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Tales from Behind the Steel Curtain Hardcover – September 1, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Wexell is a journalist who has contributed to publications like Pro Football Weekly, Game Day Magazine, Steelers Digest, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and is a lead writer for SteelCitySports.com. He also handles the Steelers beat for the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat and is a member of the Steelers Radio Network in a pregame, postgame, and draft-season capacity.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582615365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582615363
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,817,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Frank A. Verdecchia III on November 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Tales from the behind the Steel Curtain is a must read for Steelers fans who still bask in the glory of the 1970s as well younger fans who are interested in learning how the dynasty was built. Jim Wexell's book is written in short stories that makes it easy to read and thoroughly traces the 1979 season - the team's fourth Super Bowl title in an amazing six-year stretch - and the years prior. Some nuggets are how some Steelers scouts believed receiver Frank Lewis was better than Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, but was too shy to tell quarterback Terry Bradshaw to throw him the ball. Steelers coach Chuck Noll wanted to draft Stallworth - a small-college no name whom the team's scouts uncovered - in the first round of the 1974 draft, a draft landed the Steelers four Hall of Famers. It also focuses on the many unique personalities of the team's number of colorful characters, including Dwight White, L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, etc. It's truly a book that will put a smile on the face of any Steelers fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has a fast paced style in which he covers topics quickly and includes events and observations not strictly limited to the 79 Steelers. Not much depth on most subjects, however the Steelers poor drafting after the 74 bonanza is covered well (the 79 first round pick, Greg Hawthorne, had to resort to wearing pantyhose to avoid leg injuries later in his career w/Patriots, Wexell didn't metnion this). I like his writing style, covering so many players and topics make this a great book to reread in a couple of years.

Offensive lineman Steve Courson died when a tree fell on him in Nov 2005, his struggles with steriods-caused heart failure is mentioned here.

Chuck Noll's poor overall handling of Bradshaw is briefly mentioned, has been speculated they might have squeezed out one more Super Bowl win if Noll had been more responsive to the clinically depressed Bradshaw (his depression discussed in book). During the last half of the 80s Bradshaw said if he had been treated better he would not have retired after 83. Was surprised Lambert and others smoked.

Homeless, punch-drunk from football-related injuries to the head and dead from heart attack in his early 50s, Mike Webster,the workaholic center, barely mentioned. Defensive lineman Steve Furness also dead from a heart attack in his early 50s after being fired (and blacklisted?) by current Steeler Head Coach Cowher back in 94.

Even casual football fans, esp. in their 50s, will delight in this needed book.
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Format: Hardcover
The Steelers made their Curtain call on the NFL in 1979, and Jim Wexell's impressive, fast-moving chronicle of that season recalls the anecdotes (L.C. Greenwood's disdain for weight-lifting among the more interesting) while delivering a healthy amount of background on players you've long since forgotten about. Strengths are the candid interviews with the anonymous faces who ran the hugely successful drafts of the early 70s, explaining how they found guys like Stallworth and missed guys like Montana and Marino. Also, the quick-read vignette format is a big plus. Many players and coaches tell it like it was, but some obviously have been interviewed many times before and offer little here beyond cliched coachspeak. Weekly accounts of the games could be a bit beefier. But because it's such a fast read and contains so much background on long-forgotten role players, it belongs on the coffee table of anyone who lived and died with this team every Sunday in the '70s. Merits a 4.5-star rating, rounding up here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While not up to par with the 1974 Steelers classic by Roy Blount jr (few sports books are), Wexell writes an interesting, easy reading account of the 1979 Steelers season. As an older child in that year, 1979 is the season that I probably have the most memories of and nostalgic attachment to. Over the years (decades) I have read virtually every book published on the Steelers of that era and have encountered most of the familiar anecdotes a number of times. This book has a number of stories that I had not encountered before, and for that reason alone I would recommend it to Steelers fans. My only regret was that it ended too quickly.
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