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Comparing Two Books about Jackie Robinson

Our good friend Jeff Snow is in bivocational, bidenominational ministry. For half of his week he is a college and university campus worker with Mission Canada, a division of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and the the other half of his week sees him acting as interim pastor in a church that is part of Canadian Baptists.

He’s also a big sports fan, especially baseball and he has always admired the courage and testimony of Jackie Robinson. Back in May we shared his thoughts on the book 42 Faith by Ed Henry. You can read that again at this link. So when Westminster John Knox Press released Jackie Robinson: A Spiritual Biography–The Faith of a Boundary-Breaking Hero by Michael G. Long and Chris Lamb, Jeff was first to purchase a copy from our store. We decided to give this book equal time and let Jeff share his opinions.

I just read the second book.  It was shorter and laid out like a more traditional biography than the other and it didn’t meander as much.  The writers did a very good job going into Robinson’s formative years of faith and the influence of his mother and pastor.  For those unfamiliar with his story, the authors [of this second book] give many of the basics of the Robinson story, but through the lens of faith.  The other book I think assumes a little more knowledge of the story on the part of the reader.

Half the book is given over to Robinson’s post-baseball career working for civil rights.  Here we see the evolution of Robinson’s leanings towards more of a social gospel, as well as a slight liberal bias on the part of the author.

Overall I found the book very good.  More concise and focused than the other one, with a few more convincing arguments for the faith motivation behind both Robinson’s and manager Branch Rickey’s actions.

So Christian bookstore readers who are baseball fans now have a choice!


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