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Namath: A Biography Paperback – July 26, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035350
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Avoiding the pitfalls of mythology while telling a larger-than-life story is never easy, but Kriegel does it grandly in this landmark portrait of the 1960s icon. From the segregated South to the era of showbiz sports, Namath has a Forrest Gump-like way of being there. All the important athletic moments are here, elegantly told: his hardscrabble western Pennsylvania upbringing; his unlikely pairing with Bear Bryant; his arrival in New York as a hard-partying, money-making star and, of course, the win in Super Bowl III. Namath comes off as both throwback (he played through unbearable pain) and hypermodern (40 years ago, he was already getting paid to wear certain brands of clothing). But to write of the first media-age sports star is to tell not just of an athlete but the changing nature of celebrity and society in the '60s-that is, the story of modern America-and the author manages the elusive trick of illuminating setting as much as subject. He documents how sports became both big business and pop culture through savvy TV deals and the merchandising of stars. If Namath feels like a distant figure, more statue around whom society scrambled to adjust itself than active change seeker, that's because Kriegel convinces us he was-a figure both epic and accidental in a world revolving too fast for one person to control. Kriegel has written a remarkable book: a feel-good sports story still abundant withinsight and social commentary.
Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Bookmarks Magazine

The divided opinion about Namath seems driven as much by its subject as by its author. Critics extol the coverage of Namath’s early career, but when the story turns post-football, many reviewers flinch. It is as if they can’t reconcile their memories of Broadway Joe with the drunken, luckless-in-love man he became (sadly demonstrated last year on live television when an inebriated Namath twice told ESPN’s sideline reporter Suzy Kolber that he wanted to kiss her). Kriegel, a former sports reporter, goes heavy on play-by-play breakdowns—too heavy by some accounts—but also captures the emergence of the American Football League as a competitive force. Told without the participation of Namath (who reportedly wanted compensation and creative control), the author offers a compassionate ear to this difficult tale. For one straight from the horse’s mouth (and full of that hubris of youth), check out Namath’s autobiography, I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow ‘Cause I Get Better Looking Every Day (1969).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Mark Kriegel, a former sports columnist for the New York Daily News, is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Namath: A Biography. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his daughter, Holiday.

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately Debora wants more than to be Mrs. Namath and wants to be an actress.
Thomas Erickson
As I read the book, I imagined how one could write a comparable biography about Madonna and how she has reinvented herself to continue to be a celebrity.
Donald Mitchell
This book helped me to see the whole picture of the life of Joe Namath; a very private man living a very public life.
R. Gandy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By mcsidious on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a New York Jets fan, which means that my life on Sundays usually sucks. There have been a few exceptions, such as the Jets' charge to the AFC Championship game and the Monday Night Miracle against the Dolphins, both of which were led by the much-maligned Vinny Testaverde, but mostly my memory of Gang Green has been of Rich (f%!@$&*) Kotite and of Chad Pennington's rotator cuff. However, I have been constantly reminded of the days when the Jets whipped up on everyone and their quarterback was the mythical Broadway Joe Namath, when the overrated Balitmore Colts were embarassed by a guy who guaranteed he'd beat them. So when I saw "Namath" on the shelf, I had to buy it.

I don't read many sports biographies, but in every regard "Namath" stands out as a compelling book that is shocking and emotionally jarring all at once. Mark Kriegel does much to wreck the mythical stature of Broadway Joe, but in doing so he presents a depiction of Ol' Joe Namath that most football fans have never considered. Above all, he impresses upon the reader that although Joe did not have jaw-dropping statistics as a quarterback, his impact on the NFL has been unparalleled - *nobody* influenced the entertainment machine that is the NFL more than Namath.

I grew up in the era of Marino and Montana and all the god-like 80s quarterbacks (heck, I think to this day that even Bernie Kosar was a killer QB), so I heard little about Namath until I became a Jets fan. First I heard about the Guarantee (which, as Kriegel writes, didn't make many headlines at the time - Namath had said many things equally as shocking), then I heard about the Booze and Broads.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Baird Jones on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What I enjoyed the most about Namath by Mark Kriegel was the way the author wove not just the sports play by play aspects of the Namath story, just enough to give a real memory lane feel to the games, but also that sense of the 60s and 70s mood, the sports bars, the Fu Manchu, the swinging Upper Eastside, the competition with Frank Sinatra, the attempts to make it in show biz, and the strange marriage to a woman who seemed to change her first name with the seasons, and the whole alcoholic decline. There are so many stories to Namath and Kriegel moves them along in a fantastically readable way. I just could not put the book down. I ended up actually wishing each section had been much longer but at 441 pages with a significant footnote section obviously Kriegel could not have done more. This is a terrific book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book and it takes you through Joe's entire life past his Suzy Kolber interview. Few sports biographies do that. Like Paul Hornung Joe serves as an alter ego for guys who wish they could have had Joe's life in their younger days. I wish that there would have been more pictures of Joe's serious girl friends (there were several), as only Susie Storm & his wife Deborah are pictured in the book. It would have been nice if they were some pictures of where Joe had lived.

You always wonder how playboys will adapt to the married life, as they always get married. Paul & Joe lasted longer than most playboys. Joe said that he only wanted to get married once, and wanted to get his running around out of his system before he settled down. Although his drinking was a problem, he proved to be an otherwise excellent husband and outstanding father. His drinking wasn't what caused his divorce. Unfortunately in Deborah Joe married someone who wanted her own life and wanted to have some success in life. When you marry at 21, you haven't had that opportunity and that was a problem. Joe was so smitten with her that he couldn't see that in her personality before they were married. In retrospect it may have been better if Deborah never married or married much later in life after she had achieved some success in her chosen field. She also was in astrology. Deborah was probably too dominating and also wanted to remake or shape Joe's life and that's never good. That didn't seem to bother Joe and wasn't the cause of the divorce either, although it does give you some insight to Deborah's personality. Another interesting side note about Deborah's family is that her brother died or came up missing while he was suspected to be on a drug run.

As the author pointed out Joe lived off his past but didn't want to live in his past. Joe was like Joe Dimaggio in that respect. Joe did very well financially in his post playing career.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William G. Lawrence on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark Kriegel has given the sports world a wonderful biography of a very interesting subject. He has also replayed an interesting time in our pop-culture history that made me a little nostolgic and at the same time, reminded me that the late sixties and early seventies were a little more complex than some of us care to remember.

I mean to say that he shows Namath paying the price for every moment of hedonism and that Joe's easy swagger had a lot to do with intense over medication of all sorts. I always sensed that there was more to Joe than natural talent and charm and we see that in these pages. He was incredibly competitive and seen as a winner throughout his career. Yet the Jets he quarterbacked had only three winning seasons in twelve years.

Some of the most telling passages come toward the end of the book, when Kriegel lists the number of times Joe was simply not there for his friends and when he, in effect, abandonned his Jet teamates. I truly felt compassion for a guy who wanted so badly to be a good family man and when Joe confesses to having embarrassed his daughters and the rest of his family, it seems heartfelt and you have to hurt for him a little.

This is no fluff piece and Joe comes across at times as being the grown up example of every kid who has ever been told that being talented in sports is good enough and nothing else is required. Joe's high school coach takes a lot of credit for everything good that ever happened to him, but I wonder if he would be willing to accept a little responsibility for the pain that the guy has experienced in his life.
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