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Namath: A Biography | [Mark Kriegel]

Namath: A Biography

In between Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan there was Joe Namath, one of the very few sports heroes who transcended their game. The son of a Hungarian immigrant, Namath left the steel country of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for the Deep South, where he played quarterback for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Almost four years later, he signed a $427,000 contract with the New York Jets that changed football forever, transforming a crude, violent game into show business.
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Publisher's Summary

In between Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan there was Joe Namath, one of the very few sports heroes who transcended their game. The son of a Hungarian immigrant, Namath left the steel country of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for the Deep South, where he played quarterback for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Almost four years later, he signed a $427,000 contract with the New York Jets that changed football forever, transforming a crude, violent game into show business. Namath became the most glamorous athlete in America; his fame nurtured by the age of television, the point spread, and the sexual revolution. His hair, his draft deferment, and his white shoes became symbols for a generation. But it was his "guarantee" of victory in Super Bowl III that ensured his legend.

In the tradition of Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio, David Maraniss's A Life of Vince Lombardi, and Nick Tosches's Dino, Mark Kriegel details Namath's journey from steeltown pool halls to the upper reaches of American celebrity, and beyond. He renders Namath as an athlete and a man, a brave champion and a wounded soul. Here are Namath's complex relationships with pain and fame plus his appearances in pantyhose ads, on The Simpsons, and Nixon's Enemies List. Namath is not just for football fans, but for any reader interested in the central role of sports in American culture.

©2004 Mark Kriegel; (P)2004 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Kriegel has written a remarkable book: a feel-good sports story still abundant with insight and social commentary." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is an intelligent, carefully crafted portrait of an American sports icon and an insightful look at how the world of celebrity works." (Booklist)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Clifford Golden, British Columbia, Canada 04-24-06
    Clifford Golden, British Columbia, Canada 04-24-06
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    "Blood and Guts of Pro Football"

    Excellent descriptions of Joe Namath's key football games. One gets a good feel of the personality that changed the marketing of the game. However, I feel there's another aspect of Joe that wasn't expanded upon - his spirituality. He meditated and had a keen interest in the science of astrology.

    The author gives detailed bio sketches of some key people in Joe's life but I found them far too long. Shorter versions would have been better.

    A disagreeable aspect was the author's objectifying of women tone in describing Joe's womanizing dalliances.

    Throughout the bio you keeping hoping for Joe to overcome his obstacles but it's not fully to be. In this way it's not a feel good football story. Years ago I read George Plimpton's Paper Lion. That was a feel good football story which had humour and good insight into the lockeroom bantering. This is missing in this book and I'm sure tomfoolery was present in the Jets' lockroom. It would have made it better.

    All in all, recommended for the football fan. Much work went into the researching and interviewing for the book. Probably nothing else comparable out there on Joe Namath.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M Dover, DE, United States 09-22-10
    M Dover, DE, United States 09-22-10
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    "Joe Namath #1"

    Nothing more be said. It's Joe Namath bare bones as Joe Namath was always "bare bones" in his life, how he played the game and how he played the night. The last of the great QB Passers and QBs who called the game their selves! A surprising insight into the real violence that, occasionally, is planned and plotted into the game plan and an incredible insight into Mr Joe Namath's "origins". No silver spoon kid here. I Listened from beginning to end. Another way of "I couldn't put it down". Great book! Well written! Well Read, as per usual, by Mr Scott Brick!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David McGlothlin Norcorss, GA USA 03-27-06
    David McGlothlin Norcorss, GA USA 03-27-06 Member Since 2001
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    "Namath (Unabridged)"

    If you love football you will love this book. The man that changed the history of football.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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