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Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroesby John Rosengren
Synopses & Reviews
Baseball in the 1930s was more than a national pastime; it was a cultural touchstone that galvanized communities and gave a struggling country its heroes despite the woes of the Depression. Hank Greenberg, one of the most exciting sluggers in baseball history, gave the people of Detroit a reason to be proud.
But America was facing more than economic hardship. With the Nazis gaining power across Europe, political and social tensions were approaching a boiling point. As one of the few Jewish athletes competing nationally, Hank Greenberg became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.
When Hank joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933, they were headed for a dismal fifth-place season finish. The following year, with Hank leading the charge, they were fighting off the Yankees for the pennant. As his star ascended, he found himself cheered wherever he went. But there were other noises also. On and off the field, he met with taunts and anti-Semitic threats. Yet the hardship only drove him on to greater heights, sharing the spotlight with the most legendary sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.
Hank Greenberg offers an intimate account of the mans life on and off the field. It is a portrait of integrity, triumph over adversity, and one of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the field.
Baseball during the Great Depression of the 1930s galvanized communities and provided a struggling country with heroes. Jewish player Hank Greenberg gave the people of Detroit—and America—a reason to be proud.
But America was facing more than economic hardship. Hitlers agenda heightened the persecution of Jews abroad while anti-Semitism intensified political and social tensions in the U.S. The six-foot-four-inch Greenberg, the nations most prominent Jew, became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.
Throughout his twelve-year baseball career and four years of military service, he heard cheers wherever he went along with anti-Semitic taunts. The abuse drove him to legendary feats that put him in the company of the greatest sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig. Hanks iconic status made his personal dilemmas with religion versus team and ambition versus duty national debates.
Hank Greenberg is an intimate account of his life—a story of integrity and triumph over adversity and a portrait of one of the greatest baseball players and most important Jews of the twentieth century.
About the Author
John Rosengren is an award-winning author whose other books include Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year That Changed Baseball Forever and Blades of Glory: The True Story of a Young Team Bred to Win. His articles have appeared in Men's Journal, Reader's Digest, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated and Utne Reader, among other publications. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He lives with his wife Maria and their two children in Minneapolis and plays catcher in a 35-over league.
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