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America's Quarterback: Bart Starr and the Rise of the National Football League Hardcover – September 13, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“This is one of the best sports history books you will read. It’s the story of a remarkable man and a fascinating time. Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers led the way in the 1960s when pro football became America’s favorite sport. But this is much more than a football story. Bart Starr is a great man who has handled adversity, triumph, and tragedy with unique dignity. Bart’s story has a lot to teach us about life. You will enjoy spending time with this well-crafted book and getting to know Bart Starr in a whole new way.” --NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell  

“The Green Bay Packers – a formative fable of the the National Football League – would not have been possible without Bart Starr. But Keith Dunnavant has done more than restore the quarterback’s place in the sport’s history. This biography isn’t merely definitive. It’s an ode to stoicism, modesty and discipline – the virtues that made the Packers’ dynasty.” --Mark Kriegel, New York Times bestselling author of Namath and Pistol

“Keith Dunnavant's bold, stirring biography argues that Bart Starr is the NFL's greatest quarterback ever. Allowing no room for debate, Dunnavant shows that Starr was the indispensable man in the creation of the Green Bay Packers dynasty.” -- Dave Kindred, author of Morning Madness: Inside the Washington Post

“Dunnavant has written an absolute masterpiece. This is both a compelling and riveting tale of one of the nicest men who ever played the game, and also one of the most important and influential. Even though I have known Bart more than 20 years, having interviewed him countless times, I learned something new on nearly every page. Hands down, the best sports book of the year. It may be the best sports book I have read in many years.” --Paul Finebaum, Radio Talk Show Host

“In America's Quarterback, Keith Dunnavant perfectly captures the essence and the understated elegance of the icon that is Bart Starr. But Dunnavant gives us much, much more. Through painstaking research and intimate detail, which are the hallmark of his books, Dunnavant gives us the uniquely American story of how a man, through the sheer force of his will and his dedication to excellence, rises from modest circumstances to reach the top of his profession. We learn that Starr has lived his life the same way that he played football: with a quiet dignity that allows him to survive and prevail when faced with both the good and the bad. If you liked When Pride Still Mattered, the great biography of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss, you must read America's Quarterback. Dunnvant has another winner!” --Tony Barnhart, CBS Sports

"America's Quarterback is a well-researched, deeply personal account of a college and NFL icon. Luckily for us Keith Dunnavant chose Bart Starr as a subject. This is a fascinating read." --Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com

"Keith Dunnavant is one of the most gifted writers and researchers in American book-writing. He brings depth and clarity to Bart Starr the same way he did with Bear Bryant in Coach. I love this book and will proudly display it next to Coach Bryant.'' --Jim Dent, author of Courage Beyond The Game

About the Author

KEITH DUNNAVANT is the author of four critically acclaimed books.  He has been one of the leading college football writers, an award-winning magazine journalist and lives near Atlanta.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312363494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312363499
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a 59 yr old native of New England (born in CT, now in NH for 28+ yrs)
I never lived in Wisconsin.
During the last stock sale, I became one of the 112,000+ owners of the Green Bay Packers.
I have traveled to Lambeau for 5 games and one shareholder meeting since 1990.

I often tell people, if you are a football fan, Lambeau Field is EVERYTHING you think it is.
People as experienced in NFL culture as John Madden do not become giddy about just any venue.

I have just finished this book about my boyhood hero, Bart Starr.
The book solidly confirms my choice at age 12 to regard Bart Starr as a proper role model and true athletic hero.
The reason I became a Packer fan is due to Bart Starr's talent and leadership on Lombardi's dynasty team.

The are 2 reasons the Super Bowl trophy is named Lombardi:
1. Lombardi himself and
2. Bart Starr

This book is incredibly detailed and extremely well researched.
It is PACKED with interesting anecdotes about the life of the man who (as the book makes the case) can be considered the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
It is also a (well deserved) 'love letter' to the finest MAN who ever wore a football uniform on any field, anywhere.
I really took my time reading this book, because the sights and sounds of the greatest team in football history mingled with the events and attitudes of the era, and then added details about a man whose greatness helped define that time in the NFL.

But I also took my time because I often had to set the book down after being choked up with emotion when reflecting on this great man and his accomplishments.
For example, if you see the book on the shelf at a store, pick it up and read page 156.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There have been previous biographies of Bart Starr, but this effort by author Keith Dunnavant vastly exceeds the others. It contains 324 pages of text and gives interesting details covering all facets of his football career at all levels. Successful people can usually look back in their lives and point out individuals who have helped them during crucial periods in their development. Bart Starr was blessed with such individuals who believed in him. Starr didn't have the most talent among several quarterbacks throughout his career, but what led to his being successful was the self-discipline he possessed. Having come from a family with a father in the military Starr learned at an early age the price one needed to pay to achieve success.

The book contains game details of the Packers' glory years in addition to the post-Lombardi years where Starr struggled both as a player and a coach. Tragedy strikes people in all walks of life and Starr experienced the loss of a son through drugs. The tragic loss of other family members by other teammates are related as well.

A devote family man Bart Starr always had time for others whether it was for signing autographs, a few minutes of conversation, or a worthy cause such as the Rawhide Boys Ranch. He was loved by the fans, but equally important, he loved them back. It was also refreshing to read a biography of a sports' hero that isn't laced with profanities. A previous biography of Bart Starr came out a few years ago, but it quoted too much from David Maraniss's book entitled "When Pride Still Mattered."

I did find one glaring misquote on page 250 where former coach Lombardi was in the Starr household outside of Green Bay in nearby DePere.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not a HUGE football fan, but I enjoy Dunnavant's books. They are not just for men, for they are much more than books about football. His latest one, which chronicles the life of my now hero Bart Starr, is a true story about love demonstrated in many ways. It is a true story about a great man. The youth of today would benefit from the inspirational life he has lived.
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Format: Hardcover
The story itself is good and quite informative re: Starr, the Packers, and history of NFL but not the best sports book I've ever read. While Pride Still Mattered is still one of my favorites.

The problem (and distraction) with this book is it has too many typos, misspelled words, and cliches. Future editions should be proofread and edited to a much higher degree.
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Format: Hardcover
Ho-lee cow. I just finished a doozy, one of the best sports books I have ever read, about a man so impressive as to be beyond belief, except it is all true: America's Quarterback: Bart Starr and the Rise of the National Football League by my friend and associate, Keith Dunnavant.

Dunnavant is one of this nation's best, most professional sports journalists. The author of a seminal Bear Bryant biography, a tremendous tome about the controversial, race-based 1966 national championship Alabama lost in a struggle with Notre Dame and Michigan State, in addition to his recent great ventures, CollegeFootballReplay.com and CrimsonReplay.com, Dunnavant cut his teeth with the L.A. Times, The National, the Birmingham Post-Herald and Adweek, among other successes, before launching his career as an author.

I found reading, and reviewing, America's Quarterback, to be a particularly timely and coincidental task for a number of reasons. First, my daughter Elizabeth, despite growing up in sunny Southern California, is a big-time Green Bay Packers fan. I finished the book just in time to give it to her as a Christmas present.

But more to the point professionally, Dunnavant and his book mirror me and my latest book, The Last Icon: Tom Seaver and His Times. In this I found profound comparisons worth noting. Dunnavant, like Starr, is a graduate of the University of Alabama. I, like Seaver, am a graduate of the University of Southern California. Both books are written by graduates of the subjects' alma mater, even though both subjects made their names as professionals wholly distinct from their collegiate careers.

Perhaps the most telling difference between Starr and Seaver can be found on page 310 of America's Quarterback.
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