Inside covered Black basketball player Perry Wallace, turns his incredible research skills the the story of Glenn Burke. While it is fascinating and noteworthy that Burke is documented as having delivered the first high five as we know it today, his story is important for a variety of other reasons. Drawing on an impressive array of books and articles, interviews, and Burke's own autobiography, written with Eric Sherman, Out at Home, Maraniss paints a vivid portrait not only of the first openly gay major league baseball player, but the times in which he lived. Starting with Burke's childhood in the Bay Area, we see how Burke's life was a constant mixture of success (being on television and a record album) and challenges (his father was abusive and then absent). He discovered athletics early on, and played throughout his school years. College was more challenging, since academics weren't all that interesting to him, and college sports participation rely on success in academics. Burke's ball skills, however, were so phenomenal that the Los Angeles Dodgers recruited him for their farm team when he was just very young. He was an enthusiastic player, and well liked by his teammates, and was soon moved to the main team. We see the ups and downs of being involved in a professional ball team, and there is plenty of baseball described that I didn't completely understand. What this book does particularly well is to describe what was going on in Burke's life against the background of what was occurring in the world at large. While Burke was just one of many Black ballplayers in the 1970s, there was still a lot of racial prejudices with which he had to deal. While there were other players who were helpful, like Dusty Baker, there were still a lot of issues. It's not surprising, since we're still seeing issues with racism in sports today. The bigger issue, of course, is that fact that Burke was gay. The book portrays him as not quite knowing what to do with this information himself at first, which seems very accurate. The perception about and treatment of gay people in the 1970s, which somewhat better than it was in the 1950s, was still very problematic. I can remember a teacher in my high school being fired in the early 1980s just under the suspicion of being gay, and it's easy to forget how near in time the early 80s were to the Stonewall Riots. Maraniss does a great job of detailing incidents which occurred in Burke's life and showing how they were colored by the events going on in the world at the time. I had forgotten how wide spread Anita Bryant's vitriol was. Despite his athletic prowess, Burke's struggles in dealing with how being Black and gay affected him caused him to have problems in his life. The Dodgers offered him a bonus if he would get married to a woman so that he could escape the suspicion of being gay, and he had odd relationships with Tommy Lasorda, whose own son was gay, something the older Lasorda denied, as well as Billy Martin. I know so little about baseball that I started this book thinking the Dodgers were based in Brooklyn (they moved in 1958), but even I remember that Billy Martin was kind of a jerk. All of these factors played into Burke eventually leaving baseball, and then finding it hard to make a living. A lot of the book discusses the San Francisco gay scene in the Castro district in the early 80s, and the advent of the AIDS virus. What a devastating thing for that community, and what unfortunate timing for Burke to have finally found a community where he felt at home. Even though I was a teenager at the time, I had forgotten how badly people with AIDS were treated, and the fear in which they were held. I found this portion of the book every bit as illuminative as the descriptions of Burke's ball career. This was an incredibly all inclusive coverage of Burke's life, and it was heartbreaking. Maraniss does a good job at being circumspect about incidents, so this would be okay for upper middle grade readers, but the length of the book, as well as the emotionally devastating contents, might make it more suited for high school ones. Sex is mentioned, although not in detail, and there is also drug and alcohol use portrayed. The chapter notes, list of resources, and gay rights timeline are all very useful, and the number of interviews the author did is impressive. While I normally like to see books about the Black experience or gay issues written by #OwnVoices authors, the author is very thorough in documenting occurrences, sincere in wanting to shed light on how people were mistreated, and seems to have had the manuscript checked by several readers, so I hope that the portrayals are acceptable. Singled Out is certainly an important book on topics that are timely and much needed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    To be fully transparent, I know Andrew - but this doesn't affect my rating. The book's summary is very accurate so I see no need to rehash it. Singled Out is thoroughly researched, but extremely accessible to YA readers. It's examination into the LGBTQ+ history and culture surrounding Glenn Burke's life is age- appropriate. It should foster discussion in classroom settings. I was curious if the book would be a hagiography, but Maraniss also details character flaws that did not serve Burke well in his To be fully transparent, I know Andrew - but this doesn't affect my rating. The book's summary is very accurate so I see no need to rehash it. Singled Out is thoroughly researched, but extremely accessible to YA readers. It's examination into the LGBTQ+ history and culture surrounding Glenn Burke's life is age- appropriate. It should foster discussion in classroom settings. I was curious if the book would be a hagiography, but Maraniss also details character flaws that did not serve Burke well in his minor league ascent and inability/indifference to putting in effort in the classroom or finding gainful employment once his baseball career ended. Even as an adult reader who already knew about Burke's baseball career, importance, and struggles after baseball - I found myself learning quite a bit due to Andrew's research. I'd recommend to adult baseball readers who aren't familiar with Glenn Burke as well. My only point of contention was Andrew's narrative about the eventual backlash to disco music. I do not believe there were racial or homophobic undertones to it. The music craze had run its course. As the fans chanted in unison on Disco Demolition Night at the White Sox game "Disco sucks, Disco sucks!" 5 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    michelle

    *Thank you to NetGalley for a digital review copy. All opinions are my own. I'm not a huge fan of sports biographies, but this sounded incredibly interesting and I am a huge Dodgers fan. Andrew Maraniss really understands narrative nonfiction and this book just flowed off the pages. This is an incredibly interesting story and one that I doubt many people have ever heard of. First there is the fact that he "invented" the high five. But more importantly, he was gay in a time when it was really diff *Thank you to NetGalley for a digital review copy. All opinions are my own. I'm not a huge fan of sports biographies, but this sounded incredibly interesting and I am a huge Dodgers fan. Andrew Maraniss really understands narrative nonfiction and this book just flowed off the pages. This is an incredibly interesting story and one that I doubt many people have ever heard of. First there is the fact that he "invented" the high five. But more importantly, he was gay in a time when it was really difficult to be gay and nearly impossible to be gay and in sports. This is a very niche biography though and I fear that it will not get read as much as it should, but it was very well written and compelling.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Great narrative nonfiction about Glenn Burke. Maraniss took great care with research and it shows. This book brings to light so many important and relevant issues, although Burke’s time in MLB was in the 70s. I’m a librarian and will be adding this to my collection.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Foxe

    Skimmed. Good book, but, alas, I have only a passing interest in baseball so I am not the intended audience for this book, but I think anyone who is interested in sports will love this book. To quote The Good Place, "The problem is me." Skimmed. Good book, but, alas, I have only a passing interest in baseball so I am not the intended audience for this book, but I think anyone who is interested in sports will love this book. To quote The Good Place, "The problem is me."

  6. 4 out of 5

    J. Daniel

    Maraniss does an outstanding job of telling Burke's story. Maraniss does an outstanding job of telling Burke's story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kinch

    Read my review at Chapter16.org: https://chapter16.org/the-natural/ Read my review at Chapter16.org: https://chapter16.org/the-natural/

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Chase

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The best of baseball, for the first openly gay MLB star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Yram

    Great one-shot, I'm glad found this. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar. Great one-shot, I'm glad found this. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on NovelStar.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana Torres

    I cried reading the story of Glenn Burke, and how my fav team had a hand in ruining his life to be quite honest. Singled out tells his story wonderfully.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Don Kyser

    Andrew Maraniss did a good job of weaving Glenn’s baseball story with his coming out and how society came to (or didn’t) terms with the AIDS crisis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Ettinger

  13. 5 out of 5

    R.c.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lee Owen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Dimoia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Wiers

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Byrd Little

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  20. 5 out of 5

    Edward Brown

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jake Elman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Holly McCall

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gerard

  24. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Larsen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Edgett

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fran Caparrelli

  29. 5 out of 5

    D.C.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Richard

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