Book: The Kings of Casino Park
Author: Thomas Aiello
Narrator: Claton Butcher
Recommend: Worth listening to! I learned a lot that I didn’t know before.
While not a fan of baseball or audiobooks in any way, shape, or form, I decided to check this out after it was recommended to me. I knew very little about baseball, even less about depression era baseball, and nothing about African-American Baseball in the South beyond the fact that segregation forced the creation of separate teams based on race.
After listening to this book, narrated by Claton Butcher, I feel like have a much better grasp on what the teams faced when trying to organize baseball leagues in a very prejudiced society. This extremely scholarly examination of one town’s baseball team and the Southern League thoroughly covered the state of baseball during the 1930s for African-American players.
While I learned a lot, this book wasn’t quite what I expected. After reading the title, I thought the author would focus more on the specific team and the people, rather than baseball as a whole. The author included a lot of interesting history surrounding this lost year of baseball history, which I found interesting to learn about. It helped set the backdrop for the events of the baseball season. The author did talk about the lives of some of the owners, but the book may have been more engaging if the author had spent time allowing the reader to get to know the players better. There is very little known about this year’s baseball season, and very little source material to go from, so the lack of player information is understandable, I just wish, as a reader, there was something a bit more tangible to connect to. However, it did make me want to research the Monroe Monarchs players further and watch for more material if it becomes available. The author did include a lot of interesting history surrounding this lost year of baseball, which I found interesting to learn about. It helped set the backdrop for the events of the baseball season in a way that created more of a connection to the material for someone who knows little about baseball.
Typically, I am not a fan of audiobooks. I’ve tried quite a few and found that the voices selected to narrate are hard to listen to for extended periods. This narrator’s voice was very easy to listen to, adding to the narrative instead of detracting from it. I will be watching for other books narrated by Claton Butcher.
This book made me want to give audiobooks another try simply because I found there are some voices I actually enjoy listening to for hours on end.