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Download The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, by Howard Bryant Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (378 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Howard Bryant Narrator: Dominic Hoffman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the thirty-four years since his retirement, Henry Aaron’s reputation has only grown in magnitude: he broke existing records (rbis, total bases, extra-base hits) and set new ones (hitting at least thirty home runs per season fifteen times, becoming the first player in history to hammer five hundred home runs and three thousand hits). But his influence extends beyond statistics, and at long last here is the first definitive biography of one of baseball’s immortal figures. 
Based on meticulous research and interviews with former teammates, family, two former presidents, and Aaron himself, The Last Hero chronicles Aaron’s childhood in segregated Alabama, his brief stardom in the Negro Leagues, his complicated relationship with celebrity, and his historic rivalry with Willie Mays—all culminating in the defining event of his life: his shattering of Babe Ruth’s all-time home-run record. 
Bryant also examines Aaron’s more complex second act: his quest to become an important voice beyond the ball field when his playing days had ended, his rediscovery by a public disillusioned with today’s tainted heroes, and his disappointment that his career home-run record was finally broken by Barry Bonds during the steroid era, baseball’s greatest scandal. 
Bryant reveals how Aaron navigated the upheavals of his time—fighting against racism while at the same time benefiting from racial progress—and how he achieved his goal of continuing Jackie Robinson’s mission to obtain full equality for African-Americans, both in baseball and society, while he lived uncomfortably in the public spotlight. Eloquently written, detailed and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of a complicated, private man who through sports became an enduring American icon.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Bryant is a great writer for a great subject…Aaron’s story is the epic baseball tale of the second half of the twentieth century.”

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • “A welcome and long-overdue portrait…thoughtful, insightful, and deeply engaging…It easily stands as one of the most impressive profiles of a ballplayer in years.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Illuminating and rigorously researched.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Beautifully written and culturally important…tells the Aaron story with gusto and a ferocious sweep…Bryant may just have given us a classic.”

    Washington Post

  • “A must read for baseball fans of every generation.”


  • “Impressive…Nuanced…For baseball junkies, The Last Hero offers enough about ballplayers of the era and the game to amply satisfy. But fortunately this book offers more. This is not mere hagiography. This is the tale of a man performing in the public eye, laboring under a persona projected by others with preconceptions of their own, but who gradually moves forward in his quest for self-determination.”

    Boston Globe

  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David | 2/1/2014

    " This book is a must read for anyone who considers themselves a fan of Baseball AND/OR history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jcrane1095 Crane | 1/27/2014

    " Another great book by Howard Bryant! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Nathan | 1/4/2014

    " Aaron's characteristic aloofness cripples this book from the outset. He's so carefully guarded his persona and image that Bryant is forced to dwell on his statistics and his contributions to African-American baseball, but these aspects have been covered elsewhere, and so feel pedantic and one-sided here. Bryant does his best with a difficult subject, and has certainly compiled a workable body of research, even if his vanilla writing doesn't really carry all of it efficiently. But again, the subject remains distant, so far out of reach on a pedestal that we never engage with his story. One almost feels Aaron's resentment at being scrutinized, even at this distance. The detachment of the text is thus a major tradeoff: we sense the reserve of Aaron himself, but we never get to know him beyond the usual hard-knock life story, the flash of his wrists and the home-run record. A letdown, not all (or even mostly) Bryant's fault, but a letdown nonetheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tim Petersime | 1/2/2014

    " Not only an excellent overview of Henry Aaron, but also the times in which he lived, including the racial prejudices he faced when early in his career and as he approached Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. "

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