Saturday, April 26, 2014

Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears - Rich Cohen ----------------------- 4 Stars

Some books that a person reads tend to hit home for a personal reason.  Such is the case with Rich Cohen's wonderful Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football.   I bought this book for my father and he re-gifted it back after finishing and singing it's praises; he was right.  It is very good and I was not disappointed.

While the main crux of the book is the '85 Bears SuperBowl team, arguably the greatest team of all time, the book is really a history of the Bears (and, by connection, football as well).  Starting with the incomparable George Hallas' creation of the team and then Butkus, Ditka, Singeltary, Ditka again, and then Payton and McMahon, the reader learns a litany about the team.  The book was so enjoyable to me as I knew very little about the history of the Bears or details about the players that were beyond my generation.  Whether the beginning of the books stories about how the team was created to the amazing history of linebackers to the incredibly complex review of the '85 Bears team, including the inventive '46 Defense by Buddy Ryan, there is not one chapter that is not interesting and well created. 

Normally, I would never recommend this book to any non-Bears or non-football fans, but in this case, I actually do think this book might be enjoyed by many types of readers.  Certainly, being a Bears fan at heart will make this more enjoyable, Cohen's writing style and text is so rich that it's a breeze to read, easy to get through, includes great dialogue, and has great action.  He has a very strong writing style that alllows the reader to really 'feel' the scenees he describes and never dwells on a topic too long.  Each chapter finishes just when it's starting to perhaps feel a bit long and then he quickly shifts to a new person or event.

However, if you ARE a Bears fan, this is a must read!  It's history of the team and interview with hundreds of individuals really bring you back to '85 and that incomparable team.  Whether it be his summary of Duerson's career or the agile feats of Sweetness, #34 (both will be missed), this book is a beautiful tale about one of the greatest teams in Chicago sports history.  While I figured the book would just be a decent, fairly dry historical memory, I was so pleased to have been treated to such a wonderfully crafted book.  Rich Cohen certainly did the Bears proud!  BEAR DOWN!

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