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  • Peter Jones

Best Packer Books - Part 1

Following on from the superb recent UK Packers podcast where Steve chatted with Ralph Hickock (LISTEN HERE) about his excellent biography of Johnny “Blood” McNally – The Vagabond Halfback – I thought it may be of interest to list 5 more Packers related books that are absolutely worth checking out for Packers fans (and indeed for any football fans) least in the opinion of this writer. I’m sure that many of you have read some of these but hopefully there’ll be one or two which you haven’t come across yet.

Within each I’ve provided an alternative (in case you’ve already read the recommended book) – this means that this list is really 10 books. The only criterion I used for inclusion is that it had to be one that I had personally read.

Obviously, this isn’t a definitive list by any means and as I write this I’m thinking that we will probably need a future article (or articles) to include more books that are worth checking out – indeed I suspect that you all have your own favourites that we should add to this list so comment below with your recommendation.

In the meantime, happy reading if you have the opportunity to get hold of any of these books:

1. When Pride Still Mattered

(Author: David Maraniss, Publisher: Simon & Schuster Inc.)

This biography of Vince Lombardi, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Maraniss, was published in 1999 and for me this immediately became the one of the books that sets the standard for all Lombardi related books.

Alternative: Vince

(Author: Michael O’Brien, Publisher: Harper Collins).

If you’ve read the above book and are looking for another biography on Lombardi, then for me, this 1989 book is it. It’s a very detailed and long examination of the great man.

2. Instant Replay – The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer

(Authors: Jerry Kramer & Dick Schaap, Publisher(s): Random House Inc. / Signet / NAL)

Kramer’s diary of his and the Packers’ 1967 season is one of the most famous of all football books and certainly one that no Packers’ fan should be without. This very personal account has been re-published on a number of occasions and should be easily obtainable.

Alternative: Distant Replay

(Authors: Jerry Kramer & Dick Schaap, Publisher(s): Putnam / Jove)

Written nearly 20 years after Instant Replay (1985), the authors looked back at those Lombardi years and also provided an update on many of the players from those years and what they were doing now (at the time of writing).

3. Mean on Sunday – The Autobiography of Ray Nitschke

(Authors: Ray Nitschke & Robert W. Wells, Publisher: Prairie Oak Press)

Excellent autobiography that was originally published in 1973 but was extremely hard to get hold of until it was re-published in 1998. Particularly, provides a great insight into the off the field background and character of a Packers great.

Alternative: Bart Starr: When Leadership Mattered

(Author: David Claerbaut, Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing)

Enjoyable biography of Nitschke’s long-time team mate Bart Starr which is most interesting for its pre-Packers depiction of Starr and for its off the field descriptions.

4. Curly Lambeau – The Man Behind The Mystique

(Author: David Zimmerman, Publisher: Eagle Books)

Zimmerman has written many books and has become a prolific writer about the Packers specifically. This biography is one of the very few books available that concentrate specifically on Lambeau as a person (rather than the Packers during the Lambeau era). I can’t recommend this book enough.

Alternative: In Search of a Hero – The Life and Times of Tony Canadeo

(Author: David Zimmerman, Publisher: Eagle Books)

Another of Zimmerman’s Packers related books, this biography covers the life of one of the longest tenured of all Green Bay Packers (Canadeo spent more than 60 years with the organisation, including being the team’s first 1,000 yard rusher). It’s a fascinating read and covers a very interesting period in Packers history when Lambeau’s time with the team comes to an end.

5. The Packer Way

(Authors: Ron Wolf & Paul Attner, Publisher: St. Martin’s Press)

Wolf and Attner discuss Wolf’s principles and decision making process and show how they can be applied to business. They use very specific examples of the decisions that Wolf made and how and why he made them. It’s a really good book for understanding a number of the big front-office moments of the 1990s Packers.

Alternative: Green & Golden Moments – Bob Harlan and the Green Bay Packers

(Authors: Bob Harlan & Dale Hoffman, Published by KCI Sports Publishing).

Very interesting personal account of Harlan’s time with the Packers, his rise through the organisation and how some of the most important decisions in the history of the franchise came about. I think this book is a great compliment to Wolf & Attner’s The Packer Way.

Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog


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