Reading and Thinking Football

Football, including books thereon and idiosyncratic thinking thereabout

Book Review: America’s Quarterback

with 6 comments

America’s Quarterback: Bart Starr and the Rise of the National Football League is the third book by Keith Dunnavant I’ve reviewed on here, after The Fifty-Year Seduction and The Missing Ring.

As you might guess from the subtitle, America’s Quarterback is a biography of Bart Starr. It’s a well-done straightforward narrative of Starr’s life from growing up, Alabama, Green Bay, and afterward, with the bulk of the time spent on his time as quarterback for the Packer dynasty under Vince Lombardi. Starr comes across, as he has in anything else I’ve ever read about him, as a consummate professional and very high-character guy.

Ultimately, though, and this speaks more to me than it does to America’s Quarterback, it’s well done, I appreciate it, but I just don’t actually care. I had this same feeling about Missing Ring or for that matter about When Pride Still Mattered. I mentioned this on twitter earlier, but America’s Quarterback and the other books about football I’ve been reading lately feel, well, small. Hypothetical Tyler Cowen who reads about football would probably dismiss all of them as insufficiently theoretical or conceptual, or at least that’s the way I’m feeling right now.

That’s probably a sign I need to start reading something else, which will likely mean few or no book reviews here coming soon. I do have out from the library Roger L. Martin’s Fixing the Game, though I’m not sure I’ll end up writing a review here about it. Perhaps I shall finally get around to Finding the Winning Edge.

America’s Quarterback contains an index, source notes, and some bibliographic notes in the Acknowledgments section, which all nonfiction books should have and too many of them don’t. I noticed a couple typos, none major. I should probably buy a copy of The League by David Harris. Recommended for what it is.

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Written by Tom Gower

October 21, 2011 at 04:09

Posted in Book Reviews

6 Responses

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  1. Small books.. I had the same impression of Daryl Johnston's book on football, that the authors weren't ambitious enough with the book. But how do you get around that, especially if the authors are afraid of their own concept? Perhaps go to the trouble of finding (or building) an excellent group of proofreaders?

    Personally, I've found a number of online coaches to be very accessible, and many football bloggers quite affable, if you'll give them half a chance.

    David, of Code and Football.

    David Myers

    November 2, 2011 at 19:02

  2. […] for what it is, even though it doesn’t escape the the problems of most football books. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  3. […] I read, the football books tend to leave me dissatisfied or at least nonplussed. As I noted in my review of America’s Quarterback, many books about football feel, well, small, and I’ve written as such in my reviews here. […]

  4. […] books. At the end of the day, though, I’m not sure it avoids the smallness problem of too many football books; I’m not sure what lessons, if any, I take away from my reading […]

  5. […] done, and as I expressed in my review of the similar, though probably slightly better America’s Quarterback, it left me non-plussed. Read the book if you want a Unitas biography, but I have no particular […]

  6. […] is fine for all that, though I’m reminded of my comment on his Bart Starr biography, America’s Quarterback, that was kind of the inflection point for when I got bored with football […]


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