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Publisher's Summary

Sports Illustrated's number-six Sports Book of All Time

A Season on the Brink chronicles the basketball season that John Feinstein spent following the Indiana Hoosiers and their fiery coach, Bob Knight. Knight granted Feinstein an unprecedented inside look at college basketball - with complete access to every moment of the season. Feinstein saw and heard it all - practices, team meetings, strategy sessions, and mid-game huddles - during Knight's struggle to avoid a losing season.

A Season on the Brink not only captures the drama and pressure of big-time college basketball but paints a vivid portrait of a complex, brilliant coach walking a fine line between genius and madness.

©2013 John Feinstein (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nothing less than extraordinary." (The Chicago Tribune)
"Riveting.... Perhaps the best basketball book ever written." (Dayton Daily News)
"The best writer of sports books in America today." (The Boston Globe)

What members say

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  • Robert
  • Surrey, BC, Canada
  • 04-18-13

Great Sports Journalism

If this book was about a general or a politician or even a fictional figure it would be considered one of the great books of the 20th century. Unfortunately this book is about a college basketball coach so the stakes are smaller (do not tell Bobby Knight that) and the figure is real but at times seems stranger than fiction (sorry for using such a cliché phrase) thus it is merely considered one of the great sports books of the 20th century. A title it deserves.

Feinstein is given unrestricted access to Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers for a full year (practices, flights, locker rooms). It is as much a character study and a book about ‘how badly do you want to win’ than a tract about the misbehavior of Bob Knight. I would recommend this book to anyone (even non-sports fan) as Feinstein reports on one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read about.

I can not watch basketball now without imagining how Bobby Knight would react to a play.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A look Behind the Headlines<br />

i ha e never been a Bob Knight fan. Seeing the headlines, I was never impressed with him as a person. The story gives an account of the true person that Bob Knight really is. It is too bad the antics get in the way of who he really is, but i guess all of these things rolled together are what make him great. I still wish he could get out of his own way so everybody could see him as the great coach, mentor, and friend to those close to him.

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  • Caleb
  • Cypress, TX, United States
  • 01-30-17

Best basketball book out there!

A journey with the Indiana Hoosiers in 85-86 has basketballs stories for days. Coaching lessons and life lessons are within as you sit along Bob Knight for the wild ride of ups and downs in big ten basketball.

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"An Inside Look Like No Other."

What other book might you compare A Season on the Brink to and why?

"Next Man Up." - John Feinstein. It's a similar look behind the scenes of an American sports team.

Would you listen to another book narrated by John Feinstein?

Perhaps. But the narration was not the best. Too many up-inflections at the end of the sentences. I have, however, heard much more annoying narrators.

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

The story of Landon Turner. Having been a college basketball/Bob Knight fan for years, I knew all about it. But it always touches me to hear that story.

Any additional comments?

Great book about a great teacher. It goes way beyond a story about a basketball team. It's a story about how a team is built, relationships are forged, and the consequences of our actions - good and bad. It gives you the outline of how someone turns people into champions.

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  • Rick
  • Murrieta, CA, United States
  • 08-02-15

The General!

If you ever wondered how it all happens behind closed doors in NCAA hoops, and you want to hear it from one of the most respected programs from the 1980's, you need to read this book. And if you are a parent with a son or daughter on their way to college sports (not just Basketball), and you want to know what they can expect as an athlete, I can assure you, it'll be something less than what the General had to offer because nobody taught their sport, nobody understood their team, and nobody will ever compare to Mr. Bob Knight.

I grew up in the midwest and had the aura of Indiana Hoosier Basketball in my mind from a very early young age. If you wanted to compete, if you wanted to be the best, you emulated Indiana, and it was because of Knight that they (the Hoosiers) were so respected and feared. I was a Spartan fan, and even I knew the impact Knight was making on the court and how his teams were revered. Scary! And to think that most coaches...coaches, will never come close to the knowledge base this guy has/had, and what he brought to NCAA Basketball.

Sure there are the stories, the tales of his rants, and his chair throwing. Sure, he was fired, but there will never be another Bob Knight. And this story, though nearly 30 years old, will enlighten the reader on how he came to greatness and why he should be put on a pedestal amongst all other coaches. He IS a legend!

Do yourself a a favor and pick this read up. You will not be disappointed!

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Great book and interesting look at Bonny kight

Other then then bill Simmons book of basketball (which I know bears no resemblance then this story) this is my favorite basketball book. Better then b"Breaks of the Game in my opinion. The storytelling was excellent, and I could feel the players pain as the coach swung back and forth in his mood and his tactile emotional outburst (although sometimes he did come across
As almost bipolar in his demeanor). As someone who was only 2 years old when this season happened, and therefore didn't know what was going to happen for each game or the season as whole, I was disappointed when Feinstein would tell the result of the games (or at one point even the season) before the event even happened. This ended some of the suspense that was building up. I know more then anything though this was a look of the characters that made up the season (rather then the actual results of a game) so still a great read. Definitely recommend!

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  • Elizabeth
  • Bellevue, WA, United States
  • 12-12-14

Maybe it was the material I didn't like as much

I am not an athlete nor a huge sports fan, but I do read a wide variety of genres and have enjoyed some athletic nonfiction previously. This book came to me highly recommended, but in the end fell a bit short for me. I was curious about why I didn't find this book as good as others had said and spent a fair amount of time reflecting on that. In the end, I think it is because I struggled with the story itself, and not with the telling of it. I did learn some new things about Bobby Knight, about his compassion, his kindness, and his commitment to education (not just athletics), that impressed me. However, his story and the anger and frustration he showed others, how he treated others, etc.; the good in my mind just could not outweigh the bad. Bobby Knight's story made me sick. Not theoretically or figuratively; actually. I was so torn by how he treated others, by his swings in moods, by the duplicity of his actions, that it made me sick. I wish he was more of all those good things and that those good things were his legacy. Sadly, they won't be. If you love basketball, if you are so curious about Bobby Knight that you have to read this, then do. Otherwise, skip it and find some other nonfiction to enjoy.

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  • Hebern
  • Clinton, NC, United States
  • 03-24-14

A must for college hoops fans

Any additional comments?

I first read this book 15 years ago and wanted to revisit it now that it's on audio. I'm glad I did. It actually foreshadows much of what eventually happened to Knight. The book not only gives you insight into why Knight was such a great coach, but also why he was destined to self destruct. This is must for any college basketball fan.