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Publisher's Summary

More than any other sports figure, Vince Lombardi transformed football into a metaphor for the American experience. The nine seasons during which he led the Green Bay Packers to five world championships is the most storied period in NFL history. Lombardi became a legend, a symbol to many of leadership, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork, and to others of an obsession with winning. Maraniss captures the myth and the man, football, God, and country in a thrilling biography that has become an American classic.

This year, on the fortieth anniversary of Vince Lombardi’s death, the immortal coach strides onto the Broadway stage in a new American play, Lombardi, based on Maraniss’s critically acclaimed book, written by Academy Award winner Eric Simonson.

©2011 Simon & Schuster; 1999 David Maraniss

Critic Reviews

"An astonishingly good book....A triumph, a classic American biography." (Robert W. Creamer The Washington Post Book World)
"Forges a near-perfect synthesis of fine writing and fascinating material. May be the best sports biography ever published." (Ron Fimrite, Sports Illustrated)
"A superb book, one of the best on football that we have." (Michael Oriard, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

What listeners say about When Pride Still Mattered

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What's in a name?

While The Narrator has a pleasant voice and read the book well, the fact that he mispronounced numerous names incorrectly was extremely distracting and made listening to the book almost unbearable. His mispronunciation of Paul Hornung was extremely annoying. Often it sounded as if he was saying Hornum or HorNUN. Even Paul himself says HORNING. His pronunciation of the various towns and cities in Wisconsin, the names of the board members shows a real lack of preparation prior to the performance. He couldn't even pronounce Green Bay properly. He often called it GREEN bay with the emphasis on the word GREEN. It is pronounced Green Bay with equal emphasis on both words or Green BAY With the emphasis on Bay. Because those names are repeated often in every chapter it became a very big distraction listening to the book. He even mispronounced the name of the author.

3 people found this helpful

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when men still mattered

vince lombardi was at heart an actor and a playwright
the oldest son of southern italian immigrants
he longed to be, but never was, a scholarly jesuit priest

for a time he was the offensive line coach at army
he longed to be a soldier and a leader of men in battle
but despite being 28 y.o. in 1941 he never served in the military

modern life seemed artificial, complicated and weak to him
it was only on a football field that life made sense to him
it was there that his virtues, talents and courage mattered

some men need to be tested and know where they stand
they look for ways to face their fears and overcome pain
lombardi understood this better than anyone in his generation

he game these men a stage on which to demonstrate their abilities
he created a world and a set of rules that fit their needs and talents
his demands to "pay the price for victory" resonated deeply with them

all of this success came at a terrible price, of course
his alcoholic wife remained in his fearful shadow all of her life
his son and daughter can honestly say they never knew him

life in post WW II america slowly quit rewarding the male virtues
being clever, attractive, political and comfortable became significant
lombardi would have none of it and wore his old fashioned style with pride

this is easily the best sports biography i've ever heard or read
the themes and scale of the story come close to an american opera
it makes sense that people would want to bring the story to broadway


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awesome listen

I really enjoyed this book. The history, the descriptions and the way it was read made it nearly impossible to stop listening.

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Nostalgia, football and a legend.

Where does When Pride Still Mattered rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was a very nice companion for my weekly 90 minutes highway drive to the city. I will miss it.

What did you like best about this story?

It did a great job taking me to "feel" the 30s, 40's and the movement to the 50's and 60's with their idiosyncrasy. As the chapters occur, you can also feel how the sport change, the strategies and the men that play it. I liked the stories about the people that surrounded Lombardi, the relationship with his players, other coaches and owners. Also allows you to look into a human Lombardi; if you take judgment outside, it's a great experience. It takes you to the era of writers and radio, when the power of the pen could create a legend.

What about Richard M. Davidson’s performance did you like?

The way he personifies Lombardi.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's not a moment per se, but the constant love for the team, for a game that offers so much for those that are willing to pay the price. The feeling group of men (people) learning from each other, taking care of each other, growing and sharing, football and life.

Any additional comments?

Lombardi is the Sum of people that had a passion for the game and life. Knowledge given to those eager to learn. Each experience builded Lombardi way of coaching...and still does.

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Excellent book

Narration is excellent.
The book is so well written, even though I knew the Lombardi history, I cried when he died while listening

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Very Informative

I felt this audible was an excellent depiction of Vince Lombardi‘s life. In particular the true meaning of winning. He truly never worked a day in his life however it was at the cost of some experiences with his family.

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BOOK ON COACH LOMBARDI - A WINNER!

Incredible book on an incredible football coaching legend. Vince Lombardi's commitment to winning and his life are both fascinating. I had wanted to listen to this on Audible for some time now - Glad I finally did!

Great story on the life and times of Coach Lombardi, and great narration, too!

GRADE: A

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A Must Listen

The magical combination of epic story and exceptional narration. Lombardi deserved nothing less than this combination. I could go on but I can't really do the writing or the presentation justice. It was like listening to a documentary, and I was enthralled for all 26 plus hours.

A must listen for any Packers fan, American football fan, or enjoyer of biographies. I can't recommend it enough.

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Perhaps My Favorite Book Ever


As a Packer fan, obviously the subject is close to my heart. Though true I believe any football fan would deeply enjoy this book. To be honest I didn’t think that a biography could be so factual and still so emotive. The content gives us a 360 degree view of the legend, but it is the level of writing that brings this piece alive. To say that it is outstandingly well written is to minimize this artful telling of Vince’s life. I hope you read it. I just finished it when I started writing this review and have already started listening to it again as I type these last few words.

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  • MK
  • 04-05-21

Great insight into the man they call Lombardi

One of the best sport’s books I’ve ever read!! Fascinating , riveting , and shows the human side of Vince Lombardi and his players.