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

Ribowsky, Mark

48 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0735100586 / ISBN 13: 9780735100589
Published by Replica Books, 2001
Condition: Good
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Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP80310014

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Power and the Darkness: The Life of Josh...

Publisher: Replica Books

Publication Date: 2001

Book Condition: Good

About this title


The first full biography of Negro League legend Josh Gibson examines the record-breaking career and tormented personal life of the great athlete, from his dramatic baseball feats to his self-destructive drug and alcohol abuse to his death at age thirty-seven. 15,000 first printing.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An accomplished chronicler of baseball's Negro Leagues (Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, 1994, etc.) attempts to reclaim from myth the true character of a man best known as the ``Black Babe Ruth.'' Between 1928 and 1946, a time that featured such greats as Leroy ``Satchel'' Paige, Judy Johnson, and ``Cool Papa'' Bell, Josh Gibson was possibly black baseball's greatest attraction. Gibson's career spanned what, for all black players, were times of famine, feast, and, later, uncertainty arising from the major leagues' eradication of the color barrier. Through careful and facile use of a wealth of first- and second-hand accounts (including interviews with the slugger's son Josh Jr.), the author exposes to a wide audience for the first time how Gibson hid his indiscretions behind the massive shadow of his own fame and imposing physique. Persistent image-mongering by the black and white media of the `30s and his bosses, team-owners Cumberland ``Cum'' Posey of the Homestead Grays and W. Augustus ``Gus'' Greenlee of the Crawfords, kept Gibson's drinking, drug use, and womanizing out of the spotlight until they finally overwhelmed him, contributing to this death in 1947 from a stroke; he was 35. Ribowsky places the roots of Gibson's self-destructiveness in his inability to face emotional crises--including his wife Helen's sudden death in childbirth in 1930 and the manipulation by black and white organizers and promoters throughout his career--as defiantly as he faced the best pitchers of the day. The temptations of life on the road were also a factor (when not playing in the Negro Leagues, Gibson barnstormed off-season and played winter ball in Latin America). Ribowsky lays bare Gibson's ``tortured soul.'' This exemplary and long-overdue work demonstrates that Gibson took himself out of the game, or as the author writes in his closing, ``like Achilles, he had no defense against his own mortal flaw: himself.'' -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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