Returning from WWII, Joseph Burke seeks to find life, love and employment in the new America. He is recently divorced and scarred by the process. He becomes a fighter but is not quite good enough, and
without alternate skills, becomes a bodyguard. He is hired to guard a young, wild, narcissistic young woman. After a scene of passionate lovemaking in the public park, Burke finds himself in love with the young woman, but is ultimately fired by her father and once again finds himself seeking employment in the only field he knows.
Burke then becomes bodyguard to Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who is the first black player in the all-white American sport of baseball. Keeping Jackie alive, uninjured and able to PLAY BALL! takes all of Burke's physical and mental ability. During the year that they are together, he learns hard lessons about family, society, friendship and racism. It is a turning point in both their lives.
Organized crime rears its ugly head. There is also jealousy, retaliation and a return of his former love interest, who has married, but is unable to forget Burke. Who lives and who dies and who gets the girl are questions to be answered.
The book is rich in historical detail and a fun, fast read.
This report prepared by Deborah Spaulding