Skilled sports biographer Pearlman (Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s) brings his dogged approach to this enjoyable book on Brett Favre, the gambling, cannon-armed quarterback whose talent and boyish enthusiasm brought the Green Bay Packers back to hallowed relevance in the mid-1990s. That was before inconsistent play, nonstop waffling on retirement, and an ill-advised text to a comely TV reporter dimmed the halo. Favre was not destined for stardom. His father and high-school coach, Irv, favored a running game that kept college scouts uninterested in his son. (Away from the field, one of Irv’s methods of punishment was having his kids kneel on a rock pile.) In the pros, Favre’s addictions and carousing tested his marriage. As years went by, the quarterback hardened, going from an easygoing soul to a demanding type who followed his own rules, whether that meant establishing his own dress code or getting his own private chef. But he was a model teammate who bridged every locker room clique and showed compassion for people in need, such as sending a truck of supplies to Hurricane Katrina victims. Pearlman’s latest effort lacks the emotional heft of his Walter Payton or Barry Bonds biographies, but he strips away Favre’s grown-up-kid mythology while reveling in his unlikely, turbulent path to iconic status. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Oct.)
Jeff Pearlman writing about Brett Favre is a perfect match of author and subject, making Gunslinger as rollicking and raucous and joyous as Favre was improvising at Lambeau Field.”–David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered and Once in a Great City “Over two decades, Brett Favre was as compelling a figure as any in the National Football League. He alone was 'Must-See TV.' In Gunslinger, Jeff Pearlman provides an extraordinary look at every facet of the life of a man who performed on sport's grandest stage and who had one helluva time along the way.”–Al Michaels "Jeff Pearlman's deeply reported book is an unprecedented picture of an unprecedented athlete. Brett Favre emerges as at once incorrigibly childish and a magnetic leader of men. Perhaps never in sports history has a star so big inhabited a market so small. Gunslinger leaves an impression of Favre that is neither simply good nor bad, but rather something nearly non-existent in sportswriting today: a full portrait of a human being."–David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene "Here's a story as iconic as 'The Gunslinger' himself, Brett Favre. Like Favre, Jeff Pearlman goes deep–and scores."–Adam Schefter, author of Romo: My Life on the Edge and Think Like A Champion "This is the deepest understanding we are likely to have of Favre for quite some time... Pearlman's book is a complete, satisfying biography of a gunslinger who, for both better and worse, was far more complex than most fans have understood."Kirkus Reviews "Presenting Favre as a congenial, larger-than-life character, a 'gunslinger,' who was fun to watch on the field and hard to root against, Pearlman proves to be a good match for his subject and creates a compelling work."Library Journal , starred review "A wealth of NFL-insider anecdotes sure to enthrall fans. Rarely does a straightforward sports bio ascend mainstream best-seller lists, but this could be the exception. Clear a spot: Gunslinger is coming."Booklist “Skilled sports biographer Pearlman brings his dogged, one-more-phone-call approach to this massively enjoyable book on Brett Favre, the gambling, cannon-armed quarterback whose talent and boyish enthusiasm brought the Green Bay Packers back to hallowed relevance in the mid-1990s.” Publishers Weekly
"What does 'Gunslinger' offer the Wisconsinite who has read a gazillion words about Favre over the past decades? A perspective outside the Packerland bubble, for one. He also delivers detailed reporting on aspects of Favre's life that we tend to dismiss in a line of background . . . Compelling." Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Terrific . . . It’s not only a page-turner, but it’s built on a foundation of solid journalism by an author who has a background as a newspaper reporter . . . Many [stories] are new and draw back the curtain on Favre’s life in a way that hadn’t been done." Gary D'Amato, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "The compelling, complete story of his legend, and his faults."Chicago Tribune "Comprehensive and readable, it's chock-full of stories gleaned through 573 interviews; even better, it provides a sense of the man." Sports Illustrated "A must-read . . . Well-researched and entertaining."AOL.com
Here, best-selling author Pearlman (Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton) takes on perhaps the most celebrated football player of the last 25 years: Brett Favre. The record-setting quarterback, who spent the majority of his career with the Green Bay Packers, was tough as nails on the field, but his giant talent was hampered by a tendency to make bad decisions and costly mistakes at key moments. The author, who interviewed more than 500 sources for this biography, demonstrates how Favre regularly undermined himself and his family with problems of addiction and serial infidelity, all of which was kept out of the press until his final years when he was implicated in an embarrassing sexting scandal. VERDICT Presenting Favre as a congenial, larger-than-life character, a "gunslinger," who was fun to watch on the field and hard to root against, Pearlman proves to be a good match for his subject and creates a compelling work.
A warts-and-all biography of one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.Brett Favre is an icon in the football world, a player who was almost universally described as a “gunslinger” for his risky, sometimes-reckless, sometimes-inspired style of play. As veteran sports biographer Pearlman (Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, 2014, etc.)—who has made a career of chronicling the vibrant, controversial, and sometimes-unsavory aspects of the NFL’s recent history—shows, the gunslinger mentality extended to Favre’s off-the-field behavior. In the popular imagination, Favre is an aw-shucks good ole’ boy, a small-town Mississippian whose playing style evoked a childlike love for the game. Yet in this more rounded—and some might say prurient—portrait, Favre was a serial philanderer and problem drinker whose well-known problem with painkillers went far deeper than most observers understood. Playing in isolated Green Bay, Wisconsin, meant that a pliable local media most often covered up Favre’s excesses, which almost certainly would have been revealed in a more competitive media market. Pearlman’s writing is brisk and generally readable, though the book is occasionally marred by clunky prose. Furthermore, while biographers should avoid hagiography, one wonders if the depth of exploration of Favre’s faithlessness to his wife, Deanna (who ends up as the story’s martyr), or his sometimes-unkind treatment of his father, Irv, is necessary. The author ends up asserting that Favre was both a football icon and a flawed human being, hardly a revolutionary conclusion. Nonetheless, this is the deepest understanding we are likely to have of Favre for quite some time. Though not without its flaws, Pearlman’s book is a complete, satisfying biography of a gunslinger who, for both better and worse, was far more complex than most fans have understood.