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Super Reading about Bill Parcells

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge          

The Final Season: My Last Year as Head Coach in the NFL by Bill Parcels with Will McDonough (Morrow, $25.00, 235 pages)

Parcells by the New York Daily News ($16.95, 300 pages)

There are football coaches and there is Bill Parcells.

One of only three coaches in NFL history to have led two different teams to the Super Bowl, Parcells is one of the legendary figures in pro football. Opinionated, cerebral, obsessive and highly successful, the man they call the "Big Tuna" has his say in his book and is celebrated in another.

In The Final Season, a week-to-week account of his life as coach of the New York Jets in 1999, Parcells writes, "I want you to have a look at how I worked with my coaching staff, prepared players, developed game strategies and how we tried to get it done over twenty-six weeks, twelve hours a day, without a day off from training camp through the end of the season."

Starting with its first entry of April 1, 1999 and ending with the entry of February 9,2000 - Parcells with the able assistance of his co-author Will McDonough - goes into the real reason for his retiring as a coach and also for leaving the Giants and the Patriots.

We get insights into the "warriors" and the "dogs" - players who are up to the challenge and players who are not. There are also anecdotes about the tricks Parcells used to discipline players, his take on "owner-operators,"  and his opinion of coaches he has competed against.

Parcells is a memorable collection of photographs and articles about Duane "Bill" Parcells. The book ranges from an article dated April 21, 1968: "Parcells Busy as Line Coach at West Point," through Michael Katz's piece dated January 26, 1987: "Parcells Goes for the Ghosts" about the coach and his Super Bowl triumph with the Giants over Denver, to the final piece in this far-ranging book dated January 30, 2000: "Tuna Will Swim Straight into the Hall."

The Final Season is a bit like an orchestrated press conference,

a richly embroidered memoir of Parcells' 1999 season as head coach of the New York Jets. Parcells reflects on his team's loss early in the season of nine starters including one of the game's top quarterbacks and how he still amazingly managed to prod his troops to an 8-8 record.

Parcells, on the other hand, is the whole package - a work showing in words and pictures the ebb and flow of a great coaching career. We are there with the Tuna "On the Rise," "Becoming the Biggest Giant" "Rebuilding the Giants," on his "Third Trip to the Top" and finally "Off the Sidelines." 

For all those interested in the NFL, for all those who have been fascinated by the man who first began playing football in the early sixties at Wichita State - these two books are for you. They are very different, but they both bring their subject to life  - warts and all. 


Pumped  by the team of   Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder and Wilkie Wilson (Norton, $14.95, 192 pages) is a primer of straight facts for athletes (and others) about drugs, supplements and training.

The Old Man by Bob Labbance (Sleeping Bear Press, $29.95, 260 pages) is a highly intriguing biography of one of the legends of golf. Walter J. Travis played golf for the first time in 1896 at age 35. Going on to win the U.S. Amateur three times, he designed more than 30 courses and became one of the sport's most important figures.

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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. 
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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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