Booklist Reviews

Just when no more words could be added to the legacy of one of the great NFL teams of all time—the 1985 Chicago Bears—here's another title to reanimate the likes of Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Mike Singletary, Mike Ditka, Buddy Ryan, and the other players and coaches who made that team so dominant. Cohen (The Fish That Ate the Whale, 2012) does a good job drawing a line from the founding of the team (and the NFL!) by George Halas more than 100 years ago, to the innovations Papa Bear employed to win eight NFL championships, to the hiring of the volatile Ditka to restore a culture of winning to the Bears. The historical context enriches the book, as do Cohen's explanation of the team's groundbreaking "46" defense, his lively interviews with principals, and his analyses of what went right with the team, and, in subsequent years, what went wrong. The author too often gets in his own way—"In 1983, I made out with Christine Connor on the grass behind North School" (!)—but not enough to keep this engaging account out of the hands of eager football fans. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Almost 30 years after the Chicago Bears won their first and only Super Bowl, that team with its wild assortment of tough players and coaches still capture the imagination—and fuel the current fantasies—of Chicago's die-hard football fans. Cohen, (The Fish That Ate the Whale), who grew up as a suburban Chicago Bears fan and witnessed first-hand the Bears' victory when he was 17, deftly captures how the team "played with a gleeful excess that seemed a perfect expression of the city—its character, its toughness, its heartbreaks, its history." While Cohen covers much of the same ground as other books on the '85 Bears, he is especially good at detailing the rivalry between coach Mike Ditka and his defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, whose defensive line viewed him as Ditka's equal, "the god each player was working toward as well as the mad scientist turning the levers." His fan's perspective added to his excellent reporting and engrossing interviews produce great insights into the team's colorful stars: legendary running back Walter Payton and his personal struggles; Dan "Danimal" Hampton and the brutal Monsters of the Midway defense; the 300-plus pound "Refrigerator" Perry; and quarterback Jim McMahon with his bad-boy persona, who, according to Ditka, arrived at Bears camp with "'a beer in his hand and a six-pack under his arm." (Nov.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

PW Annex Reviews

Almost 30 years after the Chicago Bears won their first and only Super Bowl, that team with its wild assortment of tough players and coaches still capture the imagination—and fuel the current fantasies—of Chicago's die-hard football fans. Cohen, (The Fish That Ate the Whale), who grew up as a suburban Chicago Bears fan and witnessed first-hand the Bears' victory when he was 17, deftly captures how the team "played with a gleeful excess that seemed a perfect expression of the city—its character, its toughness, its heartbreaks, its history." While Cohen covers much of the same ground as other books on the '85 Bears, he is especially good at detailing the rivalry between coach Mike Ditka and his defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, whose defensive line viewed him as Ditka's equal, "the god each player was working toward as well as the mad scientist turning the levers." His fan's perspective added to his excellent reporting and engrossing interviews produce great insights into the team's colorful stars: legendary running back Walter Payton and his personal struggles; Dan "Danimal" Hampton and the brutal Monsters of the Midway defense; the 300-plus pound "Refrigerator" Perry; and quarterback Jim McMahon with his bad-boy persona, who, according to Ditka, arrived at Bears camp with "'a beer in his hand and a six-pack under his arm." (Nov.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC