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In the end they all share the same strengths and weaknesses.
For a straightforward narrative of the key points of Hornsby's career and life, this is perfectly OK.
But the book really stays on the surface. For example, there is never any in-depth discussion of techniques of batting or fielding. It's like reading a book on Napoleon without finding anything about the nature of warfare in the period.
Also, there is very little meangingful discussion of Hornsby's relative baseball greatness. Alexander doesn't need to become a zealous SABRmetrician, but some basic statistics about Hornsby and others (beyond saying what the average batting average for the league was in a given year) seems called for. Alexander doesn't even include a table or appendix with Hornsby's basic statistics.
I've given this 3 stars, because for the general reader it's OK. If I were rating it as serious history, I'd give it a 1. You come away from this book unaware that there have been lots of serious books written about baseball and its relation to society. Alexander's attempts to provide historical context are embarassing--on the order of, "The same continued hot, dry weather than made the Great Plains a Dust Bowl was present on Opening Day 1936 [my paraphrase, to be honest]".
In short, there is the same strain of intellectual laziness in this book that I saw in his others.
While not hated like Ty Cobb, Hornsby certianly had just as few friends. He was cold, short with people, humorless and offensivly blunt. His personality got him traded, fired, divorced and shunned. Alexander doesn't try to add personality where Hornsby didn't have one. He let Hornsby's baseball tunnel vision be the focus. Blunt- just like Hornsby.
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