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The Power and the Darkness: The Life of Josh Gibson in the Shadows of the Game

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The first full biography of "the black Babe Ruth", Negro League legend Josh Gibson, this intriguiing portrait pulls no punches in showing the dark side of this great athlete, but is similarly tireless in tracking down his glories. Based on interviews with Gibson's contemporaries, the book also features eight pages of photos from Gibson's son's personal collection. The first full biography of "the black Babe Ruth", Negro League legend Josh Gibson, this intriguiing portrait pulls no punches in showing the dark side of this great athlete, but is similarly tireless in tracking down his glories. Based on interviews with Gibson's contemporaries, the book also features eight pages of photos from Gibson's son's personal collection.


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The first full biography of "the black Babe Ruth", Negro League legend Josh Gibson, this intriguiing portrait pulls no punches in showing the dark side of this great athlete, but is similarly tireless in tracking down his glories. Based on interviews with Gibson's contemporaries, the book also features eight pages of photos from Gibson's son's personal collection. The first full biography of "the black Babe Ruth", Negro League legend Josh Gibson, this intriguiing portrait pulls no punches in showing the dark side of this great athlete, but is similarly tireless in tracking down his glories. Based on interviews with Gibson's contemporaries, the book also features eight pages of photos from Gibson's son's personal collection.

30 review for The Power and the Darkness: The Life of Josh Gibson in the Shadows of the Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anup Sinha

    While I am fascinated by Josh Gibson and certainly learned more by reading this book, I found the approach to be scattershot and the narrative often unreadable. Ribowsky is successful in performing tremendous research but does little to discern and allocate all of his findings. Its vastness in fact prevents him from achieving his stated objective of separating fact from fable and giving us real insight into the power and darkness of Josh Gibson. I understand and appreciate backstories and side st While I am fascinated by Josh Gibson and certainly learned more by reading this book, I found the approach to be scattershot and the narrative often unreadable. Ribowsky is successful in performing tremendous research but does little to discern and allocate all of his findings. Its vastness in fact prevents him from achieving his stated objective of separating fact from fable and giving us real insight into the power and darkness of Josh Gibson. I understand and appreciate backstories and side stories, but way too much of the book is derailed into other dramas such as the ongoing soap opera between Cum Posey and Gus Greenlee. He doesn't weave it well into the narrative. And while he debunks a number of tall tales, Ribowsky slips into new ones like stating that Gibson once picked Dizzy Dean up with one hand and threw him ten feet away while fighting another player with the other hand simultaneously. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Ribowsky's book on Howard Cosell but don't believe he put anywhere near the effort to organize his thoughts and his writing of this book; there are also some factual errors and typos. The best Gibson biography out there belongs to Brashler. I thought that one was very good, but someone had recommended this to me. I disagree and suggest that one for those interested in the topic. If you just want an accumulation of research, you might then choose this Ribowsky version.

  2. 5 out of 5

    bup

    Ribowsky's written a great story of the compelling life of a guy who should be about 15 times as famous as he is. Although the author imputes motives to various peoples' actions that would require mind-reading to know, he did a good job of winnowing out the baseball facts about Josh Gibson from the baseball myths about Josh Gibson. Gibson's tragic yet accomplished life make great subject matter. There should by rights be many biographies on Gibson, but at least the one I know of is good. It's a m Ribowsky's written a great story of the compelling life of a guy who should be about 15 times as famous as he is. Although the author imputes motives to various peoples' actions that would require mind-reading to know, he did a good job of winnowing out the baseball facts about Josh Gibson from the baseball myths about Josh Gibson. Gibson's tragic yet accomplished life make great subject matter. There should by rights be many biographies on Gibson, but at least the one I know of is good. It's a must-read for anyone interested in baseball history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

    Not as impressed by Ribowski's Josh Gibson as I was by the myth. Not as impressed by Ribowski's Josh Gibson as I was by the myth.

  4. 4 out of 5

    B

    There are probably two things that a reader of a putative Josh Gibson biography would want to know: (1) Was he better than Babe Ruth? (2) What was he like as a person? The reason a reader wants to know this, of course, is (1) because baseball players are constantly being evaluated against each other and Josh Gibson is often referred to as the "black Babe Ruth" or the best homerun hitter in the Negro Leagues, (2) a biography reader tends to want to know about the person's character, and (3) most Neg There are probably two things that a reader of a putative Josh Gibson biography would want to know: (1) Was he better than Babe Ruth? (2) What was he like as a person? The reason a reader wants to know this, of course, is (1) because baseball players are constantly being evaluated against each other and Josh Gibson is often referred to as the "black Babe Ruth" or the best homerun hitter in the Negro Leagues, (2) a biography reader tends to want to know about the person's character, and (3) most Negro League players are very mysterious and their reputations survive in what appear to be clearly exaggerated way. In the introduction the author disavows being able to determine Gibson's proficiency relative to white ballplayers of that era. This makes a lot of sense. There's not enough data. Throughout the book, the author refuses to really describe Gibson's character, insisting that he was mysterious. Confusing the lack of information with the actual character of the person does not work. Failing that kind of knowledge, the author tells a relatively interesting business story of the feud between Gus Greenlee and Cum Posey and Satchel Paige's constant contract jumping. These are things of record so they can be discussed. But if this book had been more focused on the Greenlee-Posey battle, it would have been better. Asserting that this is about Gibson is distracting.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I would have given it 4, but the middle seemed to be more of a history of the Negro Leagues than a bio of Josh Gibson.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Travis Rogers

  7. 4 out of 5

    John

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tiffie Smith

  9. 4 out of 5

    daryl jackson

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Hill

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chuck O'donnell

  12. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sitton

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bauer

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brad

  15. 5 out of 5

    T Runyen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ed Williams

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clarence Goodman

  20. 5 out of 5

    victor harris

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dan Davis

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Ortiz

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hasenfus

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rob Letterly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Todd

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jaison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  28. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Richard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tony Horning

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jim Blinkhorn

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