Reviewing Luckiest Man

Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man is a biography of Lou Gehrig. What makes Eig’s biography of Gehrig different from the other books about him I have read is Eig’s decision to spend a lot of pages on Gehrig’s battle with ALS (the Disease that took his life and has become forever linked to him).

Eig does a great job telling the reader about Gehrig’s life, including his strange relationship with his mother. He also shares a lot of insight into Gehrig’s lifelong battle with self-doubt. It’s amazing how someone so talented could hav so much trouble accepting their great ability.

As a huge baseball fan, I appreciated all the details Eig included about each season of Gehrig’s hall of fame career. The way Eig covered the seasons while incorporating interesting facts about Gehrig’s personal life made the book even more interesting.

But as I indicated above, the thing that separates Eig’s work from everything else I have read about Gehrig is the attention Eig paid to Gehrig’s battle with ALS. All of the letters Eig included between Gehrig and his doctors were sad and difficult to read. The letters between Gehrig and people in his life about his disease and pending death were raw in the way biographies usually are not.

Luckiest Man was not the easiest book to read. But I’m glad I read it. I learned a lot more about Lou Gehrig and gained even more respect for him. Lou and I would not agree on much. But it’s hard not to respect someone who had that much talent, who worked so hard to reach his potential, and carried himself with such humility as he faced a public death at a far too young age.

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