Tackling the Cowboys

Joe Nick Patoski takes on America's most storied football franchise in his new book, The Dallas Cowboys. 
Tackling the Cowboys
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The rapid-fire, ultra-glitzy, superstar-driven nature of professional football as it is played on any given Sunday does not always lend itself to serious literary contemplation. For every classic of football non-fiction, like George Plimpton’s Paper Lion, or Michael MacCambridge’s America’s Game, the shelves are cluttered with adoring biographies, glossy chapbooks and quickie novelty items like 100 Things Steelers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.

Which makes the arrival of Joe Nick Patoski’s new book, The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America decidedly unexpected. A doorstop-sized 800-plus pages, the book is less a sports story than a mixture of history and cultural analysis. In Patoski’s interpretation, the city and the sports franchise are inextricable—each allowed the other to grow and capture the national consciousness.

Growing up in Fort Worth, you experience that second city syndrome, that no matter how good your city is, what is going on in Dallas is shinier and better,” said Patoski, who now lives near

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