When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss
Review by C. Douglas Baker
It is refreshing to see a serious sports biography about a legend. So many sports and entertainment biographies are puff pieces and not worth the paper they’re printed on. This biography is well researched, well written, insightful, serious and entertaining. Being an avid football fan I found the biography extremely informative about not just Vince Lombardi, but the Packer dynasty and football in general. I learned a great deal from this book.
Maraniss does an excellent job on many fronts. He puts Lombardi in his historical context, drawing on the local and national climate and culture of the times which brings a greater understanding of the man himself. He also shows the strain it takes to be a successful football coach at all levels, so we need not wonder why so many coaches today burnout (not to mention the toll it takes on the family). His descriptions of the Packers’ well known players like Max McGee and Paul Hornug, to name a few, are also insightful and let us know that players today aren’t all that much different from players in the past. The press is just more apt to report about their misbehavior.
Also his description of major games in football history and the story of the Packer’s glory years are superb.
This is a must read for football fans. But everyone, football fan or not, will like this biography of an American icon.