It seems somehow fitting that the first pass Peyton Manning, the $48 million man, threw as a professional went for a touchdown. His father Archie Manning, in this team effort from two of football's more interesting quarterbacks, stresses that "My only hard rule [with his sons growing up] was that they finish what they start." Peyton, the All-American Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Tennessee, obviously listened to his All-American from Ole Miss father, whose strong right arm almost made the Saints competitive over 12 seasons in New Orleans.
Though both father and son get equal billing, this is really Archie's book, his story, and the story of his family that he wants to tell. He gets the first word and the last in this hybrid joint first-person memoir with chapter intros and structural transitions provided by Sports Illustrated veteran John Underwood. Like most sports biographies, it's rife with inspiration, decisions to be made, challenges to face (Peyton's older brother had to cut short his career when he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal spinal cord disease), tragedy faced (Archie's father killed himself while Archie was in college), and expectations exceeded. But it also has a lot of straight talk from Archie about family and football, and he's not above throwing a few penalty flags on the game. He's loud and clear on college recruiting abuses--as is Peyton. He worries about youth leagues putting pressures to succeed over fun in playing, hates all the taunting and celebrating in the NFL, and thinks there's just too darned much money and too little team loyalty in football's veins these days. The fire still smolders in his belly, and Manning is at its most interesting when he stokes up the flames. --Jeff Silverman
From Publishers Weekly
The Manning familyAArchie (All-American star quarterback who played for Ole Miss and later for the New Orleans Saints); his wife, Olivia (Archie's college sweetheart and homecoming queen); their sons Cooper (whose career ended with a diagnosis of spinal stenosis), Peyton (a former star quarterback for Tennessee whose determination has led the Indianapolis Colts to an incredible turnaround) and Eli (the even-tempered starting quarterback at Ole Miss)Ahas enjoyed a life of success and love based on faith, family and football. Archie and Olivia Manning raised their sons with the philosophy that "it's the right thing to do, so do the right thing." The result, which Archie and Peyton capture so clearly, is a tribute to the values Americans hold in high regard: work hard, stand up for what you believe in, treat each person with respect and be grateful for what you have and for what you have achieved. With the assistance of Underwood (Death of an American Game), the narrative seamlessly flows from Archie's voice to Peyton's as they discuss everything from the meaning of football and Archie's career ups and downs to raising three sons and the game they all play. Besides the celebrations, the Mannings also comment on life in the South ("The stereotyping is repulsive... both ways. All black men aren't noble, all white men aren't swine") and the flip side of fans' fervent partisanship (for example, the slew of hateful letters and calls Archie received when Peyton turned down Ole Miss). Whether or not one is a fan of the gridiron game, the Mannings' book makes for a terrific read about an all-American family.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.