From Publishers Weekly
In his latest effort, Pearlman (The Bad Guys Won!
) tells the story of how the Dallas Cowboys went from being a league doormat to a Super Bowl–winning machine. It's the cast of characters that makes this story a page-turner, starting with controlling owner Jerry Jones; all-business coach Jimmy Johnson, who would cut a player without blinking; and star players Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders. Pearlman explores the many other people who bought into the philosophy that if you were going to be a Dallas Cowboy... you needed to live the life—and that meant, in the early '90s, plenty of infidelity, cocaine, nightly trips to gentleman's clubs and hangovers at practice. Pearlman interviewed nearly 150 members of the Cowboys organization for the book, but much of the terrific detail comes from such tangential folks as journalists, players' wives and staff at the local Cowboys restaurant. The anecdotes range from uplifting (the heartwarming story of quarterback Troy Aikman granting a wish to a dying boy) to raunchy (defensive end Chris Haley, while playing for the 49ers, often masturbated in the locker room). In the end, Pearlman has produced a narrative that is as entertaining as it is insightful. (Sept.)
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In February 1989, Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys, immediately fired the iconic Tom Landry, and hired Jimmy Johnson from the collegiate ranks. The team would end the 1989 season with the worst record in the league. In a city that lives and breathes the Cowboys, the natives were restless. But in short order all was right in Big D as the team, led by future Hall-of-Famers Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, and Emmitt Smith, won three Super Bowls in four years. The on-field success was paralleled by off-field excess. Drugs, strip clubs, orgies, fights, marital infidelities, and, finally, one player stabbing another in the neck with scissors. Pearlman, who seems to revel in the seamy side of sports—his The Bad Guys Won! (2004) was an account of the equally lecherous 1986 New York Mets—interviewed players, coaches, and others while also plumbing print sources. Yes, he dishes the dirt, but he also catches the team dynamic that fostered success as well as the infighting that led to disaster. Informative as well as titillating. --Wes Lukowsky