Bill's Book Club
Welcome to Bill's Book Club! Each month, Bill selects a book that he's been reading and passes it on to you. See what others have to say about the book, and then let everyone know what you think!
by Mark Kriegel

It was pure Namath -- outrageous, almost arrogantly confident, blasphemous to old sports hands, a great big nose-thumbing to the establishment. When Joe Namath vowed that the New York Jets, representing the perennially hapless AFL, would beat the NFL's great Baltimore Colts, he was dismissed as a kid quarterback with too much money and not enough humility. After all, the Jets were 18-point underdogs in 1969's upcoming "Third World Championship Game" -- a Super Bowl that until then had been anything but super. But in making good on his guarantee, Namath did more than deliver one of the most stunning upsets of all time. He changed the face of sports forever. Namath was the first of his kind, an athlete whose place in the culture owed as much to television and the sexual revolution as it did to the point spread. It was Namath who enabled the audience to see sports as show biz. It was Namath who endowed what had been a crude, violent game with his own inimitable production values. For an entire generation he became a spectacular voluptuary of booze and broads, a guy who made bachelorhood seem an almost sacred calling.

In Namath Mark Kriegel has written the first major biography of this authentic icon, uncovering the truth behind the Broadway Joe legend. The son of a Hungarian immigrant, Namath left the steel country of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for the Deep South and the University of Alabama, where he became the protege of the notoriously demanding Bear Bryant, who famously called him "the best all-around athlete I've ever coached." Almost four years later, he signed a record-breaking $427,000 contract with the Jets, and became the country's most glamorous athlete. But to children of the baby boom, Namath seemed even bigger and cooler than the game he played, appearing in everything from a pantyhose commercial to The Brady Bunch to Nixon's "Enemies List." Kriegel captures Namath as an athlete and a man, from his days as a star quarterback to his nights as a dinner theater performer. Here is the high-living swinger who became a devoted family man, the brave champion and the wounded soul. Mark Kriegel chronicles his journey from mill-town pool halls to the upper reaches of American celebrity, charting Namath's complex relationships with pain and prominence. In this unforgettable portrait we come to learn why the legend of Broadway Joe has meant so much to so many.
If you would like to purchase this book:
Namath by Mark Kriegel
Price: 13.97
List Price: 27.95
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: The Penguin Group
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Questions for discussion on Bill's Book Club Message Boards:

1. What inspires you most about Joe Namath's story?

2. Is there any part of Namath's story in particular that resonates personally with you?

3. In what ways does Namath embody the "American dream?"