Jessica's Reviews > The Ones Who Hit the Hardest: The Steelers, the Cowboys, the '70s, and the Fight for America's Soul

The Ones Who Hit the Hardest by Chad Millman
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it was amazing

Full Disclosure: I was born into Steeler Nation. I bleed black and gold. My fandom has been described as passionate, irrational, and somewhat extreme. I was not an objective reader of this book.

I loved this book. It grabbed me by the collar and didn’t let me go until the end. When telling people about it, I always gave a dramatic interpretation of the title – especially the "The Fight for America’s Soul" part. I repeat, I was not an objective reader.

What had my heart, of course, was the familiar story of building the Pittsburgh Steelers from total crappitude into the dynasty of the 1970s. But it juxtaposed that story with the simultaneous boom and bust of the steel industry, which I found surprisingly interesting. It sort of gave the historical basis for arguing that Steeler Nation is an actual cultural diaspora (I totally stole that from “Whatever It Takes,” the art exhibit at CMU a few years back.) And then there was one more layer, even more unfamiliar to me, the story of the Cowboys – from coming-into-being to their philosophy and approach to their team. From my perspective, I thought it was fairly decent to the Cowboys. (But I still wouldn’t recommend it to a Dallas fan.) But, despite the title, they actually kind of abandoned the Cowboys thread in the latter half of the book. I didn’t mind.

Anyway, it was a good read for a Steelers fan. Hey, it even kept up my street cred at a dive bar this week when I knew the story of Ernie Holmes shooting at the helicopter. And reading this book at the start of a new football season, it struck a chord as I worried even further about what the Reign of Goodell was doing to the sport I was born watching. The best writing of all time? No. The most objective account? No, but what history book is? A soul-stirring read? For this girl, absolutely.

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Reading Progress

April 22, 2011 – Shelved
August 18, 2012 – Started Reading
September 4, 2012 – Finished Reading

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