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Season on the Brink Paperback – November 15, 1989


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Why is A Season on the Brink the bestselling sports book of all time? The answer is easy: Bobby Knight. Audaciously brilliant, exasperatingly volatile, and never boring, the Indiana University basketball coach is Greek drama and comedy neatly wrapped in a red sweater. Like all high-strung people, Knight is particularly interesting when things don't go according to his playbook. John Feinstein had the good fortune to follow Knight and his Hoosiers through a difficult 1985-86 campaign; that Feinstein could watch that season attached to Knight's hip gives A Season on the Brink its sights and its sounds. That such closeness allowed entry into Knight's heart gives the book its fury. The combination is irresistible.

From Publishers Weekly

Washington Post sportswriter Feinstein spent the 19851986 season with the Indiana Unversity basketball team. The season began under ominous circumstances because the 19841985 record had been a losing one, and its highlight (or, more accurately, nadir) had been coach Bob Knight's hurling a chair across the court in the Purdue game. His outbursts are central in this story, and it is not always clear when they are staged or if he is out of control. Feinstein writes that Knight believes in coaching through fear and, although those around him assert that he has learned to be more patient, he will not strike readers as noteworthy for his emotional control. So, despite his legendary loyalty to his friends and his acts of charity, Knight emerges here as an unlovely human being. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Sports Illustrated. (November
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (November 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671688774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671688776
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Feinstein spent years on the staff at the Washington Post, as well as writing for Sports Illustrated and the National Sports Daily. He is a commentator on NPRs "Morning Edition," a regular on ESPNs "The Sports Reporters" and a visiting professor of journalism at Duke University.His first book, A Season on the Brink, is the bestselling sports book of all time. His first book for younger readers, Last Shot, was a bestseller.

Customer Reviews

Great book - sports fans and basketball fans must read this.
Retesh D. Shah
My curiosity about Bobby Knight led me to "A Season On The Brink;" a book which describes the full 1985-86 season with Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers.
Irishgirl
A well written, interesting book about a complicated individual.
Brent Siegel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Irishgirl on June 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Growing up, all I knew about legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight was that he would rant and rave, throw chairs, get arrested, scream in his players' faces and snap at the media. During college, upon taking a class called "Moral Reasoning In Sport," I conducted research on Bobby Knight and got to know Bobby Knight as a person better. The ironic thing was that he stood for good morals but what he practiced as a coach boardered on the immoral at times. I saw how wonderful a man he could be and how badly he could cut a person down. I was fascinated by his style.

My curiosity about Bobby Knight led me to "A Season On The Brink;" a book which describes the full 1985-86 season with Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. Author John Feinstein, who trooped along with the team complete with notepad and tape recorder, crafts this book in amazing detail with all the trimmings. We are given a real life look at the pressures that college basketball can bring to both coach and players, the trials and tribulations. We are given a taste of how addictive competition is and the emotional effects it can have.

"A Season On The Brink" describes Bobby Knight in a way that begs you to love him and begs you to hate him. Passionate about not failing, Knight pressures himself to succeed and is quick to think himself a failure each time he does not reach certain goals. His characteristic short fuse is always there to represent this. After the disastrous 1984-85 season where he performed the legendary chair throw that got him in trouble, he vowed not to go through a repeat season in 1985-86. He constantly reminded his players of that terrible season as fuel for them to create a better season in '85-'86.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Ross on October 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
...an outstanding description of a year in the life of the maddeningly complex Robert Montgomery Knight. Using every motivational tool available to him (from psychological ploys, to unconditional compliments to incredibly painful and stressful drills), Knight drives the '86 Indiana Hoosiers relentlessly through a brutal Big Ten season.
With little in the way of athletic talent or height, Knight uses every approach he can devise to extract a moderately successful season from an underwhelming group of players. Knight coaxes, belittles, praises and drives the team forward with a style that is as unique as it is politically incorrect.
As an aside, I just read Jerry Kramer's _Instant Replay_ (his diary of the '67 Packers) and the parallels between Vince Lombardi and Knight are uncanny. In today's environment, it is unlikely that Lombardi would be allowed to coach in the same style he employed then.
Feinstein does a workmanlike job here, letting the subject and the cast of characters do the lion's share of the writing. Feinstein should thank Knight profusely for putting him on the map. For, as he has demonstrated in subsequent books, Knight made this book what it is: a precious historical perspective of a brilliant Coach in a bygone era.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
Feinstein received Coach Knight's permission to have almost total access to the Indiana University basketball program during the 1985-86 season. By then, Feinstein had earned and deserved his reputation as a first-rate journalist. Presumably that was one of the major reasons why Knight was agreeable. Later, Knight was very displeased with the book based on that season. (I am reminded of what Harry S Truman once said when someone urged him to "give 'em hell" during the 1948 Presidential campaign. "I just tell them the truth and they think it's hell.") Two points seem especially important to me as a controversy about A Season on the Brink continues: This is Feinstein's account of what he observed and experienced; also. Knight and everyone else involved (including Feinstein) are entitled to their own opinion as to how accurate (if not "fair") that account is. My own opinion is that prior to and then following the 1985-86 season, Knight's behavior (including public statements) suggests that Feinstein's account is mostly credible. Since his playing days at Ohio State and then coaching at the United States Military Academy, Knight left no doubt that he was an intense competitor who loved the game with passion and studied it with intensity. He arrived at Indiana University a known quantity and was remarkably consistent (for better or worse) throughout the years he coached there.
For every person who views Knight's values with contempt, there is probably someone else who admires those same values. He is obviously a complicated person. Also, as he himself has frequently conceded, he can be contradictory. (Years before the 1985-86 season, Knight observed "I don't agree with everything I do.") Many of the players whom he verbally abused the most were later treated with exceptional kindness and generosity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luke Johnson on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
"A Season on the Brink"
A Season on the Brink, was a great book. This book was about a coaching legend. Bob Knight, is described by many sport fans as one of the best coaches of all time. This is not just a plain old book. This book is about a coach walking between extreme madness and a complete genius.
In August of 1984, Bob Knight of Indiana University, lead the U.S Olympic basketball team to the gold medal. At that time, this was a master achievement to add to his two NCAA tournament championships. Many coaches to this day have not accomplished anything like this.
In February of 1985, Bob Knight's sees glimpses of his career coming to an end. His team is struggling dramatically. The Hoosier supporters are curious to what is happening to their Indiana program. Now Knight is known to go a little haywire, so anything is possible. In February of 1985, Bobby Knight throws a chair across the floor as a Purdue player is preparing to take foul shots. A little haywire is absurd! This is something that one would watch in a hockey game, not a NCAA Basketball game. Knight was suspended for only one game after reacting like he did. After ending that season, Knight was to where sky was the limit, to rock bottom! Knight also knew if another season like this was to occur, that his career was on the edge. Entering the 1985-86 season, would be a season on the brink.
Bobby Knight had been preaching his team that they needed to get into position to be in position. The Hoosiers were 2-2 in the Big Ten. Their next game was at home, against the Ohio State Buckeyes. This was a deciding game for the Indiana Hoosiers. This would give them a chance to be in the run for the Big Ten race.
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