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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game Hardcover – September 2, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. As he did so memorably for baseball in Moneyball, Lewis takes a statistical X-ray of the hidden substructure of football, outlining the invisible doings of unsung players that determine the outcome more than the showy exploits of point scorers. In his sketch of the gridiron arms race, first came the modern, meticulously choreographed passing offense, then the ferocious defensive pass rusher whose bone-crunching quarterback sacks demolished the best-laid passing game, and finally the rise of the left tackle—the offensive lineman tasked with protecting the quarterback from the pass rusher—whose presence is felt only through the game-deciding absence of said sacks. A rare creature combining 300 pounds of bulk with "the body control of a ballerina," the anonymous left tackle, Lewis notes, is now often a team's highest-paid player. Lewis fleshes this out with the colorful saga of left tackle prodigy Michael Oher. An intermittently homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by a rich white family and a Christian high school, Oher's preternatural size and agility soon has every college coach in the country courting him obsequiously. Combining a tour de force of sports analysis with a piquant ethnography of the South's pigskin mania, Lewis probes the fascinating question of whether football is a matter of brute force or subtle intellect. Photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
As in Moneyball (**** July/Aug 2003), which chronicled the strategies behind the Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, Berkeley-based author Michael Lewis takes a personal look at a complicated game in his newest nonfiction extravaganza. Just as they embraced Moneyball, critics eagerly wrap their arms around The Blind Side. It's much more than a treatise on football; it's an exploration of the limits of conventional thinking and how strategic changes affect the value of quick-footed behemoths. However, while most reviewers are positive, something holds them back. Maybe Lewis makes it all look too easy. Or perhaps, as The New York Times charges, he takes the easy route through a complicated set of stories. That he makes it easy for his reader to comprehendand enjoyis enough for most critics to give Lewis's latest a rousing cheer.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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The Blind Side is more of a book on the journey of Michael Oher from being a kid with very little in the way of a future other than crime and how he went to having a tremendous future through the efforts of a kind family and more importantly of himself. The author leads us through discussions on social injustice in an interesting and informative manner and being a non-American, I was surprised by some of the things that were written. Michael Lewis is very even-handed in his writings and proves to be a skilled story-teller.
This was made into a good movie and one can see why, there is tremendous evidence of the human spirit on display.
One mark of a good book is that it leaves the reader wanting more, and this one may be ripening for a sequel. What has happened to the Touhys? Did Leigh Anne get her wish for a building and a school for other promising athletes who can't cut it in public school? What is Michael Oher doing with his millions? What has happened to his mamma? His 13 siblings? I want to be on the waiting list for that sequel when Lewis thinks it's ready to be written. I am already on the waiting list for the DVD of the movie!
Born and raised in New Orleans before studying at Princeton and eventually trading bonds for Salomon Brothers, Lewis is a perfect candidate to tell this story because of his affection for the people of the American South. Although he goes into detail about the serious socioeconomic problems that divide up Memphis, and touches upon the shady dealings of college football recruiters, he shows us that the people associated with Briarcrest Christian School are huge-hearted people who love God and football and church, who treat their peers with respect and compassion. The Southern culture is completely different from the California bubble I've grown up in, yet I can't help but admire the Tuohy family, the athletic coaches, teachers, tutors, the principal, the social workers, and everyone else in the community who not only gave Michael a leg up but went the extra mile for their community in general, without any obvious personal gain.
Another incredible thing about this book, at least for me, was how cool it was when Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells and Nick Saban and Ed Orgeron made 'cameos' in the story, because these are people I would read about in the news or see making formal announcements at press conferences but never knew. So when Lewis writes about Saban's sharp suits and impeccable manners, Orgeron's barely intelligible drawl and nonstop enthusiasm, about a frustrated and disappointed Bill Walsh who couldn't even look into the eyes of his players on the flight home from a playoff loss, I was starry-eyed. These guys are celebrities to me, whom I admire for their passion and dedication to their craft.
Also, the occasional investment banking analogy was amusingly out of left field. Plus the book had a countless number of hilarious moments. These guys and gals may be serious business on the field and in the classroom, but they really know how to crack a joke or break the tension.
I watched the movie after reading the book and I was surprised at how accurate the filmmakers were at capturing the spirit of the people involved. For a casual movie fan, the film is enough, but if you like both the movie and football I cannot recommend this book enough.