When Bill Walsh took over coaching duties for the San Francisco 49ers in the late 1970s, the team was arguably the worst in the NFL—and he was stuck trying to shake a rep that he lacked what it took to lead a pro team. Within two years, the 49ers had won the Super Bowl (against Walsh's former employers, the Cincinnati Bengals, no less) and were well on their way to becoming the team of the '80s. Harris's biography is grounded by extensive interviews with Walsh, but the players and others who were there bring nuance to the portrait, revealing that the Genius who was admired for his confident demeanor on game day could also be a brittle, insecure personality off the field. While game highlights do appear, equal attention is paid to Walsh's team-building skills, with lengthy analyses of his selections from the college draft pool—including Joe Montana, an underappreciated college quarterback who became one of the game's all-time greats. Harris clearly knows his football, but the personal drama of Walsh's career is told with such verve that even nonfans will be riveted. (Sept. 2)
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“Exemplary . . . the rare biography that lives up to its subtitle’s lavish claims.”—New York Times Book Review
“[David] Harris illustrates [Bill] Walsh’s incredible passion for the game, his competitive drive, and even his whimsical sense of humor. Walsh was one of the NFL’s greatest coaches, and Harris’s book does him justice.”—Booklist
“The personal drama of Walsh’s career is told with such verve that even nonfans will be riveted.”—Publishers Weekly
“Because of [Harris’s] exhaustive reporting, the reader feels in good hands.”—Wall Street Journal
“Recommended.”—Library Journal, starred review