About the Book


In this engaging book, F.M. Kail has taken his obsession with underdogs and followed it down many trails. By introducing the reader to one fascinating story after another, he shows us how those underdog narratives connect and helps us understand the backgrounds, talents, and flaws that drive people to overcome the odds.

We are a nation of underdogs.  Three-quarters of those who came here arrived in some condition of unfreedom: as convicts, as indentured servants, as slaves.  Yet this improbable immigrant mix somehow managed, against all odds, to field an army that defeated the greatest superpower of its age and to create a nation that became the envy of the world.  Our affinity for underdogs, baked into our historic DNA, has been reinforced by the fairy tales and Bible stories we heard as children, teaching us that a poor girl can marry a prince and that a young shepherd can fell a giant.  This book reminds us of the humble beginnings of some of the greatest ballplayers, movie stars and Presidents of all time.  Each of them not only grew up without material and social advantages, but also faced the loss of a parent, emotional abandonment, alcoholism, racial bigotry, religious intolerance, life-threatening illness or physical abuse.  That each overcame these adversities to rise to the peak of their respective professions has inspired generations and, in so doing, has given credence to the promise of the American Dream.

In addition to a Foreword by Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss, the book has received early favorable comment from Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball,” Ann Hornaday, chief film critic of The Washington Post, Tim Kurkjian, senior baseball writer and analyst for ESPN, and Karl Marlantes, best-selling author of Matterhorn.


Heroes with Humble Beginnings

Heroes with Humble Beginnings