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Publisher's Summary

More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor for the American experience. The nine seasons during which he led the Green Bay Packers to five world championships is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning. Maraniss captures the myth and the man, football, God, and country in a thrilling biography that has become an American classic.

This year, on the fortieth anniversary of Vince Lombardi’s death, the immortal coach strides onto the Broadway stage in a new American play, Lombardi, based on Maraniss’s critically acclaimed book, written by Academy Award winner Eric Simonson.

©1999 David Maraniss; 2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"An astonishingly good book....A triumph, a classic American biography." (Robert W. Creamer The Washington Post Book World)
"Forges a near-perfect synthesis of fine writing and fascinating material. May be the best sports biography ever published." (Ron Fimrite, Sports Illustrated)
"A superb book, one of the best on football that we have." (Michael Oriard, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 05-18-12

when men still mattered

vince lombardi was at heart an actor and a playwright
the oldest son of southern italian immigrants
he longed to be, but never was, a scholarly jesuit priest

for a time he was the offensive line coach at army
he longed to be a soldier and a leader of men in battle
but despite being 28 y.o. in 1941 he never served in the military

modern life seemed artificial, complicated and weak to him
it was only on a football field that life made sense to him
it was there that his virtues, talents and courage mattered

some men need to be tested and know where they stand
they look for ways to face their fears and overcome pain
lombardi understood this better than anyone in his generation

he game these men a stage on which to demonstrate their abilities
he created a world and a set of rules that fit their needs and talents
his demands to "pay the price for victory" resonated deeply with them

all of this success came at a terrible price, of course
his alcoholic wife remained in his fearful shadow all of her life
his son and daughter can honestly say they never knew him

life in post WW II america slowly quit rewarding the male virtues
being clever, attractive, political and comfortable became significant
lombardi would have none of it and wore his old fashioned style with pride

this is easily the best sports biography i've ever heard or read
the themes and scale of the story come close to an american opera
it makes sense that people would want to bring the story to broadway


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Nostalgia, football and a legend.

Where does When Pride Still Mattered rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was a very nice companion for my weekly 90 minutes highway drive to the city. I will miss it.

What did you like best about this story?

It did a great job taking me to "feel" the 30s, 40's and the movement to the 50's and 60's with their idiosyncrasy. As the chapters occur, you can also feel how the sport change, the strategies and the men that play it. I liked the stories about the people that surrounded Lombardi, the relationship with his players, other coaches and owners. Also allows you to look into a human Lombardi; if you take judgment outside, it's a great experience. It takes you to the era of writers and radio, when the power of the pen could create a legend.<br/>

What about Richard M. Davidson’s performance did you like?

The way he personifies Lombardi.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's not a moment per se, but the constant love for the team, for a game that offers so much for those that are willing to pay the price. The feeling group of men (people) learning from each other, taking care of each other, growing and sharing, football and life.

Any additional comments?

Lombardi is the Sum of people that had a passion for the game and life. Knowledge given to those eager to learn. Each experience builded Lombardi way of coaching...and still does.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • 11-13-17

Great Story

This book really gives you a glimpse into Lombardi's life and guiding philosophy. Highly recommend for anyone, even non-sports fans. Many great life lessons in here about excellence and dedication to one's craft.

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What a great book!

What a great book! The story and narration was outstanding and it captured the essence of Lombardi wonderfully!

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good book, bad pronunciation

Sir, it is not GREEN Bay. It is Green BAY. And Hornung is not pronounced how it is spelled. I was able to get past these and the narrator's lisp, to thoroughly enjoy the book.

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What's in a name?

While The Narrator has a pleasant voice and read the book well, the fact that he mispronounced numerous names incorrectly was extremely distracting and made listening to the book almost unbearable. His mispronunciation of Paul Hornung was extremely annoying. Often it sounded as if he was saying Hornum or HorNUN. Even Paul himself says HORNING. His pronunciation of the various towns and cities in Wisconsin, the names of the board members shows a real lack of preparation prior to the performance. He couldn't even pronounce Green Bay properly. He often called it GREEN bay with the emphasis on the word GREEN. It is pronounced Green Bay with equal emphasis on both words or Green BAY With the emphasis on Bay. Because those names are repeated often in every chapter it became a very big distraction listening to the book. He even mispronounced the name of the author.

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excellent piece of NFL history

I couldn't stop listening. not only FB history but history of time and place. essential reading.

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Great read about coach Lombardi

For hose that have heard things about Coach Lombardi, this goes into the details on how and in some case what drove him.

For any coach or manager it is a good read to understand the tough driven side of Lombardi but also the side of the Lombardi family that was need to support the Coach and the Packers.

Large book and can take time to complete but it is worth the time and effort.

Maraniss did an excellent job in capturing the essence of Lombardi.

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Quality text

Great story and reading to gain insight into Lonbardi the man. Both his upbringing as a person and a coach.

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Perfect title. When Pride Still Mattered

I loved hearing about the start of the different clubs and all of the football information. I thought Vince was a fantastic man.