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"Barra gets it right...he was born to write this story."--Don Keith, "Birmingham Weekly." Sportswriter Barra gives readers a look into the life of the real Bear Bryant, separates fact from fiction, and venerates the legend.
Allen Barra has written about sports for such publications as The New York Observer, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker.
"[Barra] does all the things you would expect from a biography of a sports figure, but along the way the quality of the reporting is such that he unearths some beautiful gems....Barra...is one of the country's most thoughtful writers on the subject....[T]ruly superb is Barra's even-handed recounting that Bryant played...or...did not play...in hastening the integration of the football program."
"Allen Barra's illuminating book, THE LAST COACH: A LIFE OF PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT explains why Alabamians felt so bereft [when Bryant died]. It also answers a question especially pertinent since Thomas Herrion, 23, a 315-pound lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, died in August of a previously undetected heart disease: Has football become grotesque?"
"THE LAST COACH is a remarkable piece of digging into, and reporting of, a magnificent life story, written at a length more commonly reserved for a Founding Father."
From the Publisher
This biography of the legendary college football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant is an in-depth account that captures the man in his times. Supremely focused, Bryant never wavered from his goals of winning games and building character. Barra |tells many tales of Bryant's exploits on and off the field, including his run ins with powerful figures such as college presidents, all of whom he vanquished. College football changed a lot in Bryant's decades-long tenure as coach, as did America, especially the South. These dramatic changes figure into Barra's story, but mostly this a fan's book on college football and on a larger-than-life figure who was, it cannot be denied, the best there was.
An all-encompassing history of the college football coach's career describes his coming of age during the Great Depression, work with such teams as Texas A&M and Alabama, numerous broken records, contributions to college football integration, and relationships with all-star players and coaches. Reprint.