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About the Author

Jeff Pearlman was born in New York in 1972. He graduated from the University of Delaware and began his journalism career at a weekly newspaper in 1989. He is the author of numerous books including The Bad Guys Won!: A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-Chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, show more Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team to Ever Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best; Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty; Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s; and Gunslinger: the remarkable, improbable, iconic life of Brett Favre. He is a columnist for SI.com, a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and other publications, and blogs regularly on jeffpearlman.com. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

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I don't typically give biographies a full 5-star review because the story is mostly written for the author and they tend to lean in one of two directions. Either they are poorly concealed fans of the subject who highlight all the positives and play-down or outright ignore the less pleasant parts. Or they rip the subject apart pointing out every piece of dirt. I expected by the title for this to be one of the former. Instead, Jeff Pearlman has written one of the most balanced accounts of a sports star I have read. All the highlights are noted, but they are put in context of everything else that was happening at the time. Bo is portrayed with all the complexities including his vast capacity to be both endlessly charitable and endlessly horrible depending on the person and circumstance.

If you want all the hype, go read Bo's autobiography. If you want to really learn about the man and the myth... read The Last Folk Hero.
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csayban | 2 other reviews | Dec 13, 2023 |
The tales of excess on the part of many Dallas Cowboys are something out of a pornographer's dream.Throw in an exhibitionist lineman and egos the size of--well--Texas, and it's a wonder the team could win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. You'll even develop some sympathy for the unlikable Jimmy Johnson, because, even though he was an asshole, he was at least an asshole who know what he was doing. Overall, though, this book is not Pearlman's best work. At times it looks like he has already written the storyline--using lots of superlatives--and now has to work a few facts in. Perhaps a book about such an unlovable group of characters has to be unlovable itself. If so, Pearlman has succeeded.… (more)
½
 
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datrappert | 4 other reviews | Oct 8, 2023 |
Pearlman's book about the 1986 Mets doesn't hold back on the profanity or the unkind opinions these guys sometimes had about each other--but even moreso about their opponents. The book is incredibly entertaining from beginning to end, and the cast of characters is one you won't forget. It seems just about everyone talked to Pearlman, and while the stories of some, especially Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, are sad ones of Hall of Fame careers sidetracked by drugs, there are other stories of guys who made the most of their one opportunity for a championship--and are still basking in the glory. This is definitely not for the easily offended, but a book that pulled any punches would hardly be appropriate for its subject. Pearlman is also funny--not in an obvious way like another baseball writer, Mike Shropshire, tries to be on every page, but just funny throughout. Certainly a deeper book than Shropshire's account of the 1973-1975 Texas Rangers, Seasons in Hell.… (more)
½
 
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datrappert | 8 other reviews | Oct 3, 2023 |
The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson by Jeff Pearlman was a fun biography that I listened to. For me this was an enjoyable look back on a person who was in the sporting spotlight throughout my youth. Hearing the names of the players (even if some of them were mispronounced), places, games, and outcomes were a trip down memory lane. Fun to revisit and recall, I caught myself sometimes head shaking at the ability of Mr. Jackson to separate himself with feats of absolute amazing athletic ability.
This was the premise of the book, Bo Jackson a human who has/had a larger-than-life impact on the sports of football, baseball and track. Was Pearlman right to use the word fold hero? Would I use the folk hero? You know what, maybe...Folk heroes are about stories, about crazy events, impossible feats told repeatedly. This is Bo Jackson.
While Bo was mostly in incredibly gifted individual in the realm of athletics, he was also an incredible diva who was oft injured, and moody. Heck, if there was one other thing that I got out of the book was that rivaling his athletic ability was is ego and his jackassery.
Mr. Pearlman walks us through Bo's life from his parents and birth, through his tough and poor youth, his high school sports mastery, college athletic domination (kinda), his pro careers, injury and post injury life. Much of the focus seems to be on his youth and college years, with the remaining 1/4 of the book left to tell of his pro sports, injury and post injury life. I felt that this was covered way too quickly, relatively speaking as there is/was so much there to cover and wasn't.
Pearlman's prose were well written. The story never seemed to drag from that stand point. Looking back it is a bit perplexing that he would get into the minutia with high school baseball games that would take multiple pages to describe, but cover whole major league baseball seasons in just a couple...
All-in-all Pearlman did his job by detailing the life, the athletic life for the most part, of the exceptional athlete that was Vincent 'Bo' Jackson. Was he the greatest athlete ever? That is not answered and is still a debate that will, like most folk heroes, be talked about for a long time to come.
JD Jackson as the reader/narrator did OK, but is limited in his vocal range, not that great when speaking in a more feminine tone, and mispronounced professional football and baseball players names.
I would recommend this to those interested in sport biographies. I give it three stars.
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Schneider | 2 other reviews | Jun 13, 2023 |

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