War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest
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War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  216 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The Vietnam War . . .
Nixon . . .
Kent State . . .
The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of total turmoil in America-the country was being torn apart by a war most people didn't support, young men were being taken away by the draft, and racial tensions were high. Nowhere was this turmoil more evident than on college campuses, the epicenters of the protest movement.
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 10th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2008)
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Ron
Oct 15, 2011 Ron rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: college football fans with a sense of history.
Rosenberg tracks a decade's span of one of the great college football rivalries from the year that Bo Schembechler became the head coach at Michigan to the attack on an opposing player that cost Woody Hayes his coaching job at Ohio State. The portraits of the coaches are strong, and many of the game passages are intensely dramatic. The contrast between Hayes and Schembechler's old-school mentality and the social upheavals that began with the student protests against Vietnam and spread throughout...more
Bernadette
I never thought I'd enjoy a book about football but this one kept me reading with pleasure. Michael Rosenberg, sports columnist, delves into the rivalry and friendship between legendary football coaches Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bo Schembechler of University of Michigan. Rosenberg tells the football story within the political/cultural context of the late 1960s and early 70s. I was a grad student at U of M from 1968-70 and it was fun to relive some of these times of protest along with the exc...more
Matthew Benz
Compelling look at the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry and the men who made it what it is today: Woody Hayes, the old master; Bo Schembechler, the brash protege; and Don Canham, the U-M athletic director who, for better or for worse, proved that college sports could be a big business.
Lesa
Oct 14, 2008 Lesa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ohio State/Michigan Fans
Recommended to Lesa by: Jim Holstine
John Eisenberg
original, well-researched, nicely written book
Roger
For a college football sports fan, this is a good book to read. Chronicles the great era of Woody versus Bo -student versus mentor- in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Great backdrop of the change in college life and athletics in this era. Football players were no longer crew cut short haired do everything coach says to indepenent thinkers with long hair and caught up in the drug culture along with the rest of college students in that era. Both coaches had a hard time adjusting to this change and t...more
Ravi
The book chronicles the "Ten Year War" between Ohio State and Michigan led by Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler from 1968 to 1978. Schembechler was both a player and assistant coach to Hayes and admired him greatly even during the war years.

The first half of the book was just as much about the Vietnam War, the counter culture movement, black power and the start of the transition of power from the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers than about football. In the second half Rosenberg provides th...more
Robyn
Mar 22, 2009 Robyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Football fans and History Buffs
This book was about some of the topics I love most in life--the late 60s/early 70s; college football; and the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry.

Whether you're a U of M or OSU fan (or not), Rosenberg writes a unique book that combines the 10 year War between Bo and Woody with the turbulent times on both campuses during their tenures as coaches. The different campus climates exist now--but the 60s and 70s with the changing face of America just adds to the disparities that exist in Michigan and Ohio toda...more
Andy
This book tells the story of Ohio State and Michigan’s “Ten Year War” from 1968-1978. The book doesn’t stick to strictly football. It manages to put Woody and Bo fight in a historical perspective. I enjoyed reading about the social climates of each university from 1968's rebellions, to the beginnings of the "me first" mentality on the football field in 1978.

I think the book was fair to both sides. Woody had decades of success with his system. Unfortunately, by the mid-1970's the system just wou...more
Brian DiMattia
This is a book with terrific intentions, but despite Michael Rosenberg's efforts it never manages to be more than the sum of its parts. It ends up as a straight forward history with a few interesting characters and anecdotes, and can't quite live up to its own ambitions.

The idea behind the book seemed an interesting one, consider the infamous rivalry and friendship between two legendary college coaches, Ohio State's Woody Hayes and the University of Michigan's Bo Schembechler, but consider it in...more
Stuart Nachbar
Michael Rosenberg’s War as They Knew It is a story where the ten year rivalry between two of college football’s greatest coaches is weaved into a chronicle of campus unrest during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

This is the story of the end of the era of football coach as campus authority figure as well as the beginning of two new eras, the era of college athletics as big business and the era of students as consumers of a college education. Both of those eras continue well into today. College...more
Nick West
Michael Rosenberg's "War As They Knew It" is not just a book about football. It's also a story of leadership, sociological shifts in middle America, and the evolution of higher education and its ties to scholarship athletics.

While Big Ten fans are probably the target audience of this work, I myself am not especially fond of either Michigan or Ohio State. I turn on the Big Ten Network maybe once a year, and I haven't watched more than 15 minutes of a Wolverine/Buckeye game in years. I am, howeve...more
Andrew
I've read a lot of biographies over the years, and a lot of non-fiction books about my particular cultural talismans: underground music, unashamedly liberal politics, and football. This book is about the latter, and I haven't read as many football books as I have read books about the other two things I mentioned. I'm particularly green in the area of college football, which I didn't really follow at all until 5 or so years ago. Therefore, a book about Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler, coaches for...more
Kiah
Jan 05, 2010 Kiah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sports fans, history buffs
Back to the sports writing! A really well-written narrative history of the true beginnings of the Best Rivalry In Sports, Michigan vs. Ohio State football. Rosenberg did extensive research and conducted a myriad of interviews for the book, and it shows. There's a wealth of information to put Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes into appropriate historical contexts with regard to football, their respective universities, and politics. Reading about the Michigan-Ohio State games reads as if you're glued...more
Scott Martin
This was a good a sports book as I have ever read. While not a major fan of Michigan or Ohio State, it was facsinating to read about one of the greatest rivalries in sports, especially during the heyday of the Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler matchups. Rosenberg does a good job of mixing sports, personalities and politics into his narrative. It gave a Penn State fan a very good perspective on what help evolve this rivalry into the status it holds now. It also brought some insight on the men involved....more
Dennis D.
This non-fiction account of ‘The Ten Year War’ of Bo Schembechler and the University of Michigan Wolverines versus Woody Hayes and his Ohio State henchmen is set against the back-drop of the societal change and political upheaval.


If you’re not a football fan, you might not enjoy this book as much as some of its readers have suggested you would. The secondary part of the narrative is just a back-drop. And since this account unfolds a year at a time, most of the major dissonance between society at...more
Derek Bycraft
Don't be fooled! There are harsh reviews of this book all over the internet, but they have nothing to do with the actual book. They are mostly caused by angry Michigan fans who believe the author single-handedly tried to destroy Michigan football under Rich Rodriguez. The book itself is great. This isn't simply a book about Woody and Bo; it is a book about what was going on with both Ann Arbor and Columbus during their own war. If you expect to get insider information about what went on all the...more
Eric
When I got this book, I was a little worried that there would be too much about current events of the day, and therefore forced connections between football and the culture of the times. Thankfully, (SPOILER ALERT!) the book was mostly about football and the two men who made the best rivalry in sports what it is today, with little snapshots of the turbulent times thrown in for effect. This was an good book that told a lot of behind-the-scenes stories, and cut through a lot of the sensationalism...more
Mark
Like a number of sport books I've read recently (Halberstam's Education of a Coach, Bryant's The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, Flemming's Breaker Boys: The NFL's Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship and Davis' Papa Bear: The Life And Legacy Of George Halas)the author interweaves the historical, political and social forces that are integral to the narrative...having played in that era (Western Illinois University), it certainly is an accurate presentation of the outside forces influ...more
Bob
Oct 10, 2011 Bob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bob by: Jim Sandler
While I can't recommend this for everyone, for a U of Michigan 1970 graduate and child of the 60's, this book was a fun read. Centered on the coaching careers of Bo Schembechler (Michigan football) and Woody Hayes (Ohio State football), the book also winds through the turbulence of the campuses (and the country) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, played out through the annual football battles that determined some national championships and remained the strongest ties that many of us had to being...more
Ian
What sets this apart from other football books (especially books about "The 10-Year War" between Michigan and Ohio State, and their respective coaches, Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes, is that Michael Rosenberg expands the scope of his narrative beyond the field. For someone who's lived in Ann Arbor virtually all of his life, I was fascinated to read what the University of Michigan campus was like during the Vietnam War.

Most of all, I wish my father had lived to read this book. He would've absol...more
Joe
The America at a time of unrest angle I found very uninteresting. There are far better accounts of student protests during the 60's and 70's. Michael Rosenberg is a sports writer and good one and his accounts of the personalities, practices, and games coached by these two men are sound. The Patonesque Hayes with his stress on education first and foremost is remarkable. His response to an African American militant student listing atrocities committed by whites: "I've been putting black kids throu...more
Evan Hansen
One of the best "quick reads" I've come across in some time. It was clearly written with an eye toward accessability, but the historical narrative is captivating. I've always respected Woody Hayes as, to quote Schembechler from one tale in the book, "a nemesis," but the detail Rosenberg manages to capture really let me appreciate his dedication, passion, intelligence, et cetera. Any fan of sports, especially college football, Ohio State, and/or Michigan, really ought to read this. For what it is...more
Andrew
Amazing book. About the so called ten year war between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines and between Woody Hays and Bo Schembechler. The story of American College Football back before the large money ruined it but you could tell it was coming. Inter sped throughout is a narrative of the times (The 1960s and 70s) and you can see how they would contrast and come into conflict with the two programs.

I've read this book many times over, finding something new each and every time. Highly...more
Beth
Occasionally a little slow for me, but overall glad I read it - gave me perspective on how college football grew into what it is today at Michigan.
Kim
I started reading this book last night around 10:30 and couldn't put it down until I finished it around 2:45 am. I liked the concept of looking at the OSU-Michigan rivalry through the lens of the social and political scene of the 1960s and 1970s, although it sort of fizzled out after awhile. Possibly because the football was more interesting. But it was still enjoyable and well written.
Brandy
Jan 05, 2010 Brandy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any Ohio State or That School Up North superfan
If you are an Ohio State or That School Up North fan, this is definitely a must-read! You learn so much about both Woody and Bo and the "ten year war". You don't realize all the other people that played a role in their coaching tenures and the turmoil each campus was going through simultaneously. Even though I know the outcome of each coach, I did almost cry but that's just me.
Josh
Fun. A must for Michigan fans and their lesser brethren to the south. A few things I learned: Woody Hayes was diabetic and insane (maybe one led to the other), Ann Arbor's heyday as an anti war hotbed was shockingly short, and these teams were head and shoulders above the rest of the Big Ten for a ridiculous amount of time.
Krista
This is an interesting look at the 'epic battles' (between the football teams) of Ohio State and Michigan - the relationship between the coaches social commentary on life on college campus' in the 60's and 70's. I'm a huge college football fan but you don't need to be a fan to enjoy this book.
victor harris
A must-read for college football fans and any coach who embraces nostalgia for an era when coaches were unassailable authoritarian figures. It also adds a rich trough of humorous anecdotes and balances the football narrative against the changing social climate of the late 60s and early 70s.
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