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Goat Brothers

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  107 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
They were golden boys in Pi K. A., a jock house at Berkeley, chasing co-eds, cramming, chugging: Larry Colton, Loren Hawley, Jim van Hoften, Steve Radich, and Ron Vaughn. Goat Brothers is a true-life American saga about these five men who meet as fraternity brothers in the early '60s, and of the forces that shape them as they struggle to adjust to adulthood in an explosive ...more
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published August 12th 1995 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1993)
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Books About College Life
48th out of 94 books — 147 voters
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UCB Summer Reading 2014
5th out of 14 books — 1 voter

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Dec 03, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
This is the story of a jock/frat boy and four of his friends who were in the Pi KA fraternity at U.C. Berkeley in the early 60s. They were conservatives who resented the hippies and their political protests that impeded the frat boys' efforts to get drunk and get laid. It's a completely unfamiliar world to me and interesting to read about as a kind of ethnography (though this book is in no way academic). But it was disturbing to see how much these boys hated women and how easy it was for them to ...more
Jul 24, 2015 Jan rated it liked it
My sis and I trade books. She finds hers in secondhand stores so I often read things I might otherwise have missed. This was entertaining for me because it takes place in part at my alma mater - U.C. Berkeley - around the time I was there. It was fun to reminisce and such. This book follows six guys who start out as fraternity brothers in a jock fraternity, so everyone is a football player or baseball player or multi-sport athlete. The author is one of those frat boys. He follows the men as they ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very honest and exposing story of the lives of five fraternity brothers growing up through the 60's, 70's and 80's. One of them dies living life to the fullest.

Larry Colton was courageous in exposing his misogynistic tendencies (and his friends, as well).

At the end, it made me wonder how he views these tendencies, now that his two daughters are in that same climate and age.

A very fast read.
Charlene Hamilton
I was about 13-14 years old when the events in this book happened. I seriously had no idea that four Frat brothers in California could be such selfish jerks. I've never heard such of women who thought they were in a serious relationship with someone being treated like whores and going along with everything. The drinking, womanizing, lack of respect for almost everyone except themselves. Not caring about grades or graduating, constantly borrowing money from family members with absolutely no compu ...more
Arch Bala
Jun 03, 2015 Arch Bala rated it really liked it
It’s been like forever since I first read this during my first year in College – I feel like I was reliving their “frat days” back then up until I graduated. Phew! Good Ol’ days! Of course, based on true events – it was really admirable for Larry Colton to give us a glimpse of his life and his friends / “brothers'” antics during the 60’s – it was almost hateful at some point, poignant depending on your mood while reading it, cringe-worthy that’s for sure but the brutal honesty is what makes it ( ...more
Oct 29, 2014 Chrisl rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, 1990s, sports
After reading Colton's fine Counting Coup, I wanted to read his early 60s bio.


Heartfelt but taxing chronicle of the lives of five fraternity brothers from their 60's matriculation at USC-Berkeley to their present middle age. The modern prototype for freelance journalist Colton's (Sports Illustrated, New York Times Magazine, etc.) beefy tome could be Mary McCarthy's The Group. But Colton is working here with five men (including himself) whose backgrounds (white, middle-class, Calif
Ross Lenhart
May 10, 2011 Ross Lenhart rated it it was amazing
Larry Colton pitched two innings for the Phillies at The Show. Those two innings makes him a major leaguer. A promising star who was "did in" by the Phillies management, and, yes, "did in" by himself as well. The Phillies' and major league baseball's loss is our gain, because Larry Colton is a superb writer. Maybe it is because I grew up in the same "goat brother" age and was a member of a fraternity, or maybe its because I just love non-fiction which examines the motivation, the loves, the live ...more
Kim Ess
Jan 27, 2016 Kim Ess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book seems like it might be geared more for men but I absolutely LOVED it. The author really gives great insight into what it was like coming of age in the early 60s. It helped me to understand my father's generation more as he was the same age as the men in this book. It's tragic and sad at times but it really defines the times. Great read!
Feb 03, 2008 Sam rated it really liked it
Larry as many of you know can be a bit of a curmudgeon. But he's also a terrific writer. I laughed so hard about him driving his car backwards with his daughter in the car because he couldn't get it into first. Community of Writers is a valuable organization and that's how I first learned about Larry, his books and started writing myself. Larry helped me begin. And Peter (Sears) helped me continue. I owe both of them so much admiration and respect, and for Larry, a punch in the arm for being so ...more
Mar 31, 2015 Chris rated it did not like it
Absolutely hated this book. Made me very glad that I wasn't around with these guys during their college "glory days."
Oct 28, 2008 Melody added it
I bailed out of this one early on. I read the first chapter and the last, looked at the photos and decided I just didn't care. I am not rating it because I got the impression that it's well written and interesting- just not to me. Frat boys grow up? They do tend to, after all.
Mar 29, 2007 Mollie rated it it was amazing
fantastic coming of age story...true story follows the lives of 5 frat brothers (one of whom writes the book) attending Berkeley in the late 60s and how their lives diverge, are impacted by their college experiences, where they end up.
April Howie
Jun 03, 2011 April Howie rated it really liked it
Excellent read ... and if you wanna know what hazing was done in the 60's it's in detail here (wow, who'd a thunk syrup and brulap bags would do such a thing).
Apr 06, 2009 Craig rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Sleeper. Very riveting book on life in the 60s and 70s.
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