How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty
By David Harris
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780345499127, 400pp.)
Publication Date: September 8, 2009
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The Genius is the gripping account of Bill Walsh’s career and how, through tactical and organizational skill, he transformed the San Francisco Forty Niners from a fallen franchise into a football dynasty. Along with his right-hand man John McVay, Walsh built the foundation for this success by drafting or trading for a durable core of stars, including Joe Montana, Fred Dean, and Hacksaw Reynolds. (Walsh would later restock the team with such players as Jerry Rice, Steve Young, and Charles Haley.) The key to Walsh’s genius perhaps lay in his keen understanding of his athletes’ psyches–he knew what brought out the best in each of them. With unmatched access to players, fellow coaches, executives, beat reporters, and Walsh himself, David Harris recounts the whole story–including Walsh’s pre-Niners odyssey, the demons that pushed him throughout his career, and the scope of his impact on the game beyond the field and locker room. In the end, Harris reveals the brilliant man behind the coaching legend.
David Harris is the author of ten books–including The Genius and his widely acclaimed study of the professional football business, The League–and a former contributing editor at The New York Times Magazine and Rolling Stone. He has been a Forty Niners fan since he was ten and first crossed paths with Bill Walsh as a Stanford student in the 1960s. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Exemplary . . . the rare biography that lives up to its subtitle’s lavish claims.”—New York Times Book Review
“[David] Harris illustrates [Bill] Walsh’s incredible passion for the game, his competitive drive, and even his whimsical sense of humor. Walsh was one of the NFL’s greatest coaches, and Harris’s book does him justice.”—Booklist
“The personal drama of Walsh’s career is told with such verve that even nonfans will be riveted.”—Publishers Weekly
“Because of [Harris’s] exhaustive reporting, the reader feels in good hands.”—Wall Street Journal
“Recommended.”—Library Journal, starred review