"I never saw a guy having so much fun and crying at the same time."Drugs, sex, exploitation, and alcohol provide the octane for 8 days in the life of Phil Elliott an aging wide receiver for a Dallas professional football team. Hunter S. Thompson would have been holding his hand up by day four saying take me out coach. I might have lasted two days. Elliott not only lasts the entire span, but shows up to football practice every day and plays a professional game by day seven. If anyone is looking t [...]
Treasure of the Rubbermaids 13: Are You Ready For Some Football Under the Friday Night Lights On Any Given Sunday?The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.This book had crossed my mind several times over the past year before and du [...]
I picked up Peter Gent's "North Dallas Forty" after Dr. Z (the formr Sports Illustrated columnist)'s recommendation. Always in the elusive hunt for a good football book, I excitedly hunted down a copy of the book which my favorite sports writer described in glowing terms.It's not that Gent is a bad writer. In fact, his writing is impressive at times, showing conscious styling and acute literary sense. I genuinely admired how he structured the book so that the development, climax, and dénouement [...]
A ridiculously ambitious novel from a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver (!) who I will always picture as Nick Nolte, in spite of the strange, wizard-like author photo on the back cover. This book is basically responsible for Any Given Sunday decades later, and, in fact, was made into its own oddly touching movie adaptation way back when. That movie lacks one important detail, however. Yes, I'm talking about the gory, action-packed, racially charged bloodbath of a conclusion. What the what??? Y [...]
I saw the movie made from this book years ago and that ignited my interest in reading the original story. There are ways that the book is better and ways the movie is better. Both are about 8 days in the life of a professional football player, a receiver. Most of the actions depicted in the book also show up in the movie, although the tone is much more light-hearted in the movie.Although I've never played pro football, this book certainly had the feeling of authenticity. That being said, there w [...]
Peter Gent's jarring Roman a clef about playing for the late-60s Dallas Cowboys still holds up well today. A no-holds-barred account on the violent life of an NFL athlete, it gives the reader pause for reflection that even in 2011, the players in the league are playing under less than optimal circumstances with their bodies as their only commodities.
North Dallas Forty by Peter Gent is a novelized equivalent of baseball's non-fiction Ball Four by Jim Bouton. Protagonist Phil Elliott tells the story of the Dallas Cowboys of the 60s who party, drink, use drugs, womanize, endure terrible pain, suffer racism, and feel fear. Phil "finally realizes that opponents & teammates alike are his adversaries, & he must deal & dispense with them all. He is on his way to understanding the spirit that underlies the business of competitive sport. [...]
North Dallas Forty seemed like an appropriate book choice during Super Bowl Week. I have only seen bits of the movie with Nick Norte and Mac Davis. Certainly much has changed in NFL football in the approximately 50 years since this book was conceived by Peter Gent yet the bodily sacrifices of the players is likely similar with better medical care and more careful control of pain killing drugs. Phil Elliot is just trying to survive in the league another week. He gives his body but will not surren [...]
*** Here Be Spoilers ***Peter Gent broke open the secretive world of pro football just as Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" had peeled back the horsehide of pro baseball. By the way, Gent, his last name, is pronounced with a hard G, as in 'gator' or 'gavel' (as he explained on an NPR interview since the interviewer commonly mistakenly used the soft G pronunciation as in 'gentleman'). Gent's path into the NFL was an odd one in that he didn't play college football but was an all-Big Ten basketball player a [...]
The recreational drugs and sex scenes are tedious, but, hey, it was the 70s. Which also explains the paranoia and hippie pseudo philosophy. Sadly, the pain, sexism, and general nastiness of the NFL seem unchanged. Extra star for being early to tell the truth, and to try to explain why they play the game (and for spawning what's actually a better movie than the book).
The athlete as commodity.Well, this isn't a book filled with sweetness and light, for certain sure. Mostly, it made me sad about life in the sixties, together with a sneaking suspicion attitudes haven't necessarily changed in some respects. Also? This is a good description of why athletes get the big bucks for their commercial life.
Somethin' ElseI've read this book several times, and it seems to get better each time. It's depiction of life in the 60s is spot on, with the added insanity of professional sports. The ending is unforgettable.
The semi-autobiographical novel about the NFL in the 1970s is quite an education about the game in that era. It seems to be aimed at shocking the reader, but Jim Bouton had already accomplished much the same task with his baseball memoir Ball Four. And we all know that football had to be worse. The difference is that Jim Bouton is always likable because he has such a sense of humor about the foibles of players and coaches. Bouton also gives you people to root for. You come away convinced Johnny [...]
I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional account of the final eight days of a professional football player's career with a Dallas professional football team. The characters, if not the story line (who knows?), are based on the real Dallas Cowboys, for whom Gent played, its players, coaches, and owners of the mid-1960s. Phillip Elliot (Peter Gent), the protagonist through whose eyes the story is narrated is too independent, publicly profane, and cynical to fit the Dallas team's corporate mold and is e [...]
When I came across a copy of North Dallas Forty, it seemed like I should read it, considering I'm from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and grew up with the Dallas Cowboys playing on the T.V. at every family gathering.For the first quarter of the book, I wondered if the characters would play any football at all, as the protagonist and his fellow players wander around the Metroplex shooting animals, getting drunk, smoking marijuana, popping pills, and boinking their own women and those of others. Howev [...]
I really enjoyed reading North Dallas Forty. I read it for an article I was writing for D Magazine on The Great Dallas Novel. Peter Gent was a very talented, entertaining writer. Also a very angry writer. He loved football, but was angry at what the game was becoming. The book has an amazing amount of drug use and almost everyone in the book is fairly detestable. But there are some brilliant observations about human behavior.I've never been interested in football particularly. But I couldn't put [...]
I like this book a lot. Mostly because the book explains how someone life is as a football player. Plus it shows that someone people might not like you but you can overcome that make a lot of people like you because you try your hardest at something. But it can also teach you that if you try the hardest at things that you won’t be at the top any more. Not a hall a fame player but someone who loves to play the game of football. Plus it tells you about all of the changes that he has to go throug [...]
A roman a clef of the late 60's in the NFL. Gent's story details the drugs, the women, and the endless pain that follows these men through their gridiron battles. Now, more a period piece, North Dallas depicts Texas and its prejudices against blacks and drugs as reflexively as it shines a light on the cavalcade of pain killers from codeine to novocain to the ubiquitous use of Amphetamines. Certainly, much has changed in the NFL as regards racism and drug use, but I was left to wonder about the p [...]
c1973. I read this book after seeing the fantastic film which is unusual for me as I normally do it the other way around. But I knew that there must be more to the story than depicted in the film. Written by Mr Gent who, I believe, was actually a "former offensive end for the Dallas cowboys. (Don't you just love the terminology!!!!!), I found the story riveting even for a lass living on the Dark Continent at the time. Larry King liked this book calling Mr Gent "He's good, astonishingly so, and s [...]
As a dedicated football fan, I was perusing nfl and came across an article claiming the movie based on this book as the greatest football movie ever - I don't remember much of the movie (watched over twenty years ago) but it reminded me that I read the book before I watched the movied I remember it being a good read - surprising at the time that the behind-the-scenes life of players was not one thought of by childhood admirers. But the former football player exposed the hypocrisy of the NFL's st [...]
Wow. This is one hell of a book. Unfortunately it only seems to garner notice and fans from sports fans. However, there is very little about the game of football in this incredible novel. There is, however, lots of self-loathing, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuous and perverse sexual encounters, and lots of out-loud laughter. Not sure if the female side would really enjoy this book, but any young/middle aged male definitely figures to benefit. Very existential, very funny, and extremely enterta [...]
I bought this book after seeing the Nick Nolte movie adapted from it. Unsurprisingly, the book is far better than the movie, and is quite the insight into professional football in the late 60s, and the inevitable clash between the players and the coaches: even the "law-abiding" players clashed with the coaches' ideas. Also, Gent is a very good writer, and he really captured what he/the main character went through--the daily routine of dealing with all the injuries incurred, the drugs used to mai [...]
I'll try not to get into too many details but there may be some mild spoilers. I really wanted to love this book. At times I was really digging it and felt like it was taking me somewhere. I thought there was significant redemption building. Instead it tried to make me hate professional football and be as much of a downer as possible. I don't need a happy ending but this just seemed sour for sour's sake. I guess you never know until you read them.
Before steroids, amphetamines and narcotics were athletes' favorite performance enhancers.This book is a "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for the football set. A very fun and well-written book that TC turned me on to a while back.
Although it was published in the 60's, North Dallas Forty was way ahead of its time in terms of exposing the use of pain killing drugs teams would use to get their players on the field when they otherwise could not play due to injuries. Devastating and funny too. Phil Elliot is one of my favorite characters in literature, sort of a James Dean in cleets.
North Dallas 40 ranks right up there with some of the best books ever written about professional football. The characters in this book are able to invoke a full range of emotional responses from the reader. Gent is an extremely interesting writer and this book will be what he was remembered for. (originally posted on )