Friday, September 06, 2013

The Code: Football's Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-at-Your-Own-Risk Code of Honor by Ross Bernstein

Here is yet another lengthy subtitle. As if that's not enough, this book also includes two forewords and an afterword. It all adds up to a lot of text on the front cover. At least the designer used small letters.

I bought this book a year ago at After-words. I wasn't sure I wanted it; I must have been in an "I have to buy something" mood that night. Later I regretted the purchase and doubted that I would read it. But throughout August, whenever I was looking for the next football book to read, I would read a random page from The Code and want to read more.* I decided to wait a while because I had started the month with NFL Unplugged and there's some overlap in subject matter. It turned out to be a good way to finish football month.

I like The Code more than NFL Unplugged. It seems better organized, and Bernstein's writing is more engaging (I had to plod through parts of NFL Unplugged). For the most part, he lets the players and coaches (most if not all retired) speak for themselves, plugging their tales and comments into a narrative. I like it when an author stays out of the way of the story.

Copyediting note: At least twice, Bernstein used the word venerable when he clearly meant veritable. That's one I've never seen before.


* This is often how I decide which book to read next. Just flip to a page, read a little, and if it's interesting, read the whole book. Except I can be indecisive, in which case I pile up a few possibilities and read random pages from each until I decide on one. And no, I have never read two entire books that way trying to choose between them!

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