Talking Irish: The Oral History of Notre Dame Football

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9780060937157: Talking Irish: The Oral History of Notre Dame Football

An entertaining fusion of fact, legend, and lore, Notre Dame football has transcended the boundaries of the sport and the university to become a time-honored American tradition. For its legions of devoted fans and alumni, Talking Irish vividly captures it all: the exhilarating wins, the stunning defeats, the tumultuous coaching changes, and the celebrated mystique that surrounds this beloved football dynasty.

With never-before-told anecdotes, this candid and revealing oral history -- the first ever written on Fighting Irish football -- is told in the words of more than 150 Notre Dame players, coaches, leading sports journalists, and school faculty. This rousing narrative begins in the 1940s, a decade after the death of the fabled Knute Rockne, and concludes five decades later, with the formidable exploits of Notre Dame football at the end of the twentieth century.

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Review:

No football program in the collegiate ranks comes close to Notre Dame's for the sheer weight of myth that cloaks it. The smartness of Talking Irish is the way myth both speaks for itself and contradicts itself. Irish is, first and foremost, a solid and anecdotally rich history of Notre Dame football from the 1940s to the present, delivered in a series of first-person voices. These voices, looking back, bring the past into the present with immediacy and intimacy. It's a past that isn't quite as pristinely clean as the Irish myth likes to suggest, particularly in the way coaches and players are pressured not just to win, but to win convincingly. Many of the contributors are legendary--Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Johnny Lattner, Ralph Guglielmi, Jim Lynch, Tim Brown, Chris Zorich, Terry Brennan, Ara Parseghian, Lou Holt, even the beleaguered Jerry Faust, who comes off especially whiny. This is a smart book that prefers to tackle a sacred cow rather than accept the usual unwavering reverence. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

Steve Delsohn has written several acclaimed books about sports, including the New York Times bestseller Out of Bounds with NFL great Jim Brown. He is the author of two previous oral histories, The Fire Inside: Firefighters Talk About Their Lives and Talking Irish: The Oral History of Notre Dame Football. Delsohn is also a correspondent for ESPN television. A native of Chicago, he now lives in Thousand Oaks, California, with his wife and three daughters.

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