“Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games” by Micheal Weinreb
Football (American), college, history, ethics
August 19, 2014
4 ½ of 5 stars (excellent) – rounded to 5 for Goodreads and Amazon
College football is a uniquely American institution that can bring out the best and worst of everyone involved – players, coaches, schools, students and fans, just to name a few. The moral and ethical questions that can be raised by this passion are examined in this excellent book on the sport by Michael Weinreb. He covers the history of the sport from its beginnings as an Ivy League activity to today’s system with a 4 team playoff in 14 chapters, each representing a Saturday, and each one titled with a game that symbolized the state of the game for that era.
Weinreb writes each chapter with a good balance of factual research, thoughts for the reader to contemplate and wonderful stories on some of the greatest moments of the game. He writes each chapter in a manner that hard-core fans will enjoy because of some of the memories and strategic coaching mentioned, but at the same time, casual fans will also enjoy it because there isn’t a lot of complicated talk about plays and formations so they will be able to follow along as well. As a fan in between these two extremes, I enjoyed the book for the history lessons of the early game as well as the references to the games that I still remember today and how they have impacted the sport as a whole.
The book is also written in a manner that when Weinreb expresses an opinion or emotion, it is not judgmental, but will make the reader stop and think. He does this many times during the book. To illustrate this, in the chapter titled “Texas 41, USC 38” (the 2006 National Championship game) he ends each section with a thought provoking statement and will express his thoughts by saying that the statement will either “bother certain people more than it bothers me” (Reggie Bush considered a bust) or “this bothers me more than it bothers certain people” (that college football is a prelude to the “real thing” [NFL football] on Sunday afternoons).
This type of writing, prevalent throughout the book, made it an enjoyable read and one that I would certainly recommend to any college football fan.
I wish to thank NetGalley for providing an advance reading copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
The book is a fast-paced read as each of the 14 chapters representing one week of the season is broken into segments that make reading each chapter easier.
Do I recommend?
All college football fans, from casual to hard-core will enjoy this book. Also, readers who are looking to read about why the sport is so popular with all age groups and how much a team can become part of a town’s or campus’s psyche will find this book one that will address many of those questions.
Book Format Read:
(Note: links are for pre-orders before publication date of August 19, 2014)