Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “North Dallas Forty” as Want to Read:
North Dallas Forty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

North Dallas Forty

(North Dallas Forty #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,259 ratings  ·  74 reviews
This book is a fictional account of eight harrowing days in the life of a professional football player.
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 4th 2003 by Sport Media Publishing (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about North Dallas Forty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about North Dallas Forty

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,259 ratings  ·  74 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of North Dallas Forty
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
"I never saw a guy having so much fun and crying at the same time."

Drugs, sex, exploitation, and alcohol provide the octane for 8 days in the life of Phil Elliott an aging wide receiver for a Dallas professional football team. Hunter S. Thompson would have been holding his hand up by day four saying take me out coach. I might have lasted two days. Elliott not only lasts the entire span, but shows up to football practice every day and plays a professional game by day seven. If anyone is looking
Treasure of the Rubbermaids 13: Are You Ready For Some Football Under the Friday Night Lights On Any Given Sunday?

The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.

This book had crossed my mind several times over the past year before and
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
I picked up Peter Gent's "North Dallas Forty" after Dr. Z (the formr Sports Illustrated columnist)'s recommendation. Always in the elusive hunt for a good football book, I excitedly hunted down a copy of the book which my favorite sports writer described in glowing terms.

It's not that Gent is a bad writer. In fact, his writing is impressive at times, showing conscious styling and acute literary sense. I genuinely admired how he structured the book so that the development, climax, and dénouement
Jonathan Maas
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Classic on Par With Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Yes - you heard me. This book is that good.

I opened North Dallas Forty with an open mind, thinking it would just be a quality title from the 70s.

It was more than just a quality title. Peter Gent, former Dallas Cowboy, writes with the authority that only a player can.

The injuries. The business. The women. The drugs. The fear. The constant need to survive.

You realize through Gent that this is not a game, this is not a high school team. You
David Keaton
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A ridiculously ambitious novel from a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver (!) who I will always picture as Nick Nolte, in spite of the strange, wizard-like author photo on the back cover. This book is basically responsible for Any Given Sunday decades later, and, in fact, was made into its own oddly touching movie adaptation way back when. That movie lacks one important detail, however. Yes, I'm talking about the gory, action-packed, racially charged bloodbath of a conclusion. What the what??? ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellaneous
I saw the movie made from this book years ago and that ignited my interest in reading the original story. There are ways that the book is better and ways the movie is better. Both are about 8 days in the life of a professional football player, a receiver. Most of the actions depicted in the book also show up in the movie, although the tone is much more light-hearted in the movie.

Although I've never played pro football, this book certainly had the feeling of authenticity. That being said, there
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports-books
Peter Gent's jarring Roman a clef about playing for the late-60s Dallas Cowboys still holds up well today. A no-holds-barred account on the violent life of an NFL athlete, it gives the reader pause for reflection that even in 2011, the players in the league are playing under less than optimal circumstances with their bodies as their only commodities.
Jeff Berger
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Peter Gent must have really had it in for the NFL. A former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, he wrote this best seller about a team suspiciously like the early 70s version of America’s Team, with thinly-veiled versions of Coach Tom Landry, Quarterback Dandy Don Meredith, and himself represented. Gent was a talented writer, and his book does a good job exposing the league’s hypocrisies, particularly regarding drug use by its players, its racism, and its way of using up and casting aside ...more
Jim Krotzman
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
North Dallas Forty by Peter Gent is a novelized equivalent of baseball's non-fiction Ball Four by Jim Bouton. Protagonist Phil Elliott tells the story of the Dallas Cowboys of the 60s who party, drink, use drugs, womanize, endure terrible pain, suffer racism, and feel fear. Phil "finally realizes that opponents & teammates alike are his adversaries, & he must deal & dispense with them all. He is on his way to understanding the spirit that underlies the business of competitive sport. ...more
Jon Koebrick
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
North Dallas Forty seemed like an appropriate book choice during Super Bowl Week. I have only seen bits of the movie with Nick Norte and Mac Davis. Certainly much has changed in NFL football in the approximately 50 years since this book was conceived by Peter Gent yet the bodily sacrifices of the players is likely similar with better medical care and more careful control of pain killing drugs. Phil Elliot is just trying to survive in the league another week. He gives his body but will not ...more
Kevin Shay
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A sports classic, probably the most ground-breaking sports book of its generation. Mr. Gent changed the face of pro sports with this book, forcing owners to deal with issues like using painkillers to make players perform hurt.
I grew up with the Cowboys and in later years, emailed Mr. Gent a few times about various issues before he passed away too young. He was passionate about a lot of things, including politics and film. He was not your average jock type.
Cormac Zoso
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*** Here Be Spoilers ***

Peter Gent broke open the secretive world of pro football just as Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" had peeled back the horsehide of pro baseball. By the way, Gent, his last name, is pronounced with a hard G, as in 'gator' or 'gavel' (as he explained on an NPR interview since the interviewer commonly mistakenly used the soft G pronunciation as in 'gentleman').

Gent's path into the NFL was an odd one in that he didn't play college football but was an all-Big Ten basketball player
Critter Reyome
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brutally honest and ultimately depressing. Gent tells it like it was, and probably still is...violent, sick, and real. The followup is a must if you come away from this battered like a wide receiver after a rough game. Absolutely remarkable and more than a small part responsible for my never pressuring my son to play sports...especially football.
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The recreational drugs and sex scenes are tedious, but, hey, it was the 70s. Which also explains the paranoia and hippie pseudo philosophy. Sadly, the pain, sexism, and general nastiness of the NFL seem unchanged. Extra star for being early to tell the truth, and to try to explain why they play the game (and for spawning what's actually a better movie than the book).
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sports
I picked this up for less than a buck and read it as part of my read-myself-a-boyhood/manhood project. It's fiction but echoes Alex Karras's bio about the harsh realities of pro football in the 1960s. The misogyny, drugs, and physical brutality of the sport are intense. Definitely not the kind of manhood I have any interest in living.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The more things change

The more they stay the same. Racism, misogyny, violence, injury both physical and psychic, drugs and money - that's the NFL and Texas. Published in 1973, Gent's book and trenchant insights hold up almost frighteningly well. And his description of the football game between Dallas and New York is almost as riveting as watching a close game.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The athlete as commodity.

Well, this isn't a book filled with sweetness and light, for certain sure. Mostly, it made me sad about life in the sixties, together with a sneaking suspicion attitudes haven't necessarily changed in some respects. Also? This is a good description of why athletes get the big bucks for their commercial life.
Jack Webb
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somethin' Else

I've read this book several times, and it seems to get better each time. It's depiction of life in the 60s is spot on, with the added insanity of professional sports. The ending is unforgettable.
Chris Neill
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

I had seen the movie many years ago and was curious about the difference. The book is more powerful than the movie. It's amazing how little has changed since this book came out.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
North Dallas Forty is an insiders view of professional football during the mid 1960’s. Gent tells an interesting story through his players both socially and on the football field.
carl d ballinger
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goid read

Hated the ending but it was a good read. Could have a more happy finish but the book was a as satirical look at the bad life they love!
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the movie years ago.the book was just as good.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Entertaining, but I feel like the author punted (excuse the pun) for the final quarter of the story, setting off a tragic set of events with no context.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional account of the final eight days of a professional football player's career with a Dallas professional football team. The characters, if not the story line (who knows?), are based on the real Dallas Cowboys, for whom Gent played, its players, coaches, and owners of the mid-1960s. Phillip Elliot (Peter Gent), the protagonist through whose eyes the story is narrated is too independent, publicly profane, and cynical to fit the Dallas team's corporate mold and is ...more
Tom Stamper
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
The semi-autobiographical novel about the NFL in the 1970s is quite an education about the game in that era. It seems to be aimed at shocking the reader, but Jim Bouton had already accomplished much the same task with his baseball memoir Ball Four. And we all know that football had to be worse. The difference is that Jim Bouton is always likable because he has such a sense of humor about the foibles of players and coaches. Bouton also gives you people to root for. You come away convinced Johnny ...more
Christopher Febles
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
3.85 crazy. Not for faint of heart. Laugh out loud funny at times
Jef Blocker
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I came across a copy of North Dallas Forty, it seemed like I should read it, considering I'm from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and grew up with the Dallas Cowboys playing on the T.V. at every family gathering.

For the first quarter of the book, I wondered if the characters would play any football at all, as the protagonist and his fellow players wander around the Metroplex shooting animals, getting drunk, smoking marijuana, popping pills, and boinking their own women and those of others.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading North Dallas Forty. I read it for an article I was writing for D Magazine on The Great Dallas Novel. Peter Gent was a very talented, entertaining writer. Also a very angry writer. He loved football, but was angry at what the game was becoming.

The book has an amazing amount of drug use and almost everyone in the book is fairly detestable. But there are some brilliant observations about human behavior.

I've never been interested in football particularly. But I couldn't put
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like this book a lot. Mostly because the book explains how someone life is as a football player. Plus it shows that someone people might not like you but you can overcome that make a lot of people like you because you try your hardest at something. But it can also teach you that if you try the hardest at things that you won’t be at the top any more. Not a hall a fame player but someone who loves to play the game of football. Plus it tells you about all of the changes that he has to go ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
c1973. I read this book after seeing the fantastic film which is unusual for me as I normally do it the other way around. But I knew that there must be more to the story than depicted in the film. Written by Mr Gent who, I believe, was actually a "former offensive end for the Dallas cowboys. (Don't you just love the terminology!!!!!), I found the story riveting even for a lass living on the Dark Continent at the time. Larry King liked this book calling Mr Gent "He's good, astonishingly so, and ...more
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Semi-Tough
  • Ball Four
  • Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback
  • Bleachers
  • Buried Onions
  • Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
  • Winter Birds
  • Dream Boy
  • Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
  • Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer
  • The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees
  • Coffin on a Case
  • The Puppet Show (Washington Poe, #1)
  • The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
  • The Greatest Game Ever Played
  • Night, Winter, and Death
  • Dead Solid Perfect
  • The Inner Game of Golf
See similar books…
George Davis Peter Gent was a Michigan State University basketball player and National Football League wide receiver turned novelist.

Gent resided in Bangor, Michigan at the time of his death from a pulmonary disease on September 30, 2011,and was working on a novel.

Other books in the series

North Dallas Forty (2 books)
  • North Dallas After 40