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"[Robinson's] story has been told before in three classics of baseball literature, Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer, Jules Tygiel's Baseball's Great Experiment and Arnold Rampersad's full-length biography, but Eig's detailed study stands proudly with them. He shows how Robinson, with his bat, his glove and his heart, helped build a level playing field."
--The Washington Post

"Eig recounts the flash points that have grown into myths and largely reduces them from grand opera to folk song, a story of endurance and forbearance rather than sturm und drang. Dixie Walker, a popular Alabamian who supposedly led an internal team revolt, is portrayed as mostly concerned about how playing with Robinson might affect his hardware business back home. A famous gesture of support from Pee Wee Reese, the Kentucky-born shortstop who reputedly threw his arm around Robinson on the field to quiet a hostile crowd, is presented as largely apocryphal, and an alleged strike by the Cardinals as very likely a media exaggeration. Eig’s deflation of the extremes of both opposition and support seems more complexly true and does justice to the man rather than the legend." --The New York Times Book Review

"Interesting and informative... breaks new ground... a terrific opportunity to recall one of the most remarkable and significant seasons in baseball history."--The Miami Herald

"Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 is briskly but movingly detailed in Jonathan Eig's fine Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season." --Toronto Globe and Mail

"Jonathan Eig does a superb job recounting Robinson's groundbreaking efforts."--The Hartford Courant

"A good book about Robinson has to be more about America than about baseball - if there is a difference between the two. This is just such a book.... There are many baseball books in my study. This will rank with my two favorites, Robert W. Creamer’s Babe and David Halberstam’s 1964." --The Winston-Salem Journal

"Thoroughly researched and wonderfully presented." --Newark Star-Ledger

"Jonathan Eig hits it out of the park with Opening Day as an intimate baseball remembrance. He homers again as the book evolves into a sociological examination of an era, a historical drama and a biography of a cultural phenom." --The Dallas Morning News

"Eig's superb book...characterizes the obstacles confronting Robinson as more daunting and oppressive than anyone outside of Robinson and his family had realized... Eig is two-for-two."--Chicago Tribune

"Jonathan Eig's mind-opening book...is an account of a 28-year-old man 'filled with fear and fury,' and terribly alone. It includes unfamiliar details about familiar episodes.... Eig is especially informative about the dynamics among the Dodgers, who, like many teams, had a Southern tinge."--George Will, The Washington Post

"With his crisp writing style and sharp reporting...Jonathan Eig separates fact from fiction and presents a fresh, clear view of Robinson's first season." --Tampa Tribune

"Jonathan Eig goes deep again in Opening Day. He uses extensive research and interviews with those who were on hand for that defining moment in America (to) craft a tale that may have been told before, but not in the way that Eig does." --Chicago Sun-Times

"Eig...has done it again. Now he's 2-for-2 -- as in two literary home runs. Thoroughly researched, with incredible attention to detail, Eig's book is at its best painting how post-war America and Brooklyn were changing sociologically and demographically, and in particular how Robinson was able to fight the rage within him when racist slurs came his way." --New Orleans Times-Picayune

"...(A) fine revisionist study.... The lesson of Opening Day is that a good redemptive story isn't always the same as truth. But if Robinson was a temperamental man, he's not less a hero for his self-restrain--and perhaps is even more of one." --Sports Illustrated

"Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season, by Jonathan Eig, is hardly the first book done on the first black player in modern major league baseball history. But it may be the best. Eig ... has given us a wonderfully thorough and thought-provoking look at Robinson's first season in the big leagues." --The Daily Oklahoman

"Opening Day is a noteworthy new account of the year that started it all —when Jackie Robinson put baseball, and America, on notice." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Opening Day manages the neat trick of being a beautifully written period piece while also bringing modern-day reporting to the mix.... Not just a great book, it’s an important book. --The Boston Herald

"Opening Day mixes excellent reportage with incisive, vital writing." --Nashville City Paper

"Beautifully written...Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season is far, far more than another sports biography." --London Daily Telegraph

"Jonathan Eig's captivating new book...recounts the glories, threats and stress of that trailblazing year. A superb storyteller, Eig, the author of the equally excellent Luckiest Man: The Life And Death of Lou Gehrig, not only reminds us of what a truly heroic figure Robinson was, but also looks beneath some of the myths surrounding that season." --San Antonio Express-News

"This crisply written book tells the true story behind this historic milestone and offers new insights into the player's first season as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers." --The Tucson Citizen

"You don't have to be a baseball fan, a history buff or a student of the civil-rights movement to enjoy Opening Day, a riveting story of Jackie Robinson's arrival with the Brooklyn Dodgers." --The Tallahassee Democrat

"Jonathan Eig meticulously pieces together one of the greatest sporting achievements in Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season. Eig's research and game reporting are thorough, and the stories and anecdotes assembled are entertaining, but he especially excels at casting Robinson's achievement as one of the touchstones of the Civil Right's movement." --Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"There have been a hundred books on Jackie Robinson, which is exactly why we need Jonathan Eig's new one. More specifically, we need what he does, which is to go back to newspaper accounts and other primary sources for the 1947 season.... Eig's well-written account doesn't discover history as much as clean some barnacles off it, which in this case is just as valuable." --New York Daily News

"This story has been pored and picked over innumerable times, but Jonathan Eig pulls it all together again in Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season. He investigates and sometimes debunks the iconic incidents of this nation-changing season, separating myth from fact, and showing again the sort of courage and determination Robinson displayed on the field and off it." --The Boston Globe

"Jonathan Eig, author of a superb biography of Lou Gehrig, has done his usual exhaustive research.... Eig tells this remarkable story without trying to insinuate himself into Robinson's inner feelings or giving in to docudrama tactics. It is a splendid book and a fitting tribute to a trail-breaker of notable athletic ability and even greater inner strength." --Roanoke Times & World News

"This is a vivid, enjoyable account that sheds new light on a season that's been written about many times before.... Eig does a marvelous job of weaving together the memories of those who experienced that season, including Malcolm X, Colin Powell and a host of ordinary fans." -- Rocky Mountain News

"Opening Day is an excellent account of Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers, all set against the backdrop of what baseball was in 1947, what the country was, what Brooklyn was, a borough teeming with change, a sneak preview of the new America. You can almost smell the peanuts." --The Providence Journal

"Eig, following up on his definitive best-seller Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, comes through again with astonishing depth." --The Charleston Post and Courier

"Jonathan Eig's excellent new book...depicts Robinson as a lonely figure who constantly fought to suppress his anger during his segregation-smashing first year. ...(U)nsentimenal and well-researched...." --The Palm Beach Post

"Opening Day is a tightly written…comprehensive history of [a] landmark season and the remarkable performance of its leading man, Jackie Robinson." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Opening Day...explodes myths, creates new awareness, (and) spins an almost hypnotic narrative arc from its first page... Reading Opening Day we are transported back to another time, another place, another world by a master story-teller. Buy this book!" --Harvey Frommer, www.travel-watch.com

"Eig’s well-written narrative…reminds us of how much Jackie Robinson endured to provide the next generations a chance and ultimately a choice." --Newsweek.com

"(W)onderful... a textured and moving narrative."--www.thefanzine.com

"This is a fine and compelling narrative that, given the subject matter, easily doubles as cultural history without the droning didacticism to which such accounts are susceptible." --www.identitytheory.com

“The author of the acclaimed Luckiest Man, a biography of Lou Gehrig, turns here to another great American sportsman, Jackie Robinson. So elegant in its logic is Eig’s angle—chronicling Robinson’s first major league season (1947) with the Brooklyn Dodgers—it’s a wonder no one thought of it before… Even Dodger-haters —and they are legion—will cheer on the Bums in this fine account." --Booklist

“Baseball fans will delight in a detailed account of the 47 Dodgers-Yankees World Series and revel in the portraits of some of baseball’s more interesting characters…Those looking for a cogent analysis of Robinson’s impact on the civil-rights movement and the tribulations faced by a man thrust into the role of trailblazer will be justly rewarded…" --Kirkus Reviews





advance praise

"In Opening Day, Jonathan Eig gives us front row seats to one of the most awe-inspiring, unsettling and momentous seasons of baseball. This is history at its absolute finest. It's honest, intimate and one compelling read. Opening Day is a celebration." -- Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

“Jonathan Eig has done it again. Opening Day is the compelling story of not only a great baseball star, but also a critical moment in our nation’s history. It is a terrific read.”--Kevin Baker, author of Paradise Alley and Strivers Row

"The halo attached to the secular sainthood of Jack Roosevelt Robinson grows larger with each passing year, the glow threatening to turn his accomplishments into tidy little morality lessons strung together in an All-American bible story. Thank goodness for Jonathan Eig. He brings us back to the grit and determination, the hot summer days, the sweat and insecurities that were part of baseball's finest moment. Sixty years after the fact, the story finally is told right. The every-day drama is human and real, captured in no-nonsense reporting and deft prose. The book is a wonder." - Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam and Ted Williams

In an age of steroids we wonder, what happened to the heroes? In an age of violence we wonder, what happened to the peacemakers? Jackie Robinson was a hero and a peacemaker. In this passionate and riveting book, Jonathan Eig gives us a Jackie Robinson for our time – a man of emotion and talent who needed all his skills, not just his athletic ones, to inspire a nation. Opening Day summons us to believe in heroes again – and boy do we need it." -- Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God was Born

Masterfully researched and beautifully written, Opening Day is that rarest of narrative histories: a truly important story that is at once sympathetic and unflinching, heartfelt and sober. Eig's powerful account of Jackie Robinson's historic first season surprises, thrills, and even challenges of our lifetime presumptions. In its insight we find not just Robinson's story but our own.—Robert Kurson, author of Shadow Divers and Crashing Through

"Jonathan Eig has done it again. Like Luckiest Man, Opening Day proves that there is so much to be learned about even our most celebrated heroes. Finally, here is a book that examines in-depth the most consequential season ever in sports—from spring training through the World Series. In this thorough and absorbing narrative, Eig brilliantly connects Robinson to the nascent civil rights movement and shows us how he made an impact that is felt as powerfully today as ever. Opening Day is both invaluable history and compelling drama." -- Jeremy Schaap, ESPN commentator and author of Cinderella Man



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