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Archie and Peyton Manning
go for the end zone with new book

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge          

Title: "Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy"
Authors: Archie and Peyton Manning with John Underwood
Publisher: Harper Entertainment
Pages: 357
Price: $24

The football season is in full swing all across America and in the world of publishing. One of the newest and most unusual football-related books is "Manning."

Peyton Manning became the highest paid rookie in the history of the National Football League -- $48 million over six years -- when he was the No. 1 draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. His father, Archie, selected second in the NFL draft in 1971, had signed the largest contract ever given a rookie to that point -- $410,000 over five years.

The difference in the NFL from father's time to son's time is far greater than the huge difference in salaries.

That is just one of the subjects Manning tackles. He also his say about the modern game -- the pouting and posturing on the field, the end-zone celebrations and the money madness that affects the NFL and other major sports.

But the book is much more than an outspoken and well thought-through look at the world of pro football. It is a uniquely organized retrospective on the family Manning from the perspectives of father and son.

We learn about Archie, whose father committed suicide.

We learn about Archie's days in the 1960s at Ole Miss, where he became, in John Grisham's phrase, "a legend larger than life."

We learn about how Archie married the university homecoming queen, about the three sons they had (Peyton was the middle one) and about his incredible 14-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints.

We learn about Archie's thrill seeing Peyton lead Tennessee to 39 wins in 44 games, graduate Phi Beta Kappa and transform the Indianapolis Colts from a 3-13 loser to a 13-3 winner in just two seasons.

We learn what it was like for Peyton to grow up as the son of a fabled football father, memorizing audio tapes of Archie's games and Ole Miss, repeating the play-by-play in practices under his breath.

"People ask me," Archie Manning says, "if I knew all of this would happen. Or any of it would. If in my wildest dreams I thought that Peyton would be so good, and that right on his heels would come his little brother (Eli) with similarly developing skills and credentials ... "As proud as I am, I didn't know. And wouldn't have dared."

"Manning" is truly about daring. It is about the stuff of dreams that do come true. Like a couple of All-Pro quarterbacks sharing time in a big game, Archie and Peyton alternate chapters telling their stories. It makes for inspiring and fascinating reading.

Author John Underwood deserves praise for shaping "Manning" and dealing with essentially a dual autobiography. But you should skip the introduction or read it last. Underwood gives away too much of the book's content in its 11 pages.

BOOKENDS  Another football book: "The Pain of Glory," by Jim Otto with Dave Newhouse (Sports Publishing, Inc., 215 pages, $22.95). This is in many ways a grim and inspirational read about the man whom many call the greatest NFL center ever. Otto never missed a game for the Raiders. He played in 210 straight.

-- "Bump and Run" by Mike Lupica (Putnam) is being touted as an inside look at professional football. Scheduled for November publication, the book will have a 100,000 first printing.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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