Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review of "Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football"

I always am interested in learning more about great teams in each sport's history and since the 1985 Bears are considered to be one of the greatest teams in NFL history.  So when I was able to obtain a copy of this book on that team, I jumped on the chance to read it.   Here is my review on "Monsters."

“Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football” by Rich Cohen

Football, professional, history, Bears

October 29, 2013

321 pages

3 ½  of 5 stars (Good)

The 1985 Chicago Bears are considered by some to be the greatest team – for one season – in NFL history.   Between the storied legend of the team, the loyal fans and the reputation of the “Monsters of the Midway”, this was a team that was certain to have a book written about them.  Rich Cohen has done just that with “Monsters.”  In the book’s description, it states that this book is “a portrait not merely of a team but of a city and a game.” This is an accurate account of the book, as well as adding personal stories from both Cohen and members of that team.

Cohen writes this book as a fan, not as a journalist or historian. That has both its good and bad moments in this book. He does share some great stories about the players, especially Gary Fencik, for whom the team’s famous “46” defense is named and also the team’s head coach Mike Ditka. The quarterback, Jim McMahon, was always good for great stories and they are shared here as well. I also thought that Cohen’s stories about his fandom, the city of Chicago, and what he would do when he was interviewing the players were entertaining. Like I said, this book was written from a fan’s point of view and that is always a refreshing viewpoint. 

By doing so, the sections that talk about the football on field were entertaining and anecdotal.  What these would lack in analysis and statistics, they made up for with rich descriptions of the atmosphere, the action on the field and the thoughts of people who were there.  I felt that the two chapters on the one loss the team suffered in Miami and the game in Minnesota where McMahon came off the bench to rally the Bears to a victory were the best stories about games during the season.

Something that was not done well with this book was proofreading.  I did find a couple of grammatical errors and this error that surprised me by not being caught.  During the section on Gale Sayers, Cohen shares a story about nearly hitting a deer with his car.  He avoided the deer by “slamming on the breaks.”  These kinds of errors I find to be distracting and can take away from the value of a story or even the book as a whole.  Because this was such an obvious error that wasn’t caught, I felt this and the few others I found were a distraction.

Now, you might also be thinking, “What does hitting a deer have to do with football?”  That is a fair question, and my other main issue with the book – at times, I didn’t believe the personal stories that Cohen was sharing were relevant to the team or the season they were having.  Because I am not a Bears fan or a Chicago resident, I may have missed something that would connect these together. I found myself trying to connect these instead of concentrating on the pages at hand which was another distraction for me.

Despite these, I still found this book an entertaining read and I believe that anyone who is a Bears fan or a Chicago sports fan will enjoy this book.  Well worth the time to read it.

I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book: 
While it didn’t have any slow or tedious sections, I did have trouble connecting the author’s personal stories with what was being discussed about the Bears or the NFL at times.   When this would happen, I would re-read certain passages trying to make the connection.   That would slow down my reading pace for this book.

Do I recommend? 
Yes - fans of the Chicago Bears or pro football history will enjoy reading this book.     

Book Format Read:
e-book (ePUB)

Buying Links:

1 comment:

  1. In most texts I am distracted by typos which occur as the reviewer described - that its so rare it is jarring when you read it. Then recently I received an email about the decoding which goes on when we are reading . . .
    "HappE Neu Year 2015! Brain/visual teaser to start the new year by way of greetings and my best wishes for a better year than ever before!
    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2015 2:17 PM
    Subject: Fw: Fwd: Fw: Fwd: FW: yes

    This is amazing!!
    I found this to be an interesting mind challenge and I did find I could read the first part quickly without any problems and could find the letters also without any problems so am feeling assured that my brain is working okay. Hope you enjoy it.
    If you've seen this before - scan it again, its still fun.

    Good example of specific brain functions: If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind. And better than that: Alzheimer's is a long, long, ways down the road before it ever gets anywhere near you (no accompanied by any warrantee, implied or specific and definitely not reviewed/approved by the FDA, CDC, or anybody with a lick of good sense).

    To my "selected" and suspected strange-minded friends: THAT IS YOU, MY FRIEND!! If you can read the following paragraphs in RED and GREEN below, forward it on to your friends and the person that sent it to you with 'yes' in the subject line. Only very good minds can read this. This is weird, but interesting!

    NB: text which follows was originally in "RED"
    7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
    1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
    Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H 0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
    B3 PROUD! 0NLY C3R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15. PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F U C4N R34D 7H15.

    If you can read this, you have a strange mind, too. Only 55 people out of 100 can.

    NB: text which follows was originally in green
    I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! If you can raed this forwrad it
    This is not a TEST and will not be on the midterm or included for the final ---------------- Good Luck!!!
    The Eye Test[s-sic] HINT: try scanning from the bottom up if your first scan downward doesn't spot the targets? Other hidden hints, not Easter eggs, but contextual.......

    Can you find the B 's
    (there are 2 B's) DON'T skip, or your wish won't come True...

    And suddenly the sorts of typo, grammatical, or spelling errors didn't seem that bad?