Click to hear my March 2013 interview about Color Blind on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered"
Tom Dunkel is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Wall Street Journal and numerous other newspapers and magazines.
Dunkel's first book, Color Blind: The Forgotten Team that Broke Baseball's Color Line, was published in April 2013; now available in both hardcover and paperback. It's the true story of an integrated semipro baseball team that played in North Dakota during the Great Depression and whose marquee player was Satchel Paige, star pitcher and folk hero of the Negro Leagues.
Booklist named Color Blind one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2013. Color Blind also was a finalist for the Casey Award and the Society of American Baseball Research's Seymour Medal.
"A delightful read. This is a tale worth telling."
“It is funny, it is sad, it is spellbinding, required reading for anyone who loves baseball, who loves a vivid story well-told."
Philadelphia Daily News
"Tom Dunkel revisits this [semipro] landscape to spin a tale as fantastic as it is true, as American as racism and baseball."
"Dunkel's enthralling narrative of Bismarck's talented collection of white and black players falls into the 'must-read' category."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Dunkel tells one of the great untold stories about baseball history, one that almost sounds too good to be true."
"This remarkable story is about race relations, American history and the potential of the national pastime to affect the national conscience."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Dunkel writes with a passion and flair that matches the gritty, hardscrabble North Dakota landscape and culture of the Great Depression. His meticulous research and clever writing blows the dust off a forgotten — but important — chapter in baseball history. A fascinating addition to baseball’s library."
"A little-known but charming narrative that affirms baseball as a cornucopia of good stories."
"Tom Dunkel's wonderfully reported book Color Blind casts a spotlight on a long overlooked but fascinating corner of baseball history."
San Antonio Express-News
"Does a terrific job of capturing a long-neglected topic in baseball history - semipro baseball - in its heyday, and paints a vivid picture of the sport’s role in the lives of the communities where it was played."
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"A virtually forgotten but very significant piece of sports history…done in a very entertaining, narrative nonfiction style. Baseball fans will cherish this book, and it will become required reading among those who feel we can better understand today’s racial tensions by looking to the past."
Booklist (starred review)
"A captivating recollection of the Bismarck, ND integrated baseball team…Delivers an important rendering of a too-little-remembered challenge to American society’s segregated practices. Strongly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review)
"A decade before Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color line in 1947, an integrated team captured the imagination of Bismarck, North Dakota . . . Dunkel delves into the history of players, towns, and baseball itself in constructing this portrait of a harmonious team rising above a segregated society. . . . a story that transcends championships, and an inspirational reflection on an otherwise dismal human rights history."
"The colorful yarn of an improbably integrated team’s wild days of independent baseball during the Great Depression….A well-told account of a fascinating, and forgotten, chapter in the history of America’s national pastime."
"Full of colorful baseball lore, as well as social commentary, Color Blind is both first-rate history and an entertaining underdog sports story."
"Tom Dunkel’s book Color Blind: high recommendation. It’s a thrilling story. If you love hidden histories, you’ll love this book!”
Dave Ziron, “Edge of Sports Radio” on Sirius XM
"A great story. One worthy of being read over and over by fans who truly love the game and understand what we all lost during the years baseball was segregated. It’s a story not just about baseball, but about hard times, about prohibition, gambling, juke joints and the double standards of the day. More than that, it’s a very good read."
"Give an exceptional storyteller an exceptional story to tell, and you just might wind up with a book as good as Tom Dunkel's Color Blind."
Gene Weingarten, Washington Post columnist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing
"Once upon a time, in a prairie town wrapped inside a Depression, a drought and the Dakotas, there lived a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: A semipro baseball team half-black, half-white and half-crazy wondering if Satchel Paige would materialize so it could keep turning all of baseball’s and America’s rules about race inside-out. And wrapped it all would’ve remained if Tom Dunkel hadn’t ripped off the cover in Color Blind and knocked it out of the yard."
Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated senior writer
"Tom Dunkel has researched the story meticulously and told it beautifully, aided by a cast of characters that Hollywood might have envied. Color Blind is an amazing story of black and white that should be read all over."
John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball and author of Baseball In The Garden of Eden
"Dunkel does the subject proud - - weaving a story together of a team, a town and a time. Memorable."
Harvey Frommer, Travel-Watch.com
Carl Canon, Real Clear Politics
"This is a wonderful book, well worth the read. It merits a very large audience.”
Hispanic Link News Service
“Color Blind is an entertaining, must-read for anyone interested in the history of baseball, and its role in this remarkable era of American history.”