A fittingly exhaustive history of a larger-than-life franchise.



Texas journalist and author Patoski (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, 2008, etc.) delivers an oversized history of one of sport’s greatest franchises.

The Dallas Cowboys’ on-field achievements—five Super Bowl wins, 10 conference championships, 21 division titles and 30 playoff appearances in their 52-year history—have arguably been overshadowed by their impact on professional football and popular culture in general, earning them the nickname “America’s Team.” Patoski’s in-depth study gives readers everything they want to know about “The Boys” and much more, from the field to the front office, the media and, of course, the famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. The author also tracks the parallel development of the city of Dallas, with a focus on business and politics. For a book about a football team, there’s surprisingly little football, though the author briefly recaps the triumphs and tragedies of star players like Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. Patoski barely mentions the subpar teams of the 1980s, though he does document the most recent edition’s struggles, highlighted by the drama surrounding talented and camera-friendly quarterback Tony Romo. Patoski spends a surprising amount of time discussing the media coverage of the team, but the majority of the narrative belongs to the ownership and front office, with the first two-thirds dominated by the man most responsible for the Cowboys’ success and for much of what an NFL franchise looks like today, team president and general manager Tex Schramm. Schramm and legendary coach Tom Landry got pushed out when “reptilian” Arkansas oil-and-gas baron Jerry Jones, a cartoon villain of a franchise owner, purchased the team in 1989, beginning the modern era of the Cowboys and keeping them in the headlines with controversy and equal measures of success and failure on and off the gridiron.

A fittingly exhaustive history of a larger-than-life franchise.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-07755-2

Page Count: 816

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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