Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Lou Gehrig: A Quiet Hero, by Frank Graham, is first of all a biography, but more than that it is a chronicle of baseball during the first half of the twentieth century. During these years, baseball was not only the national pastime but also the arena in which legends were made. Graham’s book specifically focuses on the baseball episodes of Gehrig’s life, from his early high-school days in Brooklyn through his collegiate career at Columbia University and later to his sixteen years as a New York Yankee.

Each of the first few chapters of the book recounts those early years and specific incidents that show the development of Gehrig’s personality and character. Chapters 5 through 15 are the heart of the book, focusing on Gehrig’s major league career with the New York Yankees. One chapter in this section does veer away a bit from baseball: Chapter 12, entitled “Romance and Marriage,” introduces Gehrig’s future wife, Eleanor, but does so while still discussing the games being played and the records being broken. Chapter 15 examines Gehrig’s early retirement because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a rare progressive paralysis later called Lou Gehrig’s disease) and his departure from professional baseball. Chapters 16 and 17 discuss the honors given to Gehrig at the end of his career, and the final chapter tells of his early death at the age of thirty-eight because of his illness.

Graham develops a very readable style in...

(The entire section is 533 words.)