The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell: Speed, Grace, and the Negro Leagues by Lonnie Wheeler is a well researched and written biography that tells the story of base balling legend James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell. I would go further to say that the books was a biography for the sport of baseball as I felt I learnt more about the sport of baseball than I did about a Black man living in this period in (African) American history – the Great Migration – against the backdrop of segregation and racism.
The book is perfect for the baseball fan, but for me, someone who likes to learn about people and their journeys in (auto) biographies I feel it was lacking the human story re Cool Papa Bell. I say this because I don’t think the book paid as much attention as it could have done regarding him as the man. I learnt about Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson etc as well as baseball terms I would not have come across otherwise.
Thank you to Netgalley and Abrams Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.