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Book Reviews

There are a few reasons why I have been impressed with Mr. Bailey's book, The Dream.  If you talk to anyone who grew up on the west side of Baltimore known as Sandtown in the late 1950's - the last 1960's you'd understand community and what it meant to grow up in Baltimore City.  As I read Mr. Bailey's book it took me back at a time in my life when children had dreams.  His was so focused on attaining his dream to go in the Navy for the sole purpose of wrestling for the Navy. Mr. Bailey draws you into his life on every page sharing of his humble upbringing and his love and respect for his mom who raised three sons from Cherry Hill to West Baltimore, getting on the first wrestling team at a neighboring center then attended Carver Vocational Technical High School. He was greatly influenced by the then President Kennedy who spoke of training hard to accomplish your dreams.  Mr. Bailey's path toward his goal to being on the wrestling team for the Navy was truly orchestrated by God.  You feel like you're a part of his life because you feel his passion and determination to succeed. My 12 year old grandson read Mr. Bailey's book and was inspired by his determination.  A great read.


Hey Leon —  This is OUTSTANDING!!  Audrey and I just checked out the video and we are so very proud of you!  The interview was excellent and you look great!! Thank you so much for sharing with us….I truly wish Dad, Mom and Aunt’s Iris & Theresa were still with us to see this because I know they would be equally proud.  Give our love to Miss Ann and your family….everyone on this end is doing well.  Keep on keeping’ on, my Brother!

Gary W.


Hi Mr. Bailey, see my comments below...

The Dream, written by Leon Bailey, is a book that has inspired many readers, including myself. It is a story of hope and perseverance that reminds us that we can achieve anything if we set our minds to it. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be inspired and motivated to chase their dreams.


George W.

The very first time that I read the title of your book The Dream.I thought about one of my favorite pro basketball players,Hakeem the Dream Olajuwon.Excellent book, I can see a movie out of this book.The first African American to wrestle for the US Navy.The first African American to coach the Navy wrestling team at Quonset Point Navy Air Station.First African American to become a two time Navy wrestling champion.That's a lot of firsts.You were a great student of wrestling, that became a great man.God is all in your story from the start to present.I am so blessed to have meet you Sir.

Curtis D.

Dear Mr. Bailey, 


I hope this message finds you and your family doing well and staying healthy.  
I met you when you engaged our young men at Mentoring Male Teens a few weeks ago. I am a volunteer with the program and you were generous to provide an autographed copy! How fortunate was I? 
The book is wonderful and inspiring plus commentary to many important life lessons with regard to determination, faith, family, perseverance, open-mindedness, compassion, love and so much more. The testimonials were a beautiful way to end as well. Being a recent transplant to Baltimore, I enjoyed learning of McKim's, Mr. Mack's Gym and your family's experiences and growth, especially your mom's evolution to local business owner. Beyond thank you for sharing this book and yourself with us 

Nina V.


Subject: Bravo Zulu Shipmate

Message: Leon, As a Naval Officer, retiring after having the honor to serve over 26 years in the World's finest Navy, I want to thank you for your service and the great conversation we had on the streets of Baltimore. As you know, the Navy is a service of tradition, with many of those traditions being passed down from generation to generation of American Sailors. These traditions make our Navy, and nation, great. You, and your story, told by your book; "Leon Bailey - The Dream" of never quitting and combined with your leadership abilities is an inspiration to not only my generation, but, to future generations of Officers, Chief Petty Officers and sailors that will man the ships , squadrons and bases around the world's oceans. Traditions, that you have learned and passed down to future generations of the American Sailor. You can be justly proud of your accomplishments not only during your service in our Navy, but to the service you still are providing to the next generation of American youth. A generation I know we both will be proud of. Onboard ship, we would raise the "Bravo" and "Zulu" signal flags in your honor, a signal which means, job well done. I am honored to call you shipmate, a term of respect and friendship between us sailors, persons with the same experience of wearing the greatest uniform in the world.

Very Respectfully, Mike L. LCDR, USN(ret.)


Hello Mr. Leon Bailey,

I just had the pleasure of completing the read of your book The Dream Navy Pride, and as an East Baltimore native (Eager & Caroline) Odessa Thomas Court, and 20-year retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, I immediate identified with your civilian and military lifestyle journey and experiences. I too was a patron of McKim's growing up in the 1980's.

Reading your book provided me with some very insightful information about that neighborhood area, and social climate of racial segregation and inequalities. In fact, I plan to share this information with my childhood friends as I don't think they know about the history.

In closing, I want to say I commend you for accomplishments and continued community involvement and volunteer efforts.

May God continue to grace you and your family Mr. Bailey.

Warm regards,

Antonio M.

Dear Mr. Bailey,


I read the letter you forwarded to me.  It's great to be acknowledge by the son of the Commander you reference in your book " The Dream".  A true example of God hand of favour and blessings on you.  I am honored that I got a chance to be in the presence of true greatness, a shaker and mover.  Thank you for paving the way for future wrestlers, authors and sailors by leading by example.  Because of you myself and other fellow veterans can believe that our dreams can come true too.  May God continue to bless you all the days of your life.  You truly are what I call living your dream.  Thank you for sharing such an wonderful story of personal achievement, and success.  I look forward to any advice, or guidance coming from you in the future.  Just know that I appreciate you for taking out time to help me.



Ms.  Lynnae S.

Read Tyrin's letter about "The Forgotten One" the story of Leon Bailey!


Dear Mr. Bailey,

I remember like it was yesterday when we met at the Post Exchange located at Fort Meade. A colleague of mine was talking with you and I went over to speak to him and I received the opportunity to meet you. I remember my colleague (who also has a wrestling background) referred to you as a wrestling legend! I was very excited to be given the opportunity to meet someone that achieved such historically  significant accomplishments especially in the U.S. Military. I purchased one of your books and I was not disappointed by no means whatsoever. What started out as a sparked interest in your life’s story evolved into an experience of inspiration, gratitude and motivation. 

The inspirational factor of your life’s story resonated with my already burning desire to uncover and discover what was never truly hidden in our history but somehow always seemed left out. During a time when black accomplishment was overlooked and often discredited by such a racially prejudiced society it has become difficult to discover the historical accomplishments of our people by our people. Mr. Bailey I sincerely thank you for taking the time to tell your story! As a proud African American I have always been in love with our people and who we are and what we’ve done. So much history has been pushed to the side and forgotten for many reasons and in most cases the history was forgotten because the story wasn’t told. But what you have done Mr. Bailey by writing your own story is inspire all peoples of color that have a story to tell. You have inspired us to tell our story lest it fade away into the endless ocean of time and be forgotten. Thanks to your efforts Mr. Bailey your story has strengthened, inspired and encouraged its readers (myself especially)!

My gratitude for the telling of your story is immense. As peoples of color we must take charge of our history and tell it for ourselves however we can. When someone knows their history and from whence they came they live with a sincere and unshakable sense of purpose and honor. As up and coming generations are born they must be taught where we have been to understand what we are reaching for and where we are going. Stories like yours Mr. Bailey will certainly help to do just that. I believe that Self-love is rooted in Self-knowledge and Self-knowledge is rooted in how much one knows about his or her history.  To love one’s self (and his or her history) is essential for a people to work together, build and grow. Again, I say thank you Mr. Bailey.

Last but most certainly not least. I must speak on how your story has motivated me. As a young African American male we have a lot of barriers in our way that we must constantly get around and overcome to accomplish our goals. You grew up during in the United States when social injustice and racial inequality was very real and a serious ordeal for black folks. Although we still have many challenges in front of us the earlier years were no comparison. The obstacles that our people had to overcome. The racial slurs and insults that had to be ignored. The economic and financial strife that we had to bear. All of these things could not stop you from accomplishing your dreams. You did more with less. You defeated your opponents with pain in your body. You overcame and you achieved. The God we serve is a great God. His favor along with your determination and desire made all of these things possible. You have been a blessing Mr. Bailey and your story will continue to live on.

With all due respect and sincerity,

Larry C. Jr.

The Dream (Larry C, Jr,)


Congratulations for a job well done! You are the kind of person that helps  to motivate others to strive for a goal and go for it. This also means a lot to Carver and its alumni association. Keep up the good work.

Denise T.

Hi Leon,

All I can is WOW!  And... CONGRATULATIONS!

What a tremendous honor. I am so happy to see you receive the recognition you deserve.

Blessed to know you and count you as a friend. 

Again, congratulations for this well-deserved honor.

Mr. Bailey,

It was a pleasure to meet you. As a fellow service member, I am encouraged by your successful career and desire to see others achieve their dreams! I pray that God continues to bless you, and that He graces me to achieve my dreams too!

Thanks and God Bless,

Errick B.

Your book is an inspiration to those who have forgotten the phrase, "never give up, and always believe." Many people should take the time and read your book so that they may remember what they really wanted to do in life. To do their best and make their dream a reality. No matter what life throws at a person if they keep on going, do their best, and believe anything is possible. Leon Baily you among many paved the way for future athletes. It was great to meet you in person.

Jacky R.

Your book tells of a journey that is inspiring at any level. It paints a true picture of overcoming hard times and race relations that many of the new generation can only imagine. 

It has it’s root in the culture of black history  which you share so freely and it is  trailer blazer for men and women who set a goal for success in life.

You have inspired me to want to read more about how one survives under difficult circumstances without compromising his values.

What great reading!!!!

Randolph S.


Thank you so much for coming to the Baltimore VA for a ward visit with the Veterans.  Your visit was very beneficial to the Veterans, especially on our 6th floor with Trauma Recovery Veterans.  Your talking to them was very motivational for them and autographing a copy of your book “The Dream” was special for them.  The bed side visits were great also.  I know you cheered up the Veterans and brought back happy memories for them.  They also appreciated a signed copy of your book.
Thanks again and look forward to another visit.

Dallas R. 

Voluntary Service Specialist

Baltimore VA Medical Center

Hall of Fame 

Congratulations Leon on your induction as an Outstanding American to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in October 2017. It was a pleasure to meet you in September at Johns Hopkins Hospital and reminisce about our Navy experience on the Essex ship. Have a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,

Michael S.

Good Morning Mr. Bailey.

It was wonderful to see you at Ft. Meade Military Installation.  Your book is an inspiration. .  Having the opportunity to talk with a Warrior as yourself provides a historical picture that we would have not received if not for you telling the story of your military as well as your wrestling career.  I see the underlying theme of your work as "Never Give Up".  You are a true Warrior.  I appreciate the education that you are providing by looking to the past, but charging forward into the future.  Thank you again and congratulations on the Revised version of Leon Bailey The Dream Navy Pride.

Mary H.

US Air Force, Retired

Good morning Leon,


I hope this finds you doing well.  

The mailman just delivered your package, and you really made my day by sharing your updated edition of your great book. Your message to me written inside the book means so much to me. Thank you for what you said... and for sharing a copy of the latest version of your book with me. I am honored and humbled by your words, and am truly blessed to know you and consider you a friend.

Thanks again

Best wishes 

Mark  P.
Staff Writer, InterMat

Mr. Bailey:

You may not remember me but I met you while having lunch with my grandchildren at McDonalds in Baltimore on Saturday, December 31.  I apologize for taking a while getting back to you - between grandkids, holiday travel and work, it has taken me a while to catch up!

First, I would like to tell you how much of an honor and pleasure it was meeting you.  Your story is truly remarkable and inspiring.  I read the book (twice!) and was amazed to see such a man of faith, family, honor and service.  Your story sheds light on a period of time in American history many would rather forget, but we cannot forget - we must learn from our mistakes, else we are doomed to repeat them. 

You are most definitely an inspiration to me!  I too am a man of faith, and it is most refreshing to meet others who have struggled yet never lost sight of the Father's love for us.

Second, I wanted to thank that young man who purchased the book for me.  I usually do not carry cash, and had planned to purchase the book online.  It was such a kind and generous act on his part, and I would like to return the favor.  If you know how to reach this young man, please send me his contact information.

It is often said that the Lord works in mysterious ways, and chance encounters such as this are proof to me of the truth in that statement.  I know it was God's plan that I had the opportunity to meet you, if only for a brief moment.  I am grateful.

Thank you once again for sharing your story with me.  Be sure that I will continue to promote men such as yourself in my life's journey! 


Best regards,
Joseph C. Esq.

You are a living legend. Your life story is awe inspiring & must be told. Thank you for sharing. I will do whatever I can to help you do that. Congrats once again and I hope all went well on Monday. Juliette.

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