Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football

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The gripping account of a once-in-a-lifetime football team and their lone championship season

For Rich Cohen and millions of other fans, the 1985 Chicago Bears were more than a football team: they were the greatest football team ever—a gang of colorful nuts, dancing and pounding their way to victory. They won a Super Bowl and saved a city.

It was not just that the Monsters of the Midway won, but how they did it. On offense, there was high-stepping running back Walter Payton and Punky QB Jim McMahon, who had a knack for pissing off Coach Mike Ditka as he made his way to the end zone. On defense, there was the 46: a revolutionary, quarterback-concussing scheme cooked up by Buddy Ryan and ruthlessly implemented by Hall of Famers such as Dan "Danimal" Hampton and "Samurai" Mike Singletary. On the sidelines, in the locker rooms, and in bars, there was the never-ending soap opera: the coach and the quarterback bickering on TV, Ditka and Ryan nearly coming to blows in the Orange Bowl, the players recording the "Super Bowl Shuffle" video the morning after the season's only loss.

Cohen tracked down the coaches and players from this iconic team and asked them everything he has always wanted to know: What's it like to win? What's it like to lose? Do you really hate the guys on the other side? Were you ever scared? What do you think as you lie broken on the field? How do you go on after you have lived your dream but life has not ended?

The result is Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, a portrait not merely of a team but of a city and a game: its history, its future, its fallen men, its immortal heroes. But mostly it's about being a fan—about loving too much. This is a book about America at its most nonsensical, delirious, and joyful.

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About the author

Rich Cohen, a New York Times bestselling author, grew up on the North Shore of Chicago, where he died with the Cubs and was reborn with the Bears. He has written ten books and a host of magazine articles for, among others, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, and Vanity Fair, where he's a contributing editor. Cohen has won the Great Lakes Book Award and the Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award, and his essays have been included in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three sons, but is plotting his return to Chicagoland.
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Reviews

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Additional Information

Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Published on
Oct 29, 2013
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780374708955
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
Sports & Recreation / Football
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Tom Brady
The first book by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady—the five-time Super Bowl champion who is still reaching unimaginable heights of excellence at forty years old—a gorgeously illustrated and deeply practical “athlete’s bible” that reveals Brady’s revolutionary approach to sustained peak performance for athletes of all kinds and all ages.

In modern sports, some athletes have managed to transcend their competition in a way that no one will ever forget: Jordan. Jeter. Ali. Williams. These elite legends have changed the game, achieved the unthinkable, and pushed their bodies to unbelievable limits. Joining their exclusive ranks is Tom Brady.

“Brady is the healthiest great champion the NFL has ever had, both physically and mentally” (Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post). The longtime New England Patriots quarterback, who in 2017 achieved his fifth Super Bowl win and fourth Super Bowl MVP award, is widely regarded as an athlete whose training and determination pushed him from a mediocre draft position to the most-revered and respected professional football player of his generation.

In The TB12 Method, Tom Brady explains how he developed his groundbreaking approach to long-term fitness, presenting a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to his personal practice. Brady offers the principles behind pliability, which is at the heart of a new paradigm shift and movement toward a more natural, healthier way of exercising, training, and living—and one that challenges some commonly held assumptions around health and wellness. Filled with lessons learned from Brady’s own peak performance training, and step-by-step action steps to help readers develop and maintain their own peak performance, The TB12 Method also advocates for more effective approaches to strength training, hydration, nutrition, supplementation, cognitive fitness, recovery, and other lifestyle choices that dramatically decrease the risk of injury while amplifying and extending performance, as well as quality of life.

After using his methods for over a decade, Brady believes that the TB12 approach has made him—and can make any athlete, male or female, in any sport and at any level—achieve their own peak performance. With instructions, drills, photos, in-depth case studies that Brady himself has used, as well as personal anecdotes and experiences from on and off the field, The TB12 Method is the only book an athlete will ever need, a playbook from Brady himself that will change the game.
Rich Cohen
A panoramic narrative history that will give readers a new understanding of the Rolling Stones, viewed through the impassioned and opinionated lens of the Vanity Fair contributor—and co-creator of HBO’s Vinyl—who was along for the ride as a young reporter on the road with the band in the 1990s

Rich Cohen enters the Stones epic as a young journalist on the road with the band and quickly falls under their sway—privy to the jokes, the camaraderie, the bitchiness, the hard living. Inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Cohen’s chronicle of the band is informed by the rigorous views of a kid who grew up on the music and for whom the Stones will always be the greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all time.

The story begins at the beginning: the fateful meeting of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on a train platform in 1961—and goes on to span decades, with a focus on the golden run—from the albums Beggars Banquet (1968) to Exile on Main Street (1972)—when the Stones were prolific and innovative and at the height of their powers. Cohen is equally as good on the low points as the highs, and he puts his finger on the moments that not only defined the Stones as gifted musicians schooled in the blues and arguably the most innovative songwriters of their generation, but as the avatars of so much in our modern culture.

In the end, though, after the drugs and the girlfriends and the rows, there is the music. The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones makes you want to listen to every song in your library anew and search out the obscure gems that you’ve yet to hear. The music, together with Cohen’s fresh and galvanizing consideration of the band, will define, once and forever, why the Stones will always matter.

Praise for The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones

“Fabulous . . . The research is meticulous. . . . Cohen’s own interviews even yield some new Stones lore.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Cohen] can catch the way a record can seem to remake the world [and] how songs make a world you can’t escape.”—Pitchfork

“No one can tell this story, wringing new life even from the leathery faces of mummies like the Rolling Stones, like Rich Cohen. . . . The book beautifully details the very meaning of rock ’n’ roll.”—New York Observer

“Masterful . . . Hundreds of books have been written about this particular band and [Cohen’s] will rank among the very best of the bunch.”—Chicago Tribune

“Cohen, who has shown time and time again he can take any history lesson and make it personal and interesting . . . somehow tells the [Stones’] story in a whole different way. This might be the best music book of 2016.”—Men’s Journal

“[Cohen’s] account of the band’s rise from ‘footloose’ kids to ‘old, clean, prosperous’ stars is, like the Stones, irresistible.”—People

“You will, as with the best music bios, want to follow along on vinyl.”—The Washington Post

“A fresh take on dusty topics like Altamont and the Stones’ relationship with the Beatles . . . Cohen takes pilgrimages to places like Nellcôte, the French mansion where the Stones made Exile on Main Street, and recounts fascinating moments from his time on tour.”—Rolling Stone

“On the short list of worthwhile books about the Stones . . . The book is stuffed with insights.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Rich Cohen
A captivating blend of reportage and memoir exploring the history of the Chicago Cubs

When Rich Cohen was eight years old, his father took him to see a Cubs game. On the way out of the park, his father asked him to make a promise. “Promise me you will never be a Cubs fan. The Cubs do not win,” he explained, “and because of that, a Cubs fan will have a diminished life determined by low expectations. That team will screw up your life.” As a result, Cohen became not just a Cubs fan but one of the biggest Cubs fans in the world. In this book, he captures the story of the team, its players and crazy days. Billy Sunday and Ernie Banks, Three Finger Brown and Ryne Sandberg, Bill Buckner, the Bartman Ball, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo—the early dominance followed by a 107 year trek across the wilderness. It’s all here—not just what happened, but what it felt like and what it meant. He searches for the cause of the famous curse. Was it the billy goat, kicked out of Wrigley Field in Game 5 of the 1945 World Series, or does it go back further, to the very origins of the franchise? Driven mad with futility, he went on the road with the team in search of answers, interviewed great players present and past, researched in libraries but also in the bleachers, double-fisted, a frosty malt in each hand, demanding answers. He came to see the curse as a burden but also as a blessing. Cubs fans are unique, emissaries from a higher realm, warning of hubris and vanity. The blue cap with the red C said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” He interviewed the architects of the 2016 Cubs, the team that broke the curse. Here’s what he asked: How the hell did you do it? He was at (almost) every game of the 2016 playoff run—a run that culminated in (maybe) the single greatest baseball game ever played. He was excited but also terrified. Losing is easy. What would it mean to win? Wearing a Yankees hat meant corporate excellence. Wearing a Mets hat meant miracles. But wearing a Cubs hat meant loving the game on its most humdrum afternoon—September 13, 1979, say, 14 games out of first place, Larry Bittner driving in Ivan DeJesus. Would we lose that? Would being a Cubs become ordinary? A mix of memoir, reporting, history and baseball theology, this book, forty years in the making, has never been written because it never could be—only with the 2016 World Series can the true arc of the story finally be understood.

Rich Cohen
A panoramic narrative history that will give readers a new understanding of the Rolling Stones, viewed through the impassioned and opinionated lens of the Vanity Fair contributor—and co-creator of HBO’s Vinyl—who was along for the ride as a young reporter on the road with the band in the 1990s

Rich Cohen enters the Stones epic as a young journalist on the road with the band and quickly falls under their sway—privy to the jokes, the camaraderie, the bitchiness, the hard living. Inspired by a lifelong appreciation of the music that borders on obsession, Cohen’s chronicle of the band is informed by the rigorous views of a kid who grew up on the music and for whom the Stones will always be the greatest rock ’n’ roll band of all time.

The story begins at the beginning: the fateful meeting of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on a train platform in 1961—and goes on to span decades, with a focus on the golden run—from the albums Beggars Banquet (1968) to Exile on Main Street (1972)—when the Stones were prolific and innovative and at the height of their powers. Cohen is equally as good on the low points as the highs, and he puts his finger on the moments that not only defined the Stones as gifted musicians schooled in the blues and arguably the most innovative songwriters of their generation, but as the avatars of so much in our modern culture.

In the end, though, after the drugs and the girlfriends and the rows, there is the music. The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones makes you want to listen to every song in your library anew and search out the obscure gems that you’ve yet to hear. The music, together with Cohen’s fresh and galvanizing consideration of the band, will define, once and forever, why the Stones will always matter.

Praise for The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones

“Fabulous . . . The research is meticulous. . . . Cohen’s own interviews even yield some new Stones lore.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Cohen] can catch the way a record can seem to remake the world [and] how songs make a world you can’t escape.”—Pitchfork

“No one can tell this story, wringing new life even from the leathery faces of mummies like the Rolling Stones, like Rich Cohen. . . . The book beautifully details the very meaning of rock ’n’ roll.”—New York Observer

“Masterful . . . Hundreds of books have been written about this particular band and [Cohen’s] will rank among the very best of the bunch.”—Chicago Tribune

“Cohen, who has shown time and time again he can take any history lesson and make it personal and interesting . . . somehow tells the [Stones’] story in a whole different way. This might be the best music book of 2016.”—Men’s Journal

“[Cohen’s] account of the band’s rise from ‘footloose’ kids to ‘old, clean, prosperous’ stars is, like the Stones, irresistible.”—People

“You will, as with the best music bios, want to follow along on vinyl.”—The Washington Post

“A fresh take on dusty topics like Altamont and the Stones’ relationship with the Beatles . . . Cohen takes pilgrimages to places like Nellcôte, the French mansion where the Stones made Exile on Main Street, and recounts fascinating moments from his time on tour.”—Rolling Stone

“On the short list of worthwhile books about the Stones . . . The book is stuffed with insights.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Rich Cohen
In 1944, a band of Jewish guerrillas emerged from the Baltic forest to join the Russian army in its attack on Vilna, the capital of Lithuania. The band, called the Avengers, was led by Abba Kovner, a charismatic young poet. In the ghetto, Abba had built bombs, sneaking out through the city's sewer tunnels to sabotage German outposts. Abba's chief lieutenants were two teenage girls, Vitka Kempner and Ruzka Korczak. At seventeen, Vitka and Ruzka were perhaps the most daring partisans in the East, the first to blow up a Nazi train in occupied Europe. Each night, the girls shared a bed with Abba, raising gossip in the ghetto. But what they found was more than temporary solace. It was a great love affair. After the liquidation of the ghetto, the Avengers escaped through the city's sewage tunnels to the forest, where they lived for more than a year in a dugout beside a swamp, fighting alongside other partisan groups, and ultimately bombing the city they loved, destroying Vilna's waterworks and its powerplant in order to pave the way for its liberation.

Leaving a devastated Poland behind them, they set off for the cities of Europe: Vitka and Abba to the West, where they would be instrumental in orchestrating the massive Jewish exodus to the biblical homeland, and Ruzka to Palestine, where she would be literally the first person to bring a first hand account of the Holocaust to Jewish leaders. It was in these last terrifying days--with travel in Europe still unsafe for Jews and the extent of the Holocaust still not widely known--that the Avengers hatched their plan for revenge. Before it was over, the group would have smuggled enough poison into Nuremberg to kill ten thousand Nazis. The Avengers is the story of what happened to these rebels in the ghetto and in the forest, and how, fighting for the State of Israel, they moved beyond the violence of the Holocaust and made new lives.

From Rich Cohen, one of the preeminent journalists of his generation and author of the highly praised Tough Jews, a powerful exploration of vindication and revenge, of dignity and rebellion, painstakingly recreated through his exclusive access to the Avengers themselves. Written with insight, sensitivity, and the moral force of one of the last great struggles of the Second World War, here is an unforgettable story for our time.
Rich Cohen
A legendary tale, both true and astonishing, from the author of Israel is Real and Sweet and Low


When Samuel Zemurray arrived in America in 1891, he was tall, gangly, and penniless. When he died in the grandest house in New Orleans sixty-nine years later, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. In between, he worked as a fruit peddler, a banana hauler, a dockside hustler, and a plantation owner. He battled and conquered the United Fruit Company, becoming a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof that America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventures. In Latin America, when people shouted "Yankee, go home!" it was men like Zemurray they had in mind.

Rich Cohen's brilliant historical profile The Fish That Ate the Whale unveils Zemurray as a hidden kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary, driven by an indomitable will to succeed. Known as El Amigo, the Gringo, or simply Z, the Banana Man lived one of the great untold stories of the last hundred years. Starting with nothing but a cart of freckled bananas, he built a sprawling empire of banana cowboys, mercenary soldiers, Honduran peasants, CIA agents, and American statesmen. From hustling on the docks of New Orleans to overthrowing Central American governments, from feuding with Huey Long to working with the Dulles brothers, Zemurray emerges as an unforgettable figure, connected to the birth of modern American diplomacy, public relations, business, and war—a monumental life that reads like a parable of the American dream.

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