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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.
The divided opinion about Namath seems driven as much by its subject as by its author. Critics extol the coverage of Namaths early career, but when the story turns post-football, many reviewers flinch. It is as if they cant 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 ESPNs sideline reporter Suzy Kolber that he wanted to kiss her). Kriegel, a former sports reporter, goes heavy on play-by-play breakdownstoo heavy by some accountsbut 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 horses mouth (and full of that hubris of youth), check out Namaths autobiography, I Cant 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.See all Editorial Reviews
Most everybody knows “Broadway Joe.” Few really know Joe Namath. Mark Kriegel’s wonderful biography illuminates both sides of the legendary New York Jets quarterback, penetrating... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Brian Brockmeyer
Everything you always wanted to know about Joe Willie, but didn't know where to ask.Published 7 months ago by bigwalt
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Football fans of all levels, from casual to hard-core, have heard of Joe Namath in some way. Read more
Very good and overall interesting reading. Shows the ups and downs.Published 10 months ago by Zelko Cavlovic
Joe Willie I love him!!!!!
This is the HBO Special in writing, I love him and loved the book,
Meant to give it 4 and a half stars but wasn't sure how to do that...enjoyed it, good read!Published 12 months ago by Beau Murphree