Growing up in a home where baseball was truly a celebrated past time, I was very interested in reading "Mickey and Willie" by Allen Barra. I remember my father recording PBS' "Baseball" series on VHS tapes when I was younger, and the love of the sport was passed down to myself and my brothers. Obviously the Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays era was much before my time, but historically, these two were very significant players in the game, and I was really interested to know more about them, personally and professionally.
Allen Barra does an amazing job of narrating the lives of both Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in this book. What I really appreciated was the time that Barra takes in establishing the background of both Mantle and Mays. Barra goes to great lengths to draw parallels between the two baseball greats, from the time of their childhood on. I loved the fact that this book truly was an education experience for me - I learned so many things about these baseball players that I never knew.
I thought it was very interesting how dynamic the friendship between Mantle and Mays was, and how they kept in contact even when they had little to no personal time to spend together. At a time when it was fairly uncommon for a white man and a black man to be close friends, Mantle and Mays had so much in common that it would have been impossible for them to not find a sort of camaraderie. I also found it very interesting how similar their childhoods were, but also how very different they were treated.
Overall, I thought this book was very well researched, and organized in a way that it was easy to read. You don't feel like you are reading a biography - it really reads more as a novel, which makes it a very compelling read. If you are a baseball fan, I would highly recommend it. 5 stars for Allen Barra and "Mickey and Willie"
FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org in exchange for this review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed above are entirely my own.