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Posted February 2, 2009
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What do you get when a die hard Steeler fan, who also happens to be a well known sports writer, takes off around the United States looking for anything and everything Steeler? I bet you can guess ¿ it is a book about the Pittsburgh Steers!<BR/><BR/>Jim Wexell¿s Steeler Nation: A Pittsburgh Team, an American Phenomenon is a great read as a road book and a sports book all in one. It is written in a very fun and informative way with a language for any reader. The stories in Steeler Nation could hook even non-sports fans.<BR/><BR/>The author sets out from Pittsburgh to cover more than 10,000 miles on the road. He first heads southeast then cuts back West across the American South then up the West Coast, down through the Rocky Mountain states, across the Great Plains and then back through the Midwest until he comes full circle back to Pittsburgh. All along the journey we gather stories and meet the friends and families of current and former Steelers. You learn about the team and its history and you learn about America.<BR/><BR/>Several things really stuck with me about this book. So many of the current players on the Pittsburgh Steeler teams were multi-talented sportsmen. Many lettered in high school and university in more than one sport. This in and of itself wasn¿t so much of a shock to me as gifted athletes aren¿t normally only gifted in a single sport but rather the fact that so many of these players either couldn¿t decide which sport to play or their true love was not first with football yet they wound up playing football rather than basketball or baseball by fate. Twists and turns are in every player¿s story.<BR/><BR/>I also found it very interesting to learn how many of the players didn¿t come from the ¿major colleges¿ but rather wound up playing for smaller schools (such as Northern Colorado, Louisiana-Lafayette, Hofstra, Miami of Ohio to name a few) or in some cases rarely played in university but stayed at it to get drafted. This really gives you the working class Joe feeling that has always permeated throughout the years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. You also see how the players come from not only varied backgrounds, but there didn¿t seem to be much in common with family backgrounds either. They range from Troy Polamalu who was a Samoan raised by his uncle¿s family in Southwestern Oregon to Ben Roethisberger who had a very sound and settled family life.<BR/><BR/>Another aspect that Jim Wexell really played up well was the ¿Steeler bar¿. He visited local bars all over the United States in ¿enemy territory¿ (New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle, Denver, Cincinnati, etc.) to meet and interview the fans of the Iron Curtain, the Steeler diaspora. Many of the fans had Pittsburgh roots, having either emigrated from Pittsburgh or were the children of folks from western Pennsylvania. A good number though were like me and gradually grew to love the Steelers through their many successes throughout the years. Personally I took to them in the 1970¿s when virtually their entire team was made up of superheroes such as Terry Bradshaw, Mean Joe Green, Franco Harris, Lynn Swan, just to name a few. And Wexell also imparted lots of ¿Steeler tria¿ which may be common knowledge in Pittsburgh but was new for me. For instance, Kathy Mora, the supporting actress in the Matthew McConaughey movie ¿We are Marshall¿ is a member of both the Rooney family who own the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Mora family who own the New York Giants. I also liked the Jack Lambert quote about
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Posted March 30, 2009
I highly recommend Jim Wexell's Steeler Nation to any Steelers fan! I learned about players, their history, and their families. The stories and the pictures are entertaining. The easy prose style of the writer is a quick read. You'll especially enjoy the stories of other fans Wexell meets along his trip through Steeler Nation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 28, 2010
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