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Forty years after his retirement from pro football, Jim Brown is still commonly referred to as the greatest running back ever and sometimes simply as the greatest player in NFL history. Throughout, he has been a confident, intelligent role model, working intently for black economic independence and for the alleviation of urban gang violence. Yet, he had frequent run-ins with the law over his alleged violent treatment of women; he had no relationship with the children he fathered. Can this flawed man be a hero? Sports journalist Freeman (ESPN: The Uncensored History) attempts to answer in the affirmative while dealing honestly with all evidence to the contrary. He addresses Brown's football career only sporadically, jumping around and using quotes from other writers to serve as analysis. One of Freeman's key sources is an anonymous former FBI agent who spied on Brown in the 1960s and 1970s. This deep background adds much to the book, but the author gets a bit out of his league when he delves into the general ethics of spying. Overall, this study of an important figure in recent American sporting and cultural history is an engrossing read on several levels. It would be welcome in any library.-John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Definitive...a fascinating look at a culture in transition...Freeman captures the life of a legend with grace and passion."--Publishers Weekly "[Freeman is] an excellent storyteller...what resonates most is Brown's fierce determination to do things his way."--Sports Illustrated Definitive...a fascinating look at a culture in transition...Freeman captures the life of a legend with grace and passion. --Publishers Weekly" [Freeman is] an excellent storyteller...what resonates most is Brown s fierce determination to do things his way. --Sports Illustrated"