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Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream [Kindle Edition]

H.G. Bissinger
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (445 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Return once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa--the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires--and sometimes shatters--the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Secular religions are fascinating in the devotion and zealousness they breed, and in Texas, high school football has its own rabid hold over the faithful. H.G. Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, enters into the spirit of one of its most fervent shrines: Odessa, a city in decline in the desert of West Texas, where the Permian High School Panthers have managed to compile the winningest record in state annals. Indeed, as this breathtaking examination of the town, the team, its coaches, and its young players chronicles, the team, for better and for worse, is the town; the communal health and self-image of the latter is directly linked to the on-field success of the former. The 1988 season, the one Friday Night Lights recounts, was not one of the Panthers' best. The game's effect on the community--and the players--was explosive. Written with great style and passion, Friday Night Lights offers an American snapshot in deep focus; the picture is not always pretty, but the image is hard to forget.

From Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bissinger spent 1988 in Odessa, Tex., a town obsessed with its champion high-school football team, the Permian Panthers. PW called this a "superb, if disquieting, portrait of heartland America."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 876 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 1, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EMNSJ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly incredible read February 18, 2000
Format:Paperback
I finally got around to reading this book just recently; I wish I had read it when it came out in 1990. "Buzz" Bissinger pulls no punches in telling it like it is, how a high school football team can be the main rallying point of an otherwise isolated community, several hundred miles from the nearest large metropolitan area; a community whose residents are deeply religious, God-fearing, and shamelessly prejudiced and intolerant of non-whites.
I remember the controversy this book caused shortly after its release. Having read it, I now understand why: In a community where there's otherwise "nothing to do," a local high school football team can unite people of all races, incomes, cultures, etc. I should know: I used to live in Lubbock, not too far from Odessa; the townfolks share the same conservative beliefs and euphoric passion for football. Bissinger's metaphor-rich style of writing really made me feel as if I was back in West Texas. The similarity of the two cities was uncanny. I began to read in search of something startling and controversial; instead it brought back a lot of memories. As I learned, the people of Odessa and Lubbock are strikingly similar (except Lubbock also has collegiate football, from Texas Tech University, to root for, as well as a few local high schools). I found Bissinger's descriptions totally accurate, if not downright eerie.
In the end, I couldn't help but feel for the 17- and 18-year-olds who had to endure the pressure to produce one victory after another, and the supporters' shameless win-or-else attitude. Bissinger's ability to empathize with America's appetite and obsession for winning really drove home the point. When I finished reading it, I cried. This book was THAT soul-stirring.
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147 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story. Author With A Death Wish ? September 13, 2002
Format:Paperback
In 1970, having won district and bi-district championships, my high school football team played the Odessa Permian Panthers for the regional crown -- and they creamed us. Most frightening was the crowd that came to Abilene from Odessa to watch the game. They wore solid black (Panther colors) and they were FANATICS. When the Panther band spelled "MOJO" on the field (I'd never encountered that term before) they went absolutely NUTS.
I finally understood the program a little better after reading Friday Night Lights, a terrific examination of the semi-pathological football infatuation in Odessa. And I can't believe the author would ever return there, if he valued his life, because he certainly did not paint a flattering picture. This book is WELL worth reading. Everyone who ever went to high school will glean something valuable from it.
Most touching and telling, I thought, was the scene at the end of the book, after the season had ended, wherein the coach took down the slips of paper showing the names of the seniors who were on the team that year, and unceremoniously dumped them into the trash can. That metaphorically demonstrated the entire town's ethos toward its high school football heroes. After they no longer played for the team, they were just plain trash like everyone else.
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100 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the finest sports chronicles ever July 7, 2004
Format:Paperback
When I first picked up this book, on my lunch break, I arbitrarily flipped to a page in the middle and started reading. I became so engrossed in it that I was late getting back to work from my lunch break. Such is the superb quality of writing that Bissinger brings to this book.
Friday Night Lights is about the Permian High School Panthers football team in the 1988 season. In Odessa, TX, they only "have two things - football and oil, and there ain't no more oil." Carried on the adolescent shoulders of the black-clad Panthers are the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and societal well-being of an entire community. The book focuses on the intense scrutiny and pressure placed on the players, coaches, and even families associated with the program. After a tough loss, the head coach can expect to have his house vandalized, his family verbally assaulted, and calls made for his firing. The student population of Permian is predominantly white, but the few black players imported from Odessa's poor, mostly black, south side are some of the team's most successful players. The book highlights the contrast in the white, wealthy suburban area Permian is located in against the older section of Odessa, populated mostly by blacks and Hispanics.
The book also profiles several of the team's star players. Some live for every single moment they can wear the Panthers uniform, while others are conflicted at having to play in such a pressure-cooker environment. Some are the lucky sons of Odessa's richest residents, bound for Ivy-League schools, while others come from painful poverty and broken homes. Odessa is portrayed as an entire city of broken dreams, devastated by the downturn in the oil industry where unemployment is high and crime higher. What holds the community together is the Friday Night Lights at Ratliff Stadium, where the Panthers do battle not only for team and school pride, but for the pride of an entire community and people. I cannot recommend this book more highly.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a three year member and starter of the varsity squad of my High School in Chesapeake Virginia, the stories from this book were all too familiar. The small Virginia town in which I played was similiar to that of Odessa, Canton, Penn Hills, and others across the country where High School football is the main focus of attention and entertainment. This book made me think back to all of the great times I had, the great friends I made, and the many memories that I will never forget. Bissinger brought out the many "behind the scenes" views of the sport. All the problems and events that happen in the Permian locker room, coaches office, halls, classrooms, and in the lives of the players, occur everyday in schools everywhere.
On the bus ride home from the very last game of my senior year..a tough last minute loss, giving our school its first losing record in 25 years at 4-6. I thought about the two state championships we won in the two years before, and why it had to end like it did, and I thought about the blood, sweat, and tears that we have all spilled on the playing fields. As we pulled away I realized that I'd probably never step onto a football field to play again and that these days are now behind me forever. Then, like so many of the seniors on the bus with me, and the thousands more around the country...I cried.
I sometimes forget why I played football in high school. Three years after my final game I bought this book and read it. It then became all clear to me, and I recalled why I played. I laughed a little, and maybe even cried a little, and you will too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, exciting, and sad
This book really knocked me over. At first, I was a little put by some of the non-football related information, but as I read on I realized the author was painting a complete... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ryder
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story I will recomend.
Published 17 days ago by Felipe Resendez
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Odessa and their Team
Friday Night Lights is a non-fiction book about the small town of Odessa, Texas and their high school Permian. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary Ann Moorehead
5.0 out of 5 stars Like high-school football in West Texas, the institution of FRIDAY...
Even the passage of 25 years since its initial publication has not dulled the excellence of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, in which author H.G. Read more
Published 1 month ago by El Kabong
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story about high school football and life in small town...
A wonderfully written true tale about small town USA and our fanatism with football. A good look into the often forgotten brutality of the sport both emotionally and physically... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Indyal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
School assignment
Published 2 months ago by Ann L. Elliott
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
GOOD
Published 2 months ago by Jose Luis Fuentes
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't enjoy it as much as I probably would have had ...
The book was interesting, but as I was already addicted to the television series, I didn't enjoy it as much as I probably would have had I read the book first.
Published 2 months ago by A. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good!
Published 2 months ago by Laurie A. Novy
5.0 out of 5 stars Read under friday's nightlights.
Haven't finished the book yet, but its been a great read so far. Also, the quality of the used book was nothing but exceptional.
Published 2 months ago by Bryce Betts
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Why does this say available when not?
I am also confused about this. I see the initial post was from March '08... is the book in the process of being released for Kindle?
Dec 26, 2008 by Kevin A. Howard |  See all 2 posts
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