Their Life's Work: The Brotherhood of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, Then and Nowby Gary M. Pomerantz
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s won an unprecedented and unmatched four Super Bowls in six years. A dozen of/i>
“The definitive book of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers” (Scott Brown, ESPN): A unique literary sports book that—through exquisite reportage, love, and honesty—tells the full story of the best team to ever play the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s won an unprecedented and unmatched four Super Bowls in six years. A dozen of those Steelers players, coaches, and executives have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and three decades later their names echo in popular memory: “Mean” Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth. In ways exhilarating and heartbreaking, they define not only the brotherhood of sports but those elements of the game that engage tens of millions of Americans: its artistry and its brutality.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews, Their Life’s Work is a richly textured story of a team and a sport, what the game gave these men, and what the game took. It gave fame, wealth, and, above all, a brotherhood of players, twelve of whom died before turning sixty. To a man, they said they’d do it again, all of it. They bared the soul of the game to Gary Pomerantz, and he captured it wondrously. “Here is a book as hard-hitting and powerful as the ‘Steel Curtain’ dynasty that Pomerantz depicts so deftly. It’s the NFL’s version of The Boys of Summer, with equal parts triumph and melancholy. Pomerantz’s writing is strong, straightforward, funny, sentimental, and blunt. It’s as working class and gritty as the men he writes about” (The Tampa Tribune, Top 10 Sports Books of 2013).
The saga of the rise and fall of the 1970s NFL powerhouse. Pomerantz (The Devil's Tickets: A Night of Bridge, a Fatal Hand, and a New American Age, 2009, etc.), a veteran sports and general journalist (Washington Post and elsewhere), steps back and forth in time, blending moments from specific games—Franco Harris' celebrated 1972 "Immaculate Reception" and its aftermath get a nine-page treatment—with interviews and observations from recent days. The author's focus is, unsurprisingly, on the principals in the production: the Rooney family (Art Rooney is "The Chief" throughout), coach Chuck Noll, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, receivers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, running back Harris, center Mike Webster, linebacker Jack Lambert and defensive lineman "Mean" Joe Greene. (An interesting section covers the filming of Greene's noted commercial for Coke.) But the other players—and some wives—get their moments, as well. Pomerantz's diction is sometimes excessively enthusiastic and forced—the Rooneys were like John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Lambert was like both King Arthur and Hemingway, Pete Rozelle like Caesar, Webster, a gladiator. The great strength here, however, is the author's hard but sympathetic look at what's happened to everyone since those years: the drugs (Joe Gilliam), the madness (Mike Webster), the estrangements, the financial successes and failures, the effects of injuries and the many deaths. The author reports on the surprising number of former Steelers who have died before reaching age 60, as well as the many Steelers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Pomerantz ends with a series of portraits of his key subjects, and Stallworth imagines just one more sauna experience with the old crew who used to gather there to avoid celebrity's crush. A work of great affection—for people, a violent sport and magical moments.
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Their Life’s Work
Meet the Author
Gary M. Pomerantz is a nonfiction author and journalist and has served the past seven years as a visiting lecturer in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Pomerantz has written four books, including Their Life’s Work and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn.
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Previewed a library book before buying my own copy for allllll the older Steelers players info. Great book for older Steelers fans
if your a steeler fan or football fan its a must read
Steelers were the team of the 70's. 4 Super Bowls! Hall of Fame coach and maybe the greatest defense ever! Must read for Pittsburgh Steelers fans! Strongly recommend!!!
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about the life of pro football players. If you followed or know about the Steelers of the '70s. you should read it.
The books (2) were gifts for others. I did not read them myself. The recepients were pleased to get them, but haven't reported on the content. The experience of ordering from B&N on line was very good.