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When Pride Still Mattered: The Life of Vince Lombardi Hardcover – 7 Oct 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 541 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (7 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684844184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684844183
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.4 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

David Halberstam

David Maraniss, one of America's most distinguished writers, has followed up his brilliant biography of Bill Clinton with a remarkable portrait of Vince Lombardi, a man as different from Clinton as it is possible to be. This is not just a book about sports or about a football coach. "When Pride Still Mattered" is an exceptionally well-written, thoughtful, and fair-minded portrait of one of the most important -- and compelling -- figures in modern American popular culture, and of the profound changes taking place in our society.

About the Author

Born in Detroit, David Maraniss is an associate editor at "The Washington Post". Maraniss is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and bestselling author of "Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story"; "First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton"; "Rome 1960: The Olympics that Stirred the World;" "Barack Obama: The Story"; "Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball s Last Hero"; "They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967"; and" When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi", which was hailed by "Sports Illustrated" as maybe the best sports biography ever published. He lives in Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came to David Maraniss' _When Pride Still Mattered_ a big fan of Vince Lombardi's, and I left it the same way. At first the book's condescension toward Lombardi bothered me; but by the time I finished I realized that it didn't matter if Maraniss never "got" Lombardi -- as he certainly never got American football. Maraniss notes in his foreword that the title is meant ironically -- which will be news to thousands who bought the book because Lombardi's name and picture were on the cover, and because they mourn the loss of a time when pride did, indeed, matter.
The modern urge to deconstruct is unnervingly present in the first few chapters of _WPSM_, as Maraniss traces Lombardi's unbending pursuit of victory to everything from his father's Elmer Gantryesque tattooed knuckles ("WORK and PLAY") to the philosophical musings of St. Ignatius. As someone who has personally experienced the contradictions of football -- of losing the self in the expression of eleven wills striving for perfection, thereby paradoxically achieving great personal satisfaction and, yes, self-expression -- I have always been perfectly happy taking Lombardi at face value. Why yes -- you DO have to pay the price to achieve success, as Lombardi's great mentor Earl "Red" Blaik liked to say. And indeed, fatigue DOES make cowards of us all, which drove Lombardi to push his players to the edge of physical exhaustion -- but in pursuit of physical excellence, not as an exercise in sadism.
Maraniss ...subtly inserting questions about Lombardi's character and intelligence, not once but throughout the book...
Having read Maraniss' other modern biography, _First in His Class_, it is apparent that Maraniss understands Bill Clinton in ways that he can never understand Lombardi.
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Format: Hardcover
David Maraniss has written an intelligent account about one of America's sporting legends.His words do not eulogise the subject,rather placing into context the personality traits of Vince which some people may not have approved of.This makes for a truly engrossing read with insights into an era sadly lost.
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By A Customer on 11 May 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a valuable book in understanding a particular cultural mileau in sport. Maraniss does not insult the reader by making analogy to the current day trends in sport, but places in context the rise of the "professional", the role of the agent, the changing nature of sports journalism, the nature of leadership and the role of the fan. To enjoy the book it's not essential, but it is useful, to know something about the American Football game.
My frustration with the book was in the structural assymetry. Maraniss elegantly pilots the reader through the early years of Lombardi and the unique convergence of events and personalities that made the Packers the greatest team of their era. Lombardi was one, but not the only factor, in this phenomenen and some of the cameo actors are thoughghtfully introduced. The book ends though with a funeral and makes no attempt to track the longer range impact that Lombardi and the Packers had on the development of the American Football or the culture of sport in general. The reader may be left with the frustration that the story is only half written.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a brilliantly written biography, which does not fall into the trap of sycophantism. As a subject, Lombardi shows a level of stoic dedication which is admirable, but also his various weaknesses and struggles are also laid bare, so that the reader does not become disheartened by being presented with perfect superhero image. Anyone who wants to achieve anything could benefit from reading this.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an honest assessment of Lombardi and the price paid by both himself and his family for his career. It is also a very clear history of those crucial early years for the Pack and the emergence of the NFL. Very well researched and presented.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an exceptionally well written biography of not only (probably) the greatest (American) football coach of all time but of an interesting, multi-faceted and ultimately flawed man.

Whether it be Lombardi growing up in a large New York - Italian family, his Jesuit based education, his relatively underwhelming playing career at Fordham, being passed over for jobs, his experience working with the legendary Red Blaik at Army or his famous double act with Tom Landry at the Giants, Maraniss is able to weave together a convincing picture of the influences and occurrences affecting Lombardi that, along with ferocious determination and commitment to hard work, motivational genius and capacity to learn, helped mould him into the man who was able to transform the Green Bay Packers from a moribund small town team tottering toward oblivion into the most succesful NFL team in history.

Maraniss, while sympathetic to Lombardi, does not whitewash his life nor shy away from seeking sometimes uncomfortable truths both about Lombardi - his volatile temper, his tendency to take things extremely personally, his willingness to go back on his word and distance as a father and husband - and the age in which he lived and worked and which has been subject to unfortunate mythologising and gilding as commentators look back through the lens of history to a time when men were still men and "pride still mattered".
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