Lou Gehrig Critical Context - Essay

Frank Graham

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The success of Graham’s book is probably a result of two factors. First, Graham’s easy writing style and the interesting tales that he tells are the heart of his success. The interest in Gehrig as a ballplayer is no doubt the essence of the book, but Lou Gehrig also contains insights and perspectives into a man’s life and eventual death. A second reason that this text has become a classic young adult biography in the United States is that the events, personalities, and places described in the book are part of a heritage with which most Americans have grown up. That heritage—baseball—is very much a part of American life, and it is this thought that makes Graham’s book so powerful and so real. Often, the public focuses on the trials and tribulations of famous athletes, marveling at their physical ability and mental quickness. A book such as Graham’s helps one to refocus attention on the humanity and courage of many of these individuals. Graham’s success is that he accurately portrays the game that is most closely connected to the United States’ national heritage through the life and times of Gehrig, one of the “greatest ballplayers ever produced anywhere.”