The Redskins Encyclopedia by Michael Richman
Review by C. Douglas Baker
The Redskins Encyclopedia is definitely a must have for Redskins fans. I am not even a Redskins fan and I found it thoroughly engaging and interesting, which is quite a feat for a text heavy encyclopedic history of a professional football team I don’t even root for.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to a chronological history of the Washington Redskins’ franchise from its origin in 1932 as the Boston Braves through 2006.
The book provides a review of each and every season in Redskins history, and what a history it has been. You have the 1940’s with Slinging Sammy Baugh and a few World Championships. You get to relive the topsy-turvy 1970’s under coach George Allen when the team lost Super Bowl VII to the undefeated Miami Dolphins. You can recapture the glory years under Joe Gibbs and the heyday of the team in the 1980’s, winning three Super Bowls. And then you can lament, if you are a Redskins fan, the post-Gibbs era and the recent return of Gibbs to save a franchise mired in mediocrity that persists today (and will like to continue to do so under the meddlesome owner Dan Snyder).
During the journey you will meet the great players and characters throughout Redskins history and get an excellent feel for the deep history and historical ebbs and flows of this long tenured franchise.
One of the nice touches of this work is that it breaks Redskins history into eras. Before each era the book provides introductory insights into the franchise and where it was at and where it was headed before delving into season by season reviews. This provides context and continuity.
It also uses text boxes to provide greater detail about seminal Redskins owners, executives, and players. The text boxes provide some excellent information while nicely breaking up the text, making it more reader friendly.
One section of the book consists of mini-biographies of all the great Washington Redskins players, coaches, owners, and executives in the history of the franchise. I thought I would skim through this section quickly but it captured my attention so much I read through the entire section.
The last part of the book provides what most encyclopedias are supposed to provide, all-time team results, records, and other various statistics about the team.
Overall I found this to be a very through and engaging treatment of the history of the Washington Redskins.