Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre” as Want to Read:
Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  94 reviews
From a New York Times best-selling author, the full, definitive biography of Brett Favre

A towering figure on the field for two decades who breezed into the Hall of Fame, Brett Favre was one of the game’s last cowboys, a fastball-throwing, tobacco-chewing gunslinger who refused to give up without a fight. This peerless quarterback guided the Green Bay Packers to two Super B
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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 Gunslinger, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Gunslinger

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  810 ratings  ·  94 reviews

Sort order
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with the rating. but 2.5 is about as generous as I get with this.

Sports biographies are notoriously easy reads, and this is no different. I skipped 100+ pages about Brett's childhood and college, and skimmed about another fifteen percent. I don't read fast at all, and yet I read the book in roughly 24 hours. The issue with the book is I knew, or had heard about most of the racy bits about Favre's career. I remember hearing rumors about his womanizing, I remember hearing about
Spelling errors , I did learn a lot about a qb I grew up with and at times I hated him and at times I understood how he acted. I think his wife is an angel especially with all the shit he put her through. It's funny at times as well.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it

I would like to rate this 3 1/2 stars, but I'll just round it up to 4.

As a lifelong fan of the Vikings, I was definitely interested in reading this book to learn more about the life of Brett Favre. This seems to be a pretty complete overview and not just limited to on-field situations. This is my first time reading a sports-related biography, so I was unsure of what to expect. I did like the human interest pieces a lot more than the play-by-play that was inserted throughout, but I did often rem

Nick Penzenstadler
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grew up idolizing Brett like every other 90s kid in the Fox Valley so this was fun. I didn't know a lot about the early days and year in Atlanta and this filled in the gaps. Glad Pearlman dug deep to fill in the dark details-- but I still felt the evidence and anecdotes to support his constant drumbeat of Favre as substance-abuser and womanizer ended up a little thin. That's not to say those aren't both true. Also wanted to hear more about Brett's recent dabbles into triathlon-- I'd love to ge ...more
Marc Gerstein
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I’ve often thought that mainstream sociologists miss the boat by failing to recognize how much of what goes on in and around pro sports, from the perspective of participants, chroniclers and fans, can be seen, appreciated and studied as archetypes for life in general. Such issues are very much present, albeit not necessarily appreciated (possibly not even by the author) in “Gunslinger.”

Presumably, those who read this review (aside, perhaps, from Goodreads friends wondering what the heck I’m babb
Scott Tappa
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tough to read a lot of what’s written here about my boyhood idol, but still glad I did.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Remarkable is the perfect word to describe the life of Brett Favre. Improbable would be someone managing to survive a career of that length under the most pristine circumstances! Favre's approach and lifestyle choices were the opposite of pristine, nothing what you would expect from a top level athlete. But, what success he did have. Iconic. Hard to imagine being more successful than he was. But, what if he had not been in a car accident in college? Or not become a drug addict, nor slept with an ...more
C Baker
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: football
Jeff Pearlman has written several books that peel the varnish off and gives us a glimpse at the real lives of sports stars. This book about the life of Brett Favre is no exception. It reveals the great, the good, the not so good, and the bad. It’s all here.

This biography of Favre does a great job of filling in his childhood, high school, and college days which many people are not as aware of. Brett started out as a prankster and living life hard (or to its fullest) and he never really quit. The
Dumb Guy Book Club
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is more than just a look at the iconic life of Wisconsin's favorite pill popping philanderer it's also an indictment of the weak ass players of today. One hell of a good time. Check out our full review at:
Chuck Slack
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First off I have to say I am a huge Packers fan. One who enjoyed watching Brett Favre play. His field presence and obvious love of the game was easy to see and very well presented in this no-holds barred biography of the football legend. This is an enjoyable read. It is not a fluff piece or a tribute. It is a well researched, presented biography. Recommended for the sports fan.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading this a lot. I had a few issues that would've given this a little less than a four star if I could but Pearlman did do a great job. Excellent journalist. Amazing job finding and presenting the facts.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't understand football, but a very little brother wrote a very good book. I didn't know Favre played until he was over 40. It was very engrossing.
Brendan Crowley
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve written before of my fondness for Jeff Pearlman’s books and recently reviewed his new excellent USFL book. But unknowingly, I’ve only read his books that cover a group of people – a team or a league but not read any of his biographies. So I picked up Gunslinger hoping it lived up to the other Pearlman books I’ve read and loved despite having a narrower focus.

Not living in the US, my engagement with NFL varies year on year – in college, and my heavy gambling phases after college, I watched l
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm a die-hard, life-long Packers fan. In 2007, the only quarterback I'd known for the Green Bay Packers was Brett Favre. I had done a report on him once for school work. My dad and I share few common interests, but the Packers are one of them. I read this book, because I wanted to forgive a man who hurt my dad. Betrayed an early version of himself. I wanted to see into the life, and maybe the mind of the man I had spent several hundred hours rooting for.

As such I can't give an unbiased review o
Dominic DiCenzo
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am a life long Green Bay Packer fan that lives in Connecticut. I have always appreciated Brett Favre the athlete and his abilities on the football field. However, I do not put him on any pedestal as the greatest of all time (there's another guy playing right now, #12, that might be the one). I picked this book up expecting to have an enjoyable read about the life of Brett Favre. I've read several other books on Favre and enjoyed them (some of which Mr. Pearlman refers to in negative light at t ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
4-star subject with a 2-star writer. Favre was tough and creative, but his dad, who was also his coach, held him back in high school with a predictable run-heavy offense. After partying his way out of Atlanta Favre went through ups and downs that saw him peak as one of the greatest QBs of all time and valley as an interception-prone self-centered player who thought he was above his teammates. Pearlman's writing is problematic in many instances, especially in his characterization of Favre's fathe ...more
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
Can you be uninspired by a well written book? That's how I feel about this and why it took me nearly a month to read. There wasn't anything earth shatteringly new in here, and I was kind of disappointed to read the author needing to rehash every only Favre story. The man was no saint, we got that, but this book made him seem like the devil incarnate. When I got to the afterword and realized Brett didn't talk to him, I wondered if maybe that was why.

It was nice to have some of the holes filled in
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Almost any article or book about Brett is interesting , as he was and is an interesting guy. This book was exceptional however. It was well written and you can tell that the author interviewed over 500 people. I'm Wisconsin born and raised, so this book was extra interesting to me. It's funny how the press "protected" him for many years. I had only read once before how badly he treated Aaron Rogers. This book confirms that. Brett was god-like here in Wisconsin, up to the near end of his career h ...more
Gerald Matzke
Often a sports book will fall into the ditch of reporting the highlights and scores of one game after another and it becomes a good cure for insomnia. That is not the case with Jeff Pearlman's interesting and fast moving look at the life and career of Brett Favre. He tells the whole story, warts and all, a story that many Packer fans never heard because he was protected by the Packer leadership. In our day of social media scrutiny this would probably never happen and someone like Favre would nev ...more
Joshua Carney
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
i really enjoyed getting walked through so many of my childhood moments and the opportunity to remember. In addition to the nostalgia Perlman offers a candid sometimes painful, and always insightful look into Brett Favre's life.

this is probably one of the more critical biographies i've read, and though I think we should all appreciate honesty, it was a bummer to read about brett's shadow side.

mixed in with the difficult were some beautiful moments though, in which Pearlman gives readers insigh
Jason Gillespie
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A detailed look into the iconic Hall of Fame QB of the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. Great writing about Favre's childhood growing up in Mississippi, his relationship with his father, his recruitment to South Miss, and his eventually drafting into the NFL. The party never ended for Favre early in his career as he drank himself out of Atlanta and into stardom of the blue collar town of Green Bay. A fascinating character study into alcohol and drug abuse, ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I learned many things about Brett Farve and the NFL that I never knew--and I was a diehard fan of Favre (that is until he wore the Viking uniform). The book was just ok for me--the material was there but fell short of enthralling me (and I am interested in reading about Brett Favre). This is significant because I would read anything about number 4 and this rendition just didn't grab me. I read it cover to cover but just wasn't "wowed." In fairness to the author, there was a lot of territory to c ...more
Tom Hill
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was always impressed with Brett Favre, especially his streak of consecutive starts in the violent game of football. Jeff Pearlman does a good job of giving us a true measure of the man, warts and all. If I read the epilogue correctly, Brett did not contribute to the book, but plenty of family and friends did. I will admit it was hard to read at times how a man so talented at football could have so many weaknesses outside the game. He was blessed with a great arm, an unbelievably understanding ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written - I blew through this 400+ page book in less than 2 days because I could not put it down!

I’ve been a Packer fan since I was a kid. I always knew Brett Favre wasn’t a saint, but wow. Sometimes the higher you climb, the further you fall. The end of the book, when Pearlman talks about ‘He’s he’s not...oh wait...yes he is...nope...’ had me laughing out loud. As a diehard Cheesehead I might have also enjoyed reading about how horrible of a time Favre actually had with the J
Ian Allan
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: football
Pearlman is really good. Thorough. Digs up the dirt, thoroughly telling the story even when in this case Brett Favre declined to be interviewed. I think he talked to close to 600 other people, allowing him to accurately and completely present the story, including growing up, high school and Southern Miss.

As with his book on Walter Payton, the goal isn't to make the football star look great. Both of these guys come across as crappy husbands who are chronic womanizers. But it's a thorough, truly i
Joel Burgess
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good read!! Any peek behind the curtain that is the NFL us always a good book in my opinion. The author does a good job of moving the book along without getting to bogged down in details, in which football statistics have plenty. The book also gives insight about Brett Favre that not many may know about while showing the human being not just the football star. overall, a good read and a must read for NFL fans.
Laura Lauderback
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
Wow. What a great book on the icon that is Brett Favre. This not a book that paints him to be a hero, but also does does not make him to be a villain. He is a human, he is flawed. He is a tremendous athlete and seems like a great friend. I came to love the packers in the mid-nineties, during Favre's prime and learning about his career and what was really going one behind the scenes was fascinating to me. I highly recommend this book to any Packer or Favre fan.
Daniel Hansen
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Only having watched Brett towards the end of his career, this book was informative, hilarious, insightful, and heart breaking. He started as a sort of underdog before becoming an absolute legend. He is a flawed character, but was an absolute blast to watch play, and he helped bring the glory back to Green Bay. Pearlman's journalistic expertise and writing is the icing on the cake.
Karen Gitlewski
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grew up in Green Bay so naturally I am a Packer fan. I also grew up with Brett Favre as our teams quarterback (I was 12 when he came to Green Bay). I thought I knew a lot about Brett Favre. This book proved me wrong. I was blown away by some of the stories and tidbits from his personal life. It was fascinating.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jeff Pearlman is a colorful writer, and he clearly did a lot of legwork on this book. It was just too long. That said, this was an illuminating look at Brett Favre, for all the good and bad. Fascinating character, this guy. But damn, he was such a mofo to his wife, he shoulda been a Dallas Cowboy! (See Pearlman’s “Boys Will Be Boys.”)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • NFL Confidential: True Confessions from the Gutter of Football
  • QB: My Life Behind the Spiral
  • Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak
  • Belichick and Brady: Two Men, the Patriots, and How They Revolutionized Football
  • Scribe: My Journey As a Sportswriter
  • Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson
  • You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television
  • Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos
  • Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football
  • The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football
  • The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty
  • Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football
  • Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football, and an American Town
  • Namath: A Biography
  • The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers
  • Parcells: A Football Life
  • Unfinished Business: On and Off the Court With the 1990-91 Boston Celtics
  • Blood, Sweat & Chalk: How the Geniuses of Football Created America's Favorite Game
Jeff Pearlman is an American sports writer. He has written two books about baseball and was the author of the infamous John Rocker interview in Sports Illustrated. In October 2011 he released his fifth book, a biography of Walter Payton titled, "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton." It spent four weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.

Pearlman was born and raised in Mahopac, New Y