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Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes: The Definitive Oral History of America's Team Hardcover – August, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Here is a book that will appeal to all football fans and Dallas Cowboys fans in particular, since it recounts the glory of the team in considerable detail; Cowboys haters may enjoy it, too, because the author and those interviewed do not hesitate to discuss negative things about the team that have been made familiar through the media. The mystique about the Cowboys, embodied in the phrase "America's Team," is reflected by huge sales of team logo items around the country and multiple appearances on national television. Golenbock (Wild, High, and Tight, LJ 1/94) has been able to talk to many of the "movers and shakers" from the Cowboys but aparently was unable to interview Don Meredith and Jimmy Johnson, which leaves some gaps. The coverage is somewhat uneven, as the early years are relived in great detail, but more recent seasons are skimmed over lightly. In sum, though, this is a fascinating, highly readable look at pro football and the team you either love or hate. Recommended for public libraries.?William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The NFL's Dallas Cowboys, self-proclaimed America's team, has lost some of its luster recently--amid sex and drug scandals--but the franchise remains one of sports' greatest success stories. Best-selling sports author Golenbock presents the Cowboy saga in a massive oral history. In the words of key players such as Roger Staubach, Pete Gent, Lee Roy Jordan, and Mel Renfro, we hear behind-the-scenes reflections on both early struggles and later triumphs. The consistent themes are head coach Tom Landry's martinet style; general manager Tex Schramm's penurious approach to salaries; and the franchise's everyone's-replaceable attitude toward even its best players. Especially entertaining are Golen-bock's re-creations of the monumental clashes between the staunchly conservative, God-fearing Landry and many of his pot-smoking, hedonistic players. For all the great football stories related here, there remain some major gaps: too many key participants are ignored; the Landry interview is too brief and very superficial; current NFL coaches Mike Ditka and Dan Reeves, who both played and coached for Landry, are not interviewed; and, finally, the history of the team since Jerry Jones took over in 1988 is related via third-person sources. Without access to current players or coaches, Golenbock should have ended the book with Landry's dismissal. Like the Cowboys themselves, though, the book may be flawed, but it will still draw a crowd. Wes Lukowsky
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 838 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Edition edition (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446519502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446519502
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,265,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Review: Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes

Golenbock, Peter. Cowboys Have Always Been My Heroes: The Definitive Oral History of America's Team. NY: Warner Books. 1997 838p, illus. $27.00 ISBN 0-446-51950-2

This massive tome (838 pages) is written by a baseball fan from New York now living in Florida! At a recent booksigning, I asked Golenbock why write a history of the Cowboys. He said he had always been a Cowboys fan because they were to pro football what his beloved Yankees were to major league baseball.

When asked if he included material on the current Cowboys, he admitted he threw in a few chapters to attract current fans. But make no mistake: this book is about the Landry/Schramm Cowboys. The Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer chapters read like the after-thoughts they are.

The strength of the book is the coverage of the early Cowboys from 1960 to 1979. Golenbock mixes original interviews with quotes from secondary sources to weave an "up-close and personal" look at players such as Don Meredith, Don Perkins and Pete Gent. In fact, Golenbock relies far too much on Gent. E.g., Gent (who was released after the '68 season) opines at length on the troubles between Coach Tom Landry and RB phenom Duane Thomas between during the '70 and '71 seasons. Golenbock never explains just how Gent (three years removed from the team) had any insight into the Thomas fiasco.

Meredith did not grant Golenbock an interview, which is unfortunate. Cowboy fans no doubt would have benefited from Meredith's views and insights on the very early Cowboys and his oftentimes rocky relationship with coach and taskmaster Tom Landry. The one impression that stayed with me from this book was how cold and impersonal Landry was with his players.
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent book. Golenbock's style of having the players say what happened while he sets the outline is one of the reasons I love this book. The insights the players give about Landry and Schramm are eye-opening. The palyers themselves in the early 1970's didn't want to be called "America's Team", they thought it was too arrogent (and they were right). Schramm was the one who liked it. That's just one of the many insignts you get from this book along with the aspects of racism, the salary disputes, and how the social evironment changed and the players evovled. The only drawback is if you are a current Cowboys fan and only care about the last few years, you're going to be dissapointed because about 75% of this book deals with the first two decades.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My original copy of this book was loaned out an never returned to me, so I needed (yes, needed having remembered how excellent this book is) to get another copy prior to the NFC playoff game this past season of the Cowboys at Green Bay.

This book is one of the, if not the best, documentary books I have read. The writing style consisting of pure statements from the actual people involved is outstanding.
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Format: Hardcover
Any one who is a true football fan should read this book. It is realistic, surprising and sometimes shocking in its revelations of the inner feelings of the players during the early years of the Dallas Cowboys. It is written without taking sides; relating the men, their emotions and their relationships with fellow players in factual, graphic terms. You cannot read this and feel the same way you did before about America's Team. The only parts missing are the Cowboys who didn't want to tell their side such as "Dandy Don". These missing voices create a silence in the telling of the whole story. Still, one can relate to the events and emotions that shaped the Cowboys and that generation of Americans. 4.5 STARS
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I enjoyed reading this book. I have been a Cowboys fan since the early 80's and the Danny White era. I was able to read the deep history of the team from the expansion in 1960 to the Superbowl runs of the 90s (although a large portion of the book is dedicated to the 60s and 70s). I am no critic but thought it was a very good long read. Mr. Golenbock explains the much talked about rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins and why they love each other so much. That in itself was entertaining and surprising. A must read for any Cowboys fan in search of the history of their team.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought the Landry era was covered very well. But once the author got to the post Landry era, he seemed to wing and rush through it with very few interviews of players from that era. So once he gets to the Jones/Johnson era the detail and players insights plummet and I was left feeling that the last 1/3 of the book was no where as interesting as the part before it. I think I would have been left with a higher impression of this book if the author had ended the book after his great coverage of the Landry era.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Especially of the teams and players in the Don Meredith era. An intimate and unvarnished look at the players and the organization that ultimately created what was to become one of the most celebrated franchises in professional sports. Highly recommended.

PS Should be read with Pete Gent's North Dallas Forty.
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