Cover Image: Baseball's Leading Lady

Baseball's Leading Lady

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Member Reviews

This is an incredible nonfiction story with tons of details and lots of information! You will enjoy that it reads easily and you will walk away knowing a lot more than when you began to read it initially. Andrea does a great job providing good details as well as photographs which help you bring the story to life. A great book for a research paper as well!
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This book is as interesting as it is special. I went into this book expecting a biography of the phenom Effa Manley, a female powerhouse in American baseball and especially in the Negro Leagues, where she found and fostered some of the best Black players of the generation. But what I found was not only insight into Effa, but a nuanced and wide view of the rise of baseball, the issues that plagued not only the sport but American society, and the ways in which Black Americans made their place in spaces that fought to deny them. Every page is filled with history I had never learned, from the rise of Jackie Robinson, to Effa Manley's boycotting efforts, to the messy ways in which white baseball was integrated. Not only does this book teach, but it inspires--inspires you to think critically and inspires you to dig deeper, introducing a myriad of topics related to Effa, baseball, and integration that could keep you busy and excited by Black history for decades! The history of Black baseball provides context to Effa's life and the expediency and passion with which she managed her team and her players. While I would have loved to learn more about Effa's introduction to baseball or what she did after Black baseball had met its demise, I was thoroughly excited by what this book does provide. And like all good nonfiction, the questions it left me with inspired me to dig deeper on my own.

But not only is this an expansive nonfiction, Williams writes with poignancy and charm. From the opening scene, the atmospheric tone assures you that not only are you in for good history, but also a good book. From the scenic descriptions down to the very last snapshot of Ms. Manley's mink cape, this book draws a vivid picture. Black history nonfiction for young children and teens is on the rise and I think this book has solidified its place in the field.

Thank you to Netgalley and the author for providing a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Misleadingly titled, Baseball's Leading Lady is more of a general history of the Negro Leagues rather than a biography of Effa Manley. Nevertheless, it is still a very good place to start for anyone, children and adult alike, to start if they are interested in learning about early baseball and/or blackball. The Negro Leagues are often only relegated to a footnote in Major League baseball histories, especially those for children. This title deals with complicated issues including integration vs separatism and black owned teams vs the benefits of major league and more. The only downside is someone looking for information on Manley may be disappointed when it takes a  few chapters to get any significant information on her. In some chapters there is only a line or two of text on Manley and then it veers off into more information on other important figures in Blackball History.
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This was a great read and thoroughly researched. I went into it thinking it would be a biography of Effa Manley, but it so much more than that. I liked that I also learned so much about the Negro Baseball Leagues. I would hand this baseball fans and history buffs alike.
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