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A Behind the Scenes Look with Some Irritating Quirks
on November 12, 2008
Harris does a really nice job of telling how Walsh's timing passing game and West Coast offense - the corrollaries and descendants of which are on display in every game every weekend in the NFL of today - "reinvented" football and created the 49ers 80's dynasty.
While I think the book offers a lot more for the 49er fan than the general NFL fan, the story of Walsh's rise, the development of his philosophy, his early NFL career as an assistant, his college work, his unlikely rise to Head Coach and GM of the 49ers without an NFL win on his resume and the circumstances that saw him bring together the talent and oversee the Montana/Craig/Lott/Rice 49ers run of Super Bowls are all interesting enough to hold interest.
There is a lot of Walsh's own voice coming through in the book, and that makes you wonder about the author's motives in book entitled "The Genius," where there was clearly a lot of reliance on subject-generated info.
Also, Harris has a habit of not identifying other sources -- even quoted sources -- by name. He'll call someone "a 49er lineman" or "one of Walsh's teammates," and it just seems a little strange.
Like "Patriot Reign," or the library of Yankee books out there, this book is probably a real winner for fans of the team. All in all, I don't think there is enough other info on Walsh or NFL/football philosophy here to merit much more than a so-so rating.
In other words, I don't think this is football's "Moneyball," a book that takes any fan of the sport behind the curtain to get a look at the industry, and which tells a personal story in a compelling enough story to hold interest.