Though not without its flaws, Pearlman’s book is a complete, satisfying biography of a gunslinger who, for both better and...

A warts-and-all biography of one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Brett Favre is an icon in the football world, a player who was almost universally described as a “gunslinger” for his risky, sometimes-reckless, sometimes-inspired style of play. As veteran sports biographer Pearlman (Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, 2014, etc.)—who has made a career of chronicling the vibrant, controversial, and sometimes-unsavory aspects of the NFL’s recent history—shows, the gunslinger mentality extended to Favre’s off-the-field behavior. In the popular imagination, Favre is an aw-shucks good ole’ boy, a small-town Mississippian whose playing style evoked a childlike love for the game. Yet in this more rounded—and some might say prurient—portrait, Favre was a serial philanderer and problem drinker whose well-known problem with painkillers went far deeper than most observers understood. Playing in isolated Green Bay, Wisconsin, meant that a pliable local media most often covered up Favre’s excesses, which almost certainly would have been revealed in a more competitive media market. Pearlman’s writing is brisk and generally readable, though the book is occasionally marred by clunky prose. Furthermore, while biographers should avoid hagiography, one wonders if the depth of exploration of Favre’s faithlessness to his wife, Deanna (who ends up as the story’s martyr), or his sometimes-unkind treatment of his father, Irv, is necessary. The author ends up asserting that Favre was both a football icon and a flawed human being, hardly a revolutionary conclusion. Nonetheless, this is the deepest understanding we are likely to have of Favre for quite some time.

Though not without its flaws, Pearlman’s book is a complete, satisfying biography of a gunslinger who, for both better and worse, was far more complex than most fans have understood.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-45437-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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