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The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Michael Lewis , Grover Gardner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 13 2009
In football, as in life, the value we place on people changes with the rules of the games they play.

When we first meet the young man at the center of this extraordinary and moving story, 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. And he has no serious experience playing organized 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.

           
In The Blind Side, Lewis shows us a largely unanalyzed but inexorable trend in football working its way down from the pros to the high school game, where it collides with the life of a single young man to produce a narrative of great and surprising power.

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From Publishers Weekly

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The titular "blind side" is a right-handed NFL quarterback's left side. The defensive linemen rushing the quarterback from that side often arrive undetected and thus can inflict great damage on the opponent's key offensive player as he sets himself to pass. The key to minimizing quarterback damage is an effective offensive left tackle. Lewis, most recognizable as the author of the best-selling Moneyball (2003)--about the growing reliance on statistical analysis in baseball--describes the NFL's ever-growing obsession with left tackles as a means to counter defenders who seem to grow bigger, stronger, and more vicious each season. He juxtaposes that narrative with the unlikely story of Michael Oher, who was living on the streets of Memphis when he was 15 years old. He also happened to be six-feet-five-inches tall, weigh 350 pounds, and possess definite athletic talent. Almost through sheer serendipity, he is adopted by a wealthy family whose members make it their mission to see that he has an opportunity to benefit from his amazing physical gifts. The book works on three levels. First as a shrewd analysis of the NFL; second, as an expose of the insanity of big-time college football recruiting; and, third, as a moving portrait of the positive effect that love, family, and education can have in reversing the path of a life that was destined to be lived unhappily and, most likely, end badly. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Riveting Story of Resurrection Jan. 29 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Imagine that you are a large (over 300 pounds) African-American teenager who lives in the worst part of Memphis. You never knew your father (and he will soon be murdered). Your mother is addicted to drugs and doesn't do much to provide for you. You have no bed. You don't know where your next meal is coming from. You haven't gone to enough school to know how to do much of anything.

What do you want out of life? You want to be Michael Jordan . . . just like millions of other teenagers. You've spent endless hours on the playgrounds practicing as a shooting guard.

What will you become in a handful of years? One of the most heavily recruited college football players in the nation and a top professional prospect who people are watching as you learn how to be a left tackle.

The story of how Michael Oher made this transition is one of the most amazing, moving, and fascinating real-life stories it has ever been my pleasure to read. Whether or not you like football, you'll find this book to be impossible to put down.

Michael Lewis does a remarkable job in telling the story. Mr. Lewis was fortunate to have a long-term friendship with Sean Tuohy, one of the many people who helped Michael Oher fulfill his potential. As a result, Mr. Lewis enjoyed amazing access to the people involved in Michael's life . . . and eventually got some help from Michael as well.

The Blind Side is four stories in one:

1. Michael's life before he met the Tuohy family.

2. Michael's progress from being ignorant to becoming a highly recruited college football prospect.

3. Michael's adjustment to college.

4. The changes in professional football that created an irresistible demand for someone with Michael's physical capabilities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lineman get their due Dec 30 2006
By Coach C TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
A great chronology on the emergence of the left tackle position in pro football. Who could forget that devastating hit by LT on Theismann that ended his career. Lewis does a good job explaining what has led to one of the most important positions in football, protecting the QBs blind side.

The parallel story of Michael Oher who could become the next Jonathan Odgen or Walter Jones is a quite puzzling though. Especially Lewis' insinuation that the Tuohy's took him in so that they could steer him towards Ole Miss.

Not as good as Moneyball, but the book is easy to read and well-researched.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Medicore June 29 2014
Format:Paperback
I almost always prefer books to movies, as most readers do. In this case, save some time, watch the movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bookworm Wayne's short review Sept. 17 2013
Format:Paperback
Read this book if you want to learn about LT (aka Lawrence Taylor, the greatest Linebacker ever) or about 'West-Coast Offence' or how the epic battle between Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells started (for those that don't know, pretty much *every* coach today can trace their coaching careers back to these two men, or Marty Schottenheimer). Another topic covered is the lopsided economics that is NCAA and how a virtual league run under the guise of education in order to basically get players that play for free.

Overall this book was great, quick read. I had trouble putting it down and more than once traded a few more hours of sleep (badly needed with my newborn 2 month-old daughter) to keep reading. Much like Moneyball and Hoop Dreams, this was great book about sports. If you're a sports fan or just a fan of good documentary-like books, this is a must read.

For a more detailed review, please go to my blog here: [...]
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