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on 5 May 2017
Another great book from ML
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on 18 March 2017
Another excellent Michael Lewis book and an interesting read regardless of whether you're an NFL fan.
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2017
This is a good book and almost a modern-day parable about the racially divided country that America remains (even pre-Trump). I actually think it's slightly too long. Although it's a great story. it just feels padded to be book length. It would be good to have an update to include M Oher's NFL career.
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on 28 July 2017
This was a really good read both from the human side and sporting success from adversity standpoint. I had seen the film some time ago but this book goes into so much more detail and had me looking for more books of a similar nature. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 1 May 2009
I'm a huge football fan but actually don't read that many books which are football related. Normally they are the usual ghost written ramblings of some former player or coach which have the odd interesting after dinner type anecdote but generally are very formulaic.

Not this book.

I was attracted to it from some word of mouth recommendation. Really glad I bought it.

Gives some really interesting back ground on the evolution of the passing game, o-line play and blind side pass rush in the NFL. Also gives some insite into the College recruiting process. Which is good if you are a football fan.

But more than that it tells a fascinating human interest story of a poor black kid from New Orleans with a drug and alcohol addicted dead beat mother, multiple brothers and sisters from various absent fathers and zero education. This kid just happend to be 6-5 and weigh 300+ lbs at age 14 and have great athletic ability.

Taken in by a rich white family who support him through high school this story tells of his journey adapting to a middle class upbringing, his education and of course the development of his footbal career.

As a postscript the book ends with him being recruited to Ole Miss a Division 1 College football programme on a full scholarship. He was just drafted to the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens with the 20th overall pick in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL draft.

Great story.
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on 15 July 2017
Loved it for the personal story and the technical information of American Football. The insight into the black experience in inner city life and the importance of sport as an escape route out of the ghetto.
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on 29 May 2017
Good insight into Michael Oher and what may not have been if lady luck did not intervene in his life.
A super bowl winner, but one feels the potential outlined in the book has not been fully realised
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 January 2007
Since I'd greatly enjoyed Lewis' baseball book "Moneyball", I figured this would make a nice companion to read during the NFL playoffs. The book's subtitle is "Evolution of a Game", so I expected a somewhat similar book looking at the transformations underway in professional football. And to a certain degree, that content is there, via a brief discussion of the rise of the passing game and Bill Walsh's crucial role in this, as well as Lawrence Taylor's impact on the game. The book opens with a blow-by-blow of LT's famous leg-snapping sack of Joe Theisman -- an event I vividly recall watching on TV as a 12-year-old Redskins fan. This leads off the discussion of role of the left tackle and this position's counterintuitive rise in the NFL pay scale. All of which segues into the book's main subject: Michael Oher.

Oher is one of thirteen children born to an alcoholic, drug-addicted mother in the West Memphis ghetto. He grew up in total poverty with her, in and out of various foster homes and various public schools. Along the way, he filled out into a 6' 6" 340 pound behemoth with natural grace and speed unnatural to those of his size. He also came to the attention of Lewis' old elementary school classmate, and ex-college star point guard Sean Tuohy. Now a successful businessman and pro-basketball announcer, Tuohy takes an interest in MIchael and works the system to get him into his daughter's elite Christian prep school.

The lily-white conservative Tuohy family's quasi-adoption of Michael, along with his meteoric rise to prominence in college football recruiting circles forms the central storyline. The Tuohy's basically work their upper-crust and sports connections to shepard Michael along, pressuring people, exploiting loopholes, and using their money to smooth his path. Lewis originally wrote about this for the New York Times Magazine, and in many ways, the book feels like an extended magazine piece. It's essentially a very smooth and readable extended human interest profile. The main problem is that the book has no ending -- it ends with Oher a sophomore at Mississippi. The more natural ending would have been two years later, with Oher getting drafted and about to get enter the maelstrom of the NFL.
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on 10 March 2011
I am surprised at how many people have chosen to mis-categorise this story as heart-warming and uplifting when, in fact, it is the complete opposite. It is, in fact a story of unadulterated greed from almost all the principal characters. It is also (and perhaps it is unintended, though I could never be sure of Lewis' intentions), a damning indictment of what is wrong with the American Dream particularly as it impacts on African-Americans.

The Blind Side is a story that exemplifies all that is wrong for inner-city, underprivileged African-Americans: that the only routes out are through gangs/drugs or sporting excellence. Michael Oher gets lucky because he is built to play left tackle. As a result, he comes under the influence and support of the Tuohy family. Would he have been supported and tutored had he been 5 foot nothing and a physical weakling? Of course not. This is a story about how if you are underprivileged and a physical freak you get the breaks and the rest are left in the projects. In other words, it's about money and greed. Oher is destined for sporting stardom, everyone sees his potential and jumps on the bandwagon.

What is so thoroughly depressing is that by the end, even Michael Oher himself doesn't recognise the injustice of the system. He too has been brainwashed in the ideals of meritocracy or social Darwinism (i.e. that if you work hard enough anyone can be make it and if you fail, you deserve it). At the end of the book, Oher is reported as commenting that he has little contact with his mother and siblings and remarks that they are lazy, need to hear the word "No", and, most damningly, he remarks that they had the same chances he had (seriously!).

This is, of course, utter nonsense - Oher was adopted by a millionaire family, privately educated, privately tutored and groomed for college based on his physical potential alone while his siblings were left to run away from foster homes and live rough in the projects. So instead of giving a helping hand to his family and others in need, he adopts exactly the sort of mantra and mindset of the super-rich white Republican milieu he now moves in: "I made it because I worked harder than you, you choose to live in the ghetto on welfare so don't come to me for handouts".

That Oher doesn't recognise that his assent from the street to the penthouse is not a simple matter of merit and hard work and everything to with blind luck and a social/economic system that places higher value on sporting achievement is disappointing, but given the interactions reported in the book, hardly surprising.

I am also surprised that so few people found the relationship between Oher and the Tuohys slightly disturbing. Obviously Oher would not have come under their wing had he not been a prospective lineman, but there is merit in what the Tuohys do, certainly, and they must be applauded for their charity and generally caring attitude. But it's the details that make them appear so unlikeable, like telling Oher when he learns that his father has died that it's for the best as when he becomes successful his father would only have made claims on his money. The things that the Tuohys value and think Oher should know and appreciate are also puzzling: Ms Tuohy orders everything at an Italian restaurant so Oher can appreciate the difference between pesto and puttanesca. Well that will avoid embarassment at the country club I suppose. They buy him a backpack that is the preserve of little rich kids, and when Oher questions their choice, he's informed that he is himself now a little rich kid. Charming. The Tuohys come across as treating Oher like a pet or a worthy social experiment rather than a human.

What the Blind Side does reveal is the naked greed of everyone involved in Oher's rise as a left tackle and the appalling disparity of wealth and influence in the US. Like the high school and college coaches who drool over him and offer what amount to little more than bribes to get him to play for them. Or Sean Jr demanding privileges from prospective college coaches and then questioning why his sister and Oher aren't written out of his parent's will as they are/will be independently rich.

The disparity between rich and poor is shocking. On one side of Memphis there are the ghettos, on the other families with private jets whose daughters date the billionaire owners of FedEx. For a poor black boy, the only way he can move from one to the other is a result of sporting prowess. This is not something to celebrate, it is an indictment on society, as is the fact that by the end, the poor black boy thinks this is how it should be.
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on 11 August 2013
As a non American and non American Football fanatic I was worried about reading this book in the wonder that I would have no clue regarding the terminology and struggle understanding the detail. However this book covers all - it allows those with knowledge of the game to appreciate what Michael Oher is achieving but also allows those (like me) who have no clue, the same ability to appreciate the game and Michael's achievements.

A fantastic read and I'm so glad I wanted to get the more intrinsic detail after watching the film. Whilst the film is AMAZING it does not do the book justice
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