9780143035350

Namath: A Biography

Kriegel, Mark

ISBN 10: 0143035355 / 0-14-303535-5
ISBN 13: 9780143035350
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Softcover
About this title:
Synopsis:

In between Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan there was Joe Namath, one of the  few sports heroes to transcend the game he played. Novelist and former sports-columnist Mark Kriegel’s bestselling biography of the iconic quarterback details his journey from steel-town pool halls to the upper reaches of American celebrity—and beyond. The first of his kind, Namath enabled a nation to see sports as show biz. For an entire generation he became a spectacle of booze and broads, a guy who made bachelorhood seem an almost sacred calling, but it was his audacious “guarantee” of victory in Super Bowl III that ensured his legend. This unforgettable portrait brings readers from the gridiron to the go-go nightclubs as Kriegel uncovers the truth behind Broadway Joe and why his legend has meant so much to so many.


From the Inside Flap:
Praise for NAMATH: A Biography by Mark Kriegel

Avoiding the pitfalls of mythology while telling a larger-than-life story is never easy, but Kriegel does it grandly in this landmark portrait of the 1960s icon. From the segregated South to the era of showbiz sports, Namath has a Forrest Gump-like way of being there. All the important athletic moments are here, elegantly told: his hardscrabble western Pennsylvania upbringing; his unlikely pairing with Bear Bryant; his arrival in New York as a hard-partying, money-making star and, of course, the win in SuperBowl III. Namath comes off both as throwback (he played through unbearable pain) and hypermodern (40 years ago, he was already getting paid to wear certain brands of clothing). But to write of the first media- age sports star is to tell not just of an athlete but the changing nature of celebrity and society in the ‘60s – that is, the story of modern America – and the author manages the elusive trick of illuminating setting as much as subject. He documents how sports became both big business and pop culture through savvy TV deals and the merchandising of stars. If Namath feels like a distant figure, more statue around whom society scrambled to adjust itself than active change seeker, that’s because Kriegel convinces us he was – a figure both epic and accidental in a world revolving too fast for one person to control. Kreigel has written a remarkable book: a feel-good sports story still abundant with insight and social commentary.

Forecast: Football books can be as vulnerable as a quarterback’s extremities, but this will cross fluidly into pop culture – as has Namath himself. Expect adulation and sales. (Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review)

"Mark Kriegel has written an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary American. Here is Joe Namath in roaring stadiums, in sleazy Broadway dives, in the company of many women and a few mob guys, and lighting up every room he enters. We see him become an essential figure in that social revolution called the Sixties, a time of much sex, laughter and booze. But we also see the private Namath, enduring physical pain and, as he ages, much private anguish. The research is deep, the context illuminating. In the end, this is not a sports book at all, but the story of a gifted, reckless American, in a book as layered as any fine novel."
--Pete Hamill author of Forever and A Drinking Life

"Mark Kriegel doesn't just cover the Namath of mythic memory, he restores to the man his place, his time, and a story so taut and true it pulls at your heart."
--Richard Ben Cramer, author of Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life and How Israel Lost: The Four Questions

"I am the same age as Joe Namath. He has been the alter-ego to all males in our generation since our teens, doing what we would have done if we were rich, famous, could throw a football on a straight line and knew Ann Margaret personally. To read Mark Kriegel's book is to learn what we would have gained - and, alas, would have lost - if we were wearing Joe Willie's white shoes. Fascinating stuff. Fascinating book."
--Leigh Montville author of Ted Williams: Biography of an American Hero

"A fine and rare job of bringing forth the seasons of a man's life."
--Nick Tosches, author of Dino and The Devil and Sonny Liston

"The Namath who emerges here is an appealing mix of swagger and insecurity. This is an intelligent, carefully crafted portrait of an American sports icon and an insightful look at how the world of celebrity works."
-Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

"Meaty biography...detailed work...Kriegel has also uncovered a lot of terrific backstory...Namath was no angel, thank goodness, but this evocative portrait shows him at play in the fields of magic."
--Kirkus


From the Back Cover:
"Mark Kriegel has written an extraordinary biography of an extraordinary American. Here is Joe Namath in roaring stadiums, in sleazy Broadway dives, in the company of many women and a few mob guys, and lighting up every room he enters. We see him become an essential figure in that social revolution called the Sixties, a time of much sex, laughter and booze. But we also see the private Namath, enduring physical pain and, as he ages, much private anguish. The research is deep, the context illuminating. In the end, this is not a sports book at all, but the story of a gifted, reckless American, in a book as layered as any fine novel."
--Pete Hamill author of Forever and A Drinking Life

"Mark Kriegel doesn't just cover the Namath of mythic memory, he restores to the man his place, his time, and a story so taut and true it pulls at your heart."
--Richard Ben Cramer, author of Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life and How Israel Lost: The Four Questions

"I am the same age as Joe Namath. He has been the alter-ego to all males in our generation since our teens, doing what we would have done if we were rich, famous, could throw a football on a straight line and knew Ann Margaret personally. To read Mark Kriegel's book is to learn what we would have gained - and, alas, would have lost - if we were wearing Joe Willie's white shoes. Fascinating stuff. Fascinating book."
--Leigh Montville author of Ted Williams: Biography of an American Hero

"A fine and rare job of bringing forth the seasons of a man's life."
--Nick Tosches, author of Dino and The Devil and Sonny Liston

"The Namath who emerges here is an appealing mix of swagger and insecurity. This is an intelligent, carefully crafted portrait of an American sports icon and an insightful look at how the world of celebrity works."
--Wes Lukowsky, Booklist

"Meaty biography... detailed work... Kriegel has also uncovered a lot of terrific backstory... Namath was no angel, thank goodness, but this evocative portrait shows him at play in the fields of magic."
-- Kirkus


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