Monday, July 09, 2007

Book Review: Instant Replay

My previous book review, of When Pride Still Mattered, notwithstanding, I'm generally a very nice person when it comes to book reviews. If a book is good, like with Pete Williams' The Draft, I try to give it as much praise as it deserves. Sometimes, though, I'm reminded that when it comes to book reviews, I'm still a rank amateur.

So it is with Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer. Kramer, the Packers' outstanding guard and a more thoughtful man than the average football player, collaborated with Dick Schaap on this diary of the Packers' 1967 season. It was perhaps the earliest good book on football, and still makes for an engrossing read. I'll turn the floor over to Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley, whose 2005 column on re-reading the book serves as the introduction for the newly-released edition:
[Instant Replay] has lost absolutely nothing over the past three and a half decades. It is funny, smart, evocative, honest and unpretentious. Its prose is Kramer's, dictated into a tape recorder and regularly mailed to Schaap as the season progressed. Schaap's role was "to organize, to condense, to clarify, and to punctuate," but he "did not have to polish Jerry Kramer's phrases or prompt his thoughts." All in all it's as good a job of collaboration between unprofessional writer and professional journalist as I can recall reading, and it is as vivid and engaging now as it was in 1968.

Seriously, it's that good. Now go read it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you liked Instant Replay, I strongly recommend Kramer's Distant Replay as well. It's a look back on the old Packers, using a 1984 reunion as the focal point and platform. Kramer does a good job relating what happened to each of the Packers up until 1984.