©2004 Warren St. John; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.
"But this book is more than a beer and barbecue-fueled travelogue. St. John also explores the sociological and physical effects of being a rabid sports fan. These journalistic asides contrast nicely with St. John's superstitious, obsessed sports-fan persona, which rules much of this amusing and insightful book." (Publishers Weekly)
I don't watch a lot of sports, and especially not football, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This book is laid out as a documentary in which the author spends a season following the fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. It is very well-written. The author does a fantastic job of painting the picture in your mind. The narrator does a brilliant job of bringing it to life, with good inflection and a talent for replicating deep southern accents.
Despite what the Publisher's Review says, this book is only sprinkled superficially with anthopological and psychological analyses of fan-mania. Those looking for an in-depth study will want to look elsewhere, but there's enough insight to give die-hard fans some pause to reflect on their behavioural habits.
4-Stars because it was very enjoyable. Not 5-stars, as those are reserved for classic must-reads, which this is not.
Marvelously funny and absolutely true to life. One of the most enjoyable books I've listened to. I'm making a bore of myself repeating some of the funnier passages at lunches and dinners.
as a child of the NYC suburbs, i wasn't familiar with tribal warfare
my college room mate, however, was from ozark, alabama
his entire extended family were more than loyal auburn fans
graciously, they allowed me to tag along to auburn - alabama games
it is a gross understatement to say "...there is nothing like it..."
i later insisted my young son accompany me to these unique events
warren st. john's life in birmingham, AL and then NYC paralleled my room mate
he brings both kindness and humorous insight to his research
the subjects he depicts are neither monsters or comic book characters
these people don't want to be UA fans, they deeply need to be UA fans
most of them solider on through difficult or diminished lives
football gives them companions and a chance to experienced shared joy
rural alabama life provides a steady dose of adversity and heartache
the civil rights struggle then delivered an unspoken shame on white alabama
the football game allows the faithful to gather and then share those burdens
warren st. john has delivered a wry and thoughtful portrait of a state he loves
he celebrates the paradoxical and, at times, frail nature of his subjects
the book is truly "...a journey into the heart..." with a wise and funny guide
The first half of the book 'rolls.' I laughed outloud several times and enjoyed many aspects of his analysis. I'd highly recommend it for 'Bama fans because of the detail it goes into the football season, the team, the history and the fans- wow- the fans. But I'd only 'just recommend' it for other college football fans because the second half of the book drones on a bit too much about the motor homes and a few other things I can't remember.
After listening for about an hour or two, I found myself routing for the Tide, hoping that they'd win every game he described. And he does describe every game. I would probably have given this book 5 stars if it was exactly the same but focused on Texas football instead. And I'm not even much of a fan anymore. Used to be though, and it goes to show just as he says in his book- the team is basically family in some weird way even though I don't know a single player and they don't know me.
If you're a college football fan, get it. If you're a 'Bama football fan, Roll Tide.
Say what you want about this being one-sided, that is what college sports and fandom is all about. If there is a current book out that better describes what it is truly like to be part of a passionate fan base, I don't know of it. For anyone who loves college athletics, this is a must listen. Don't be surprised to see a bit of yourself in it.
As a fan of College football I enjoyed the book. The book has many untrue details. I have gone back and looked them myself. I have also been to all the places he went to. I am an alumnis of the school he is writting about and still only give it a C"
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