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Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men Hardcover – January 1, 1987

4.7 out of 5 stars 175 ratings

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From Publishers Weekly

The 340-pound Donovan was a professional football player in the 1950s, when the league was taking shape and the game was particularly attractive to players who enjoyed mayhem. Such a player was Donovan, born in the Bronx, son of a famous boxing referee of the '30s and '40s. He and New York Newsday staffer Drury here present a picture of the sport when annual pay ranged from $5,000 to $20,000, and there were only 12 teams with 33 players to a team, so everyone lived in fear of being cut. Donovan began his pro career with inferior teams like the New York Yankees and the Dallas Texans, both now defunct, but ended his playing years with the great Baltimore team of the late '50s, joining such stars as Johnny Unitas and Alan Ameche. His autobiography is an entertaining bit of sports nostalgia.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (January 1, 1987)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 228 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0688073409
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0688073404
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 175 ratings

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
175 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 17, 2012
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on April 2, 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars Tell All Tale By a Friend, Teammate, and Family Man
By Immer on April 2, 2019
Fatso: Football When Men Were Really Men

On the last page of Fatso, Donovan writes, “ I’m just an average guy who happened to get very lucky in life. I had good family, good friends, and good teammates.” If luck also means being good at what you do, and being in the right place at the right time, one might say the ability to take advantage of said luck is important. As one pages through Donovan’s biography, I feel that is a common theme despite the chaotic presentation of material. Though a loose timeline is followed from his early days until his retirement, the book reads more like a bunch of guys sitting around a table, drinking beer and eating to excess, and trading stories trying to outdo each other.

Surprisingly little continuity is provided about the Colt seasons when the team began to win and produce championships. I don’t know if men were really men back then, but they were different. Donovan provides almost no political correctness in a book that approaches a tell all book of the type that are often looked down upon nowadays. After having read Jack Gilden’s Collision of Wills, and reread Tom Callahan’s Johnny U, I thought I’d give Fatso a try. Compared to they previous two books, Fatso is just OK.

I was surprised at the cost of this book. A few years ago, it was a fraction of the current cost, but with winters end dragging on up here, for some reason I could not get enough of the 50’s/60’s Baltimore Colts. Raymond Berry’s biography All the Moves I Had is still in my reading queue. Art Donovan’s Fatso is the material produced by a loose cannon. Don’t expect anything different, as it represents a different place and time, different morals, and a steadfast loyalty to his family and friends.

As an aside, though the book I purchased, is more than serviceable, it has seen better days. To my surprise as I opened the book to its inside title page, and observed the binding pulling away from the cover, appeared the autograph of none other than Art Donovan himself. Cool.
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 5, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 24, 2005
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Football Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 10, 2011
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grace smith
5.0 out of 5 stars book hard to find
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 14, 2013
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars best football book ever written
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on December 18, 2017