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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game W. W. Norton & Company 1ST edition Michael Lewis


30th June 2012 History Books 0 Comments

By the author of the bestselling Moneyball: in football, as in life, the value we place on people changes with the rules of the games they play.

The young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story will one day be among the most highly paid athletes in the National Football League. When we first meet him, he is one of thirteen children by a mother addicted to crack; he does not know his real name, his father, his birthday, or any of the things a child might learn in school such as, say, how to read or write. Nor has he ever touched a football.

What changes? He takes up football, and school, after a rich, Evangelical, Republican family plucks him from the mean streets. Their love is the first great force that alters the world’s perception of the boy, whom they adopt. The second force is the evolution of professional football itself into a game where the quarterback must be protected at any cost. Our protagonist turns out to be the priceless combination of size, speed, and agility necessary to guard the quarterback’s greatest vulnerability: his blind side.

Starred Review. As he did so memorably for baseball in Moneyball, Lewis takes a statistical X-ray of the hidden substructure of football, outlining the invisible doings of unsung players that determine the outcome more than the showy exploits of point scorers. In his sketch of the gridiron arms race, first came the modern, meticulously choreographed passing offense, then the ferocious defensive pass rusher whose bone-crunching quarterback sacks demolished the best-laid passing game, and finally the rise of the left tackle—the offensive lineman tasked with protecting the quarterback from the pass rusher—whose presence is felt only through the game-deciding absence of said sacks. A rare creature combining 300 pounds of bulk with “the body control of a ballerina,” the anonymous left tackle, Lewis notes, is now often a team’s highest-paid player. Lewis fleshes this out with the colorful saga of left tackle prodigy Michael Oher. An intermittently homeless Memphis ghetto kid taken in by a rich white family and a Christian high school, Oher’s preternatural size and agility soon has every college coach in the country courting him obsequiously. Combining a tour de force of sports analysis with a piquant ethnography of the South’s pigskin mania, Lewis probes the fascinating question of whether football is a matter of brute force or subtle intellect. Photos. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

As in Moneyball (**** July/Aug 2003), which chronicled the strategies behind the Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, Berkeley-based author Michael Lewis takes a personal look at a complicated game in his newest nonfiction extravaganza. Just as they embraced Moneyball, critics eagerly wrap their arms around The Blind Side. It’s much more than a treatise on football; it’s an exploration of the limits of conventional thinking and how strategic changes affect the value of quick-footed behemoths. However, while most reviewers are positive, something holds them back. Maybe Lewis makes it all look too easy. Or perhaps, as The New York Times charges, he takes the easy route through a complicated set of stories. That he makes it easy for his reader to comprehendand enjoyis enough for most critics to give Lewis’s latest a rousing cheer.

Copyright 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game










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