All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters

With folksy charm and a dash of mischievous glee, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath recounts his rise from a childhood in Pennsylvania, where he had to pick up bottles and scrap metal for pocket change, to his fame as a sports superstar. Though All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters spans several decades, its narrative touchstone is 1969's legendary Super Bowl III championship, in which Namath led the New York Jets to victory against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. (Namath had brashly "guaranteed" a Jets win prior to the game, and he delivered.)

Namath remains an icon as much for his outré extracurricular antics and roguish pursuit of the spotlight as for his exceptional performance on the field. In addition to his professional victories and foibles, Namath's journey through this pivotal era in American football shines a light on the sport's shaky initial courtship with the emerging celebrity culture of the 1970s--a transformation Namath himself was instrumental in spearheading. Nicknamed "Broadway Joe" for his bombastic attitude in press interviews and eye-catching gestures both on and off the field (and his flashy fur coats), Namath was a magnet for media attention, and he appeared in a host of commercials and television shows, and even starred in a film opposite Ann Margret.

Those seeking tales of wild scandal may be disappointed by Namath's recounting of his early career, despite his flamboyant reputation. However, what the book lacks in dishy details, it makes up for with warmth, sincerity and a genuine love for the culture of American sports. Gracious to a fault, Namath never fails to offer credit where credit is due, and his most treasured victories are always the shared ones. --Devon Ashby, sales and marketing assistant at Shelf Awareness

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