Reading and Thinking Football

Football, including books thereon and idiosyncratic thinking thereabout

Books on the Reading List

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I’ve been reading some non-football stuff of late, but that’ll be changing relatively soon so I thought I’d do a list of the books on football I own and haven’t read yet and therefore that might be showing up here in the next month or two.

The Pro Football Chronicle by Dan Daly and Bob O’Donnell
I’m about 2/3 done with this, but reading it in a very episodic manner.

American Football by Walter Camp
Haven’t touched this one yet. Seems to be shorter than it looks, so I may move it up on the list.

The Birth of the New NFL by Larry Felser
I’m trying to do this chronologically, so I’ll read this one after the books that take place in the decade before 1966.

The Hidden Game of Football by Bob Carroll, Pete Palmer, & John Thorn
I got 80-100 pages into this last summer after I bought it, then put it down for no very good reason. Note this is the original from 1988, not the Next Edition from a decade later.

The Football Abstract by Bob Carroll, Pete Palmer, & John Thorn
After Hidden Game, they did an annual-type book for the 1989 season. I figure it doesn’t make much sense to read this until after I read Hidden Game. I’ll probably skim this and focused on methodological stuff, since I’m not that concerned about predicting the 1989 season (for the reason, I think Denver will win the AFC, but the 49ers will destroy them in the Super Bowl).

The Winner’s Manual by Jim Tressel with Chris Fabry
This was a gift, and seems to be of the life-guidance approach. I don’t make a habit of reading these kinds of books, and there are none listed on the sidebar, but I’ll get to this one at some point.

Football Scouting Methods by Steve Belichick
Yes, the father of the coach. I’m not observant enough to be a good scout, so this isn’t that high on the list.

The Pro Football Historical Abstract by Sean Lahman
I read about 50 pages of this book in the day or two after I acquired it shortly after it came out last fall. It didn’t grab me immediately, so it’s been sitting on the pile since then.

Remember the AFL by Dave Steidel
I’ve barely looked at this one, but plan to read it either right before, right after, or at the same time as Birth of the New NFL.

The Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
The Game of Their Lives by Dave Klein
One Sunday in December by Lou Sahadi
The Year That Changed the Game by Jonathan Rand
And the local library also has Frank Gifford’s The Glory Game and Giants Among Men by Jack Cavanaugh, to complete the sextet of books released last year that touch on the Giants-Colts championship game. The plan is to read these for sure in the next 2 months, though I haven’t yet decided if I’ll do a combined review touching on multiple books or separate reviews for each of the 6.

Oh, and if you’ve read this far, you might as well find out what I’ve been reading of late that hasn’t been about football:
1. What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe. I’ve found the Oxford Series of American History to be a little hit-and-miss. Some of the books are kind of eh, some reach the absolute magisterial nature the series aspires to. Howe’s effort, covering the years 1815-48, falls into the latter category. For those not intimidated by 850 page works of history with footnotes, quite strongly recommended.
2. The Gifts of Athena by Joel Mokyr. A very interesting look at the role of knowledge-both scientific and applied-and its role in economic progress. I’m not done with it yet, but I think you get 75% of the key stuff from the first two chapters. It’s also somewhat more formal in nature-some Greek letters and equations, which are not things you really see in a work written for a more popular audience. Plus, I think some of my Mokyr-intended questions are better answered in The Lever of Riches, his earlier work which I haven’t read.
3. Clash of Arms by Russell Hart. With the 65th anniversary of D-Day coming up this Saturday, I thought I’d finally get around to this book, which had been sitting on my shelf for about 4 years. I’d meant to read it when I read Keegan’s Six Armies in Normandy, which I acquired at the same time, but didn’t. I’m about 90 pages in, and we’re not at 1942 yet, but it’s still very good in a very mil-academic way. Plus, he rips on Keegan’s English school of history in a footnote, so it seems like he’ll avoid the Anglophilia that detracted from Keegan’s book (granted, Keegan is English, but still…; probably why Fields of Battle is my favorite Keegan book).

Ah, wasn’t this a fine excuse for not writing a real post?

UPDATE (7/10/09 2021 CT): Moved Football Abstract right below Hidden Game. The books were initially listed in the order they appeared in the stack on my end table, but it bugged me too much that those two related books weren’t right next to each other.

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Written by Tom Gower

June 1, 2009 at 04:11

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. […] addition to the books on the current reading list, there are others I own, some updated on an annual or other basis, that are more for research and […]

  2. […] A story is rarely more than 2 or 3 pages, but these are big, 8 1/2″ x 11″ pages. When I mentioned this book, I said I was reading it in a very episodic manner-reading 20 or 30 pages at a time is nothing for […]


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