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THE FOOTBALL 100

An engaging book that NFL fans will love and argue over endlessly.

The editors of a popular sports publication rank the best 100 players in NFL history.

Lead editors and panel members Dan Pompei and Mike Sando lay out the criteria for “the most irresistible exercise in sports: ranking the all-time greats,” including Hall of Fame membership, Pro Bowl appearances and All-Pro selections, metrics for various positions, and the more subjective difficulties of comparing different eras with different rules and attempting to guard against recency bias. The editors rank the 100 honorees in descending order, accompanied by feature articles written by several contributors that offer enlightening vignettes about each player's background, skills, and attributes on and off the field. Hardcore and casual fans alike may head directly for the chapter about O.J. Simpson, which happens to be one of the most compellingly written profiles in the book. Overcoming recency bias may well have been impossible; of the top 10, the panel included seven players who played in the 1980s, 1990s, or 21st century. As they always do with such lists, purists will have many problems with the order, especially given rule changes and the varying levels of competition. For example, how can Tom Brady be ranked ahead of Joe Montana, when Montana remained vulnerable to crushing hits by some of the greatest defenses in league history just to get to the Super Bowl, while Brady played in an era that protected quarterbacks and ran roughshod over an outmatched NFC East division? Of course, such exercises in ranking are often fool's errands. Perhaps it's best to take the approach of the late Green Bay Packers great Ray Nitschke (ranked 66th), who made it his business to remind newly enshrined Hall of Famers that no honored player loomed larger than any other. But what’s the fun in that? If Brady and Jim Brown are 1 and 2, who’s no. 3? The book includes forewords by Bruce Smith and Mike Ditka.

An engaging book that NFL fans will love and argue over endlessly.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9780063329096

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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