Best Michigan Football books

Submitted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) on August 20th, 2016 at 1:27 PM

I'm sure that this topic has been brought up before but as a relative newcomer to the blog and with time to read during the Summer as there are no live games to watch on television I wanted to throw it out there for discussion.

I thought all three John U Bacon books were very good. Starting with Bo Schembechler, moving on to Rich Rodriguez, and ending with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh they are all very informative and well written.  I also enjoyed Curt Stephenson's book ("Those Who Stay"). It gives a first hand account of what it is like to be a walkon playing for Bo Schembechler and how hard work and determination pays off. When you can walkon and then catch a touchdown pass in the Rose Bowl it is certainly a very special story.


I forgot to mention. "The University of Michigan Football Scrapbook" by Cohen, Deutsch, and Neft is a really fun book. It has copies of original newspaper clippings of games, photographs of players, and stats. It starts in 1879 and goes up until the end of the 1977 season. The newspaper clippings are great.



August 20th, 2016 at 1:42 PM ^

I preordered Endzone and thought it was amazing. I couldn't put it down. It's funny you mention this topic because I literally bought and began reading Three and Out just yesterday. I just couldn't bear to read it when it was first released. I'm finding it equally as fascinating as Endzone.

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In reply to by Hornsgoblue (not verified)


August 20th, 2016 at 1:57 PM ^

As unnerving as that particular portion of Michigan football's - well, now it is history - can be to discuss or read about, I read this basically the first week it was available and found myself fascinated by the insights from start to finish. Yes, it's difficult at points, especially if you have some severe disagreements with who and what and how and so forth, but I think it is a necessary read for self-reflection, if nothing else. 


August 20th, 2016 at 1:44 PM ^

Is a great book about Yost and the building of Michigan Stadium. If you want a good read about one of the greatest times in Michigan Football history, then I highly recommend this book.

Wolverine Devotee

August 20th, 2016 at 1:51 PM ^

Bo's Lasting Lessons is a great book even for non-sports fans because it teaches you a lot of things.

I first read it when it came out and did my biography project on it in 6th grade. I've read it twice since and as I've gotten older, more and more of it is resonating.

It's a great book on life. And what kind of person you should aspire to be.

As for other books, Jon Falk's books are great. As is What It Means To Be A Wolverine.

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August 20th, 2016 at 1:56 PM ^

IMO, the original Bo book (Man in Motion by Joe Falls) is better than the Bacon or Albom book. It goes into more detail about Bo's early years at Michigan. 

I recently finished Stagg vs. Yost by John Kryk and it's a really good read about the early years of college football. It's right up there with The Big House and Fielding Yost's Legacy book by John Behee.


Bando Calrissian

August 20th, 2016 at 2:01 PM ^

Life Among the Wolverines by Tom Hemingway--it's a great view not just of Michigan Football, but all of the "Old Blue" era of Michigan Athletics. If memory serves, there's some great material on the basketball program when they were playing in Yost.

And I know it's football, but a really interesting complement to Bo's books is Bill Frieder's book Basket Case. It's completely bonkers and totally engaging.

In reply to by Hornsgoblue (not verified)


August 20th, 2016 at 5:38 PM ^

Will Perry's "The Wolverines" is a great overview of the program from the beginning until 1974 when it was published. Also, if you're interested in the Bo era look at Jon Falk's books.


August 20th, 2016 at 2:36 PM ^

by Mitch Albom (not a fan) but this book is very good. (circa 1989).

Also, if you or someone you care about has heart issues, this book has lifted me more than once...

The Heart of a Champion: My 37 year war against heart disease.

by Bo Schembechler, Fritz Seyferth & Dr. Kim Eagle.

Thank you Bo.




August 20th, 2016 at 2:52 PM ^

And thank you, Fritz.  His was an excellent story, as well:  a walk-on halfback for Bo's first team, he went on the become the Big Ten's third-leading scorer as a junior, and then unselfishly shifted to becoming mostly a lead blocker for Billy Taylor in his senior year.  He was one of those guys that made up with intelligence for his modest athletic attributes. He worked in the athletic department for some 20 years, and he's also one of the best interviews in Michigan sports.


August 20th, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

I'm a big fan of John U Bacon as a reporter. Books that are primarily reporting, like 3 and Out and Endzone are fantastic. I think his opinion-oriented pieces tend to be very weak (not well supported, sometimes the logic behind them doesn't make much sense), and since that was the main point of 4th and Long, I didn't care for it. Bo's Lasting Lessons doesn't really fit into either category, but it is excellent.

I loved Jon Falk's book "If These Walls Could Talk." Outstanding stories from a guy whose been in the middle of it, almost since Bo started. I'd like to pick up his second book, I'm sure it will be great, too.

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August 21st, 2016 at 9:38 AM ^

I was not a fan of 4th and Long either. Bacon tried to shoehorn too many stories into the book and there was too much Penn State endearment. It was like a one-sided view that turned into an open forum to vent his complaints. 

The System is a much better book if you wanna read about the issues with the NCAA and college football. I would also reccomend Intercollegiate Athletics and the American University by former UM president James Duderstadt. It's an insiders view on college athletics and helps you understand how an athletic department exists inside a major university.


August 20th, 2016 at 3:49 PM ^

Natural Enemies by MGoContributor John Kryk is a great read. A complete history of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry. Rippin' good yarn. You will not be disappointed.


August 20th, 2016 at 5:44 PM ^

I just read that a few months ago. Yost could be a dick when he wanted or needed to be. It also gives the roots to why a hate ND even though I was bred to hate them anyhow. It also tells us why we should always play them in some fashion.