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Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  27,966 ratings  ·  1,366 reviews

In the state of Texas American football is a religion. And nowhere is more fanatical about its football than the small town of Odessa. There, every Friday night from September to November, a bunch of seventeen-year-old kids play their hearts out for the honour of their high school. In front of 20,000 people.

In 1988 H.G. Bissinger spent a season in Odessa discovering just

Kindle Edition, 402 pages
Published (first published 1988)
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Ian I really liked this book. Its very intersesting and when i read it in 6th grade it wasnt too diffucult. He shouldnt have much problems!!!(:
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This book is heartbreaking.

I grew up in a very liberal part of the country. My family is comprised mostly of hard-working European immigrants who value education above all else. In many ways, I should be the last person able to appreciate or understand life in small-town Texas with its conservative values and its unhealthy obsession with high school sports. Yet, I actually did attend a private junior/senior high school with a hockey program that is probably the best in the country. We won the st
I was on an airplane one Friday night when I was reading this book. As the plane took off from Cleveland I noticed a high school football game in progress. I could see the lights.. the two teams on the field.. the crowd and the marching band. I watched the field as long as I could. Just at the point when I couldn't see the stadium anymore my eye caught the lights of another football field. Then.. when I looked out over the countryside I noticed that there were football games in most of the small ...more
I didn't grow up in a football-watching family. My father, who apparently loved the game, passed away when I was young. My mother was much more interested in baseball, and had coworkers with season tickets, so I grew up going to the Kingdome to watch Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Joey Cora, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson... I even spent my high school prom night at Safeco Field, watching Freddy Garcia pitch a great game against the Yankees (who he'd eventually join, years later, sigh) ...more
It's not a surprise that I loved this book. It is about high school football.

I watched a lot of football growing up (Friday nights: high school football; Saturday: University of Colorado football; Sunday: NFL football - I was a huge 49ers fan). I probably could have done something great with all the hours I spent watching football. Ah well.

My high school football team won the state championship, and I remember it as a glory day - it was snowing, the team was playing in then-Folsom Field (the U
If you think this book is about high school football in Texas, you're pretty much wrong. There is a fair amount about football, but this book is really a sort of sociological study of a small Texas town where Football is played. There is a lot about the difficulties of the local economy after the oil slump, and in general the book gives what I thought was a fairly negative view of the people and their preoccupations.

I almost never like movies better than books, but in this case I thought the mo
My friends Matt & Cassie introduced us to the television show "Friday Night Lights" this past winter. I had only heard of it on blogs before then and never really paid any attention to it.

Wow, was I late to the party. The television show is excellent and I highly recommend it, even if you don't like football.

Being the bookworm that I am, I had to find the inspiration for the television show. I actually bought a copy of the book for my friend Matt for Christmas and the four of us eventually d
Dear Mr. Bissinger,

I think watching the Intelligent Squared debate you were in is great. I loved the television series based on this book. I learned something about myself while reading this. Even good writing such as yours, does not make me care a whit about football.

CJ Herron

Mrs. Ebarvia

World Lit


H.G. Bissinger was born in New York City in November of 1954. He spent time writing for the Philadelphia inquirer. Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger is about a small town in Texas called Odessa. Permian High school football is a way of life and almost every kid dreams of wearing the black and white under Friday night lights some day. Permian’s goal in the 1988 season was to reach the state championship. The competition is high and the road is tough, but
Neil Powell
This book is about so much more than American Football. On the surface, it tells the story of the Permian Panthers, the high school football team from Permian High School in Odessa, Texas. It focuses on 6 of the senior players and some of the coaching staff. It gives us accounts of their backgrounds, families and their feelings about school, life and playing football.

The season in question (1988) was supposed to be the year where the team were too good, they were meant to win the state champion
Affecting, amusing, alarming, appalling account of the winningest high-school football team in Texas. (Apparently this review was brought to you by the letter A.) Along the way, Bissinger discusses popularity, racism, sexism, fresh-baked cookies, memories, oil, home economics, class conflicts, statutory rape, algebra, the savings-and-loan crisis, lowered expectations, skewed priorities, algebra, and armed robbery.

Some of my favorite passages:

Coach Belew: "I want one hell of a wreck out there. I
Makayla Osterberg
Growing up a football watcher and managing our local high school football team, it is no surprise that I enjoyed H.G. Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights.
Bissinger does a great job of painting a picture while you’re reading and letting you get to know the characters. You can imagine yourself with the six senior starters and part of the coaching staff in the run-down town, at the games, and attending practice while dying of the Texas heat and drinking the unsanitary water. Making you want to re
Quinn Mcclune
The setting of this book takes place is a small town in Texas called Odessa. In Odessa there is a lot of crime and hate, but for a few months of the year they are all about their Permian Panthers. James "Boobie" Miles is their star player and the teams ticket to a state title until something crazy happens. In this book you will read about a teams up and down journey to see what they have in them.
I chose to read this book because I love football. I am a 11th grader in high school and this next f
Carol Storm
Classic reporting, but needs more football and less patronizing social commentary on those poor ignorant Texans and how they "cling" to oil and football!
Abbie Chem
Beyond being thoroughly well-written and enjoyable, this book is a stunning work that manages to cover the racial, socioeconomic, educational, and football history of Odessa, Texas. As with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this book exposes the ways in which the black population has been constantly exploited and dehumanized for the benefit of White America. At the same time, it is a fascinating exploration of how football insanity and the booms and busts of a volatile oil economy shapes a c ...more
This is a fantastic book. I felt sick to my stomach reading it.

I played football in high school in a place where there was much more than high school football for most people to do on a Friday night. I can relate to some aspects of the story: football games were the only sporting events in my school where admission was charged, they drew probably five times the attendees of any other sport, and we wore our jerseys proudly to school on pep rally days and were probably afforded more attention as a
Kevin Morales
Introduction, the Perimian Panthers Football team have special players that play with heart and athleticism. Boobie Miles is an All-American/ All-State Runningback that is a freak of nature. Coach Gary and Quarterback Mike have a great relationship and are the leaders of this team. Don Billingsley has yet to prove anything and keeps fumbling the ball consistently. These characters are a true definition of a team they give all they have and never give up on each other.
Next, In Odessa, Texas a H
So this is probably more of a 3 1/2 star book. I really did love it for the in-depth look at Texas football. I didn't realize it but I lived in Texas when this book was researched by the author during 88/89 and was part of a massive 5A Texas high school. Perhaps that's why I'm obesessed w/ FNL and the whole franchise. The writing was good but I felt trailed off into too much detail about certain individuals or history of Texas/Odessa in some instances. I think some of it was necessary for backgr ...more
I'm glad I bought this at Half Price Books so the author didn't make any money off of me. I always read the forward of any book and this one, the author tells you up front he is looking for a sport to bash to be the next "A Season on the Brink" and Texas makes an easy target. The writer tells you he has an opinion of Texas before he heads south and writes the story based on his preconceived notions, not anything he actually saw in Texas.

The writer finds negative stories about Texas history and
Friday Night Lights is a true-life account of the Permian Panthers in their 1988 season. More importantly, it’s an account of the isolated town of Odessa, Texas and the pressure they place on the team to perform. This non-fiction book, turned movie, turned television show reaches into the psyche of Middle America and tells the story of many rural towns which invest in the success of their high school football team in light of economic downturn.

This book is contrasted between the poverty of Odess
The book Friday Night Lights is far from boring. It is a great documentary of the 1988 Permian High School football season. This book is different from any other book I've read because this book was not written by a player on the team, coach, or even a fan of the team. This book was written by the a non-biased reporter by the name of H.G. Bissinger.

Bissinger really had a way of making you feel like you were apart of the 1988 football season, even if you were just sitting at home reading this boo
"Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream"
By H.G. Bissinger

Before I knew of the book, I knew of the TV show, which itself grew out of the film adaptation. And I knew it was about high school football in the heart of Texas where football and religion were one and the same. I don't count myself as a fan of sports movies but I do watch them from time to time, but you won't find me actively searching for one. So it went with "Friday Night Lights". The film adaption came and went in theaters
I had a very hard time getting through this book, although I have deep interest in both football and sociological study. At times, the writing seemed sensational with heavy-handed similes and play-by-play descriptions. At other times, it was quite technical, citing statistics of oil production and population densities. The book really shone when highlighting the people involved: players, coaches, other townspeople; the reader could tell Bissinger cared quite a bit for his subjects and was pained ...more
I'm going about this whole trifecta of book-movie-TV show all wrong, but what I've seen has only been mutually reinforcing in terms of impact.

High school football an institution without equal in West Texas communities--no sacrifice is too small, no perfection good enough to satisfy the town that rallies around the football team. Bissinger's point in first crafting this novel was to demonstrate how the sport could so unite and buoy a town, but he also came to realize that it could hurt and maim b
Derrick Brungraber

Texas is one of the most populous states in the United States. There are hundreds of thousands of kids that play football in Texas but the small town of Odessa has some of the best players in the country on the Permian football squad. The Permian Panthers are just 52 men looking to be number one in the football world of Texas. H.G. Bissinger gives the reader a look into the life of a coach and his kids in a school rich with a winning history and the want to be great. Bissinger illustrates what i
Thomas Schwartz
I really enjoyed the second third of the book. It further discusses the 'need' for a state championship and the complete societal support Odessa, Texas has within its 'Mojo' Panthers football team. Permian High School is regarded as one of the best football schools in all of Texas, and with the expectations of a championship, their was great dissapiontment and doubt aftyer the injury to James 'Boobie' Miles. Motivation and leadership mainly from Mike Winchell (QB) helped get the Permian Panthers ...more
Joe Mccahon
The first third of the novel is the background of the little town in Texas called Odessa. In this little town, it may not have big corporations or a booming economy, but I does have one thing, high school football. The local high school team, the Panthers, has a great tradition of succeeding in football. To the players on the team and even the locals of Odessa, their "American Dream" is to win state. As one of the largest states in the US, Texas is also one of the best at football. That tall
Matt Dyches
Friday night lights is about a high school football team that doesnt have much size or strenght. Even though they arent the biggest they are always contenders for the national championship. They opened their season up great but they had their star running back come out with a knee injury. The next couple of games were pretty rough without their star running back. Permians biggest game was comming up against Middlen Lee, if they were to win this game they would go to the playoffs and if they lose ...more
Patrick McCoy
I’ve been a fan of Friday Night Lights, the movie and the TV series, and after reading an episode review at the AV Club which suggested the book had a rich sociological analysis within the story inspired me to pick up H.G. Bissinger’s book that spawned the film and TV show. I guess you could say that the central theme in the book is football as the all encompassing spectacle that ties together the West Texas community that backs its powerhouse highs school team the Permian Panthers, but through ...more
Mike Stubel
First off, I have to thank Zach Leon for insisting I read this book. If Friday Night Lights isn't the best story of sports and culture and history and human nature and politics and racism, I'm not sure what is. Bissinger does a tremendous job taking the individual stories of a group of teenagers and showing how they came to shape the destiny of an entire town.

What was most telling was that I found myself rooting for Permian by the end of the book. I can't even explain why. Here were a bunch of
Rocky Lunceford
A main character in the book was Boobie Miles. He was an all around perfect running back. He had every attribute you would want from a man playing that position such as speed, size, physical strength, mental toughness and just a plain meanness about him when he was on the football field. He would never be denied what he wanted on the field. He played high school football for the Permian Panthers in the great state of Texas. Football is everything in Texas and especially high school football. Boo ...more
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H.G. Bissinger has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the National Headliner Award, and the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel for his reporting. The author has written for the television series NYPD Blue and is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. He lives in Philadelphia.
More about H.G. Bissinger...
Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind and Heart of My Extraordinary Son A Prayer for the City After Friday Night Lights: When the Games Ended, Real Life Began. An Unlikely Love Story. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping

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“I'm gonna party, see how intoxicated I can get and how many rules I can flaunt. That's my motto.” 58 likes
“This must not be planet earth,” Cone told his partner. “This must be hell.” But it wasn’t. It was just Odessa.” 1 likes
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