Reviews for I Never Had It Made : An Autobiography

Library Journal Reviews 1995 April
This book essentially enlarges upon matters Duckett had covered with Robinson in an earlier work, Breakthrough to the Big League (1965). Included are introductions by Hank Aaron and Cornel West that provide fresh perspectives on the significance of the legendary star's breaking of major league baseball's color barrier. With each retelling, it is clear that Robinson's story has become less a baseball story than a major cultural milestone in the nation's history. As George Will is quoted as saying, it was "one of the great achievements not only in the annals of sport, but of the human drama anywhere, anytime." Appropriate for both adult and young adult collections.?William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla. Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 1995 March #4
This autobiography, which was originally published in 1972, the year Robinson died, is not about baseball: it's about the deep commitment that Robinson made to achieve justice for himself and all Americans. He recalls his years at UCLA, where he became the school's first four-letter athlete and met his future wife, Rachel. With the advent of WWII he was drafted into the army, became a lieutenant and was court-martialed for refusing to move to the back of a bus. He was honorably discharged. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues until he was recruited by Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1947 Robinson broke the color line in the major leagues and suffered terrible abuse for doing so. He discusses his relationships with the sports figures he admired, like Rickey and teammate Pee Wee Reese, and also recalls his run-ins with those he did not like, such as Dodger owner Walter O'Malley, who was ``viciously antagonistic,'' and sportswriter Dick Young, a ``racial bigot.'' Much of the book, written with freelancer Duckett, focuses on Robinson's political involvements after his career ended in 1956 and his friendships with such diverse characters as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, William Buckley and Nelson Rockefeller. The most wrenching episodes in the book deal with Jackie Jr., who overcame his heroin addiction only to be killed in an automobile accident at age 24 in 1971. A disturbing and enlightening self-portrait by one of America's genuine heroes. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.