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Books  >>  Sports

Rich Cohen

Monsters

Rich Cohen Monsters The 1985 Chicago Bears And The Wild Heart Of Foot
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Biographical note:

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.

Main description:

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.

Review quote:

Praise for Monsters:

“Every year brings a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA, and Stanley Cup champion. All are duly noted and celebrated. But a memorable few have greater and more lasting resonance, a standing that excellence alone cannot explain. The 1985 Chicago Bears were such a team, a mélange of talents and outsize personalities that captivated and embodied a city. Rich Cohen experienced it as an obsessed seventeen-year-old. Almost three decades on, he remains obsessed—entertainingly and insightfully so, but obsessed nonetheless. His combination of reporting and remembrance is by turns evocative, revealing, quirky, and funny as hell—or at least as funny as Gary Fencik doing the Super Bowl Shuffle.” —Bob Costas

“For anyone from Chicago, or anyone with any sense, the ’85 Bears are the best team there ever was, and Rich Cohen has written the book we’ve always wanted. It’s got all the people you want to hear from: Ditka, McMahon, Singletary, Wilson, Fencik, and, thank God, the incomparable and too-often-forgotten Doug Plank. This book—full of soul and searching, and also knock-you-down funny—is not just a great sports book, not just a great Chicago book, but a great book, period.” —Dave Eggers, who grew up two miles from the Bears practice facility

“Rich Cohen writes the best stuff—people, scenes, sentences, drunks, big men, fine women, jokes, impressions, secrets—in America.” —David Lipsky, author of Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

“The Chicago Bears are one of the most fascinating franchises and compelling stories in football. From Mr. Halas to Mr. Ditka, from the Fridge to McMahon, it’s been one of the wild rides of the NFL. Rich Cohen has captured the spirit of a team and an era, its heart and mind, its great triumphs. It’s a wonderful story filled with characters with character. It doesn’t get any better.” —Joe Theismann, Super Bowl–winning quarterback, Washington Redskins

Monsters is a remarkable book, beautifully written, but that’s beside the point. You think you’re going to read a football book but you wind up reading about America, about who we are—you and me—and even why. And Rich Cohen has accomplished this feat through portraits of some of the greatest characters ever to have charged onto a football field and then left it.” —Ira Berkow, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Rich Cohen wrote it his own bleeping way and the result is a monster of a book. I’m a Packers guy, but I respect the Bears, our oldest rivals, and loved this book.” —David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered

“The triumphant and tragic saga of the 1985 Chicago Bears and the aftermath of their historic championship season is a subject worthy of epic poetry. In Rich Cohen, the Monsters of the Midway have found their bard. Joyous yet mournful, inspirational yet irreverent, celebratory yet unsparing, Cohen’s Monsters is an Aeneid for football lovers, blowin’ our minds just like we knew it would.” —Adam Langer, author of Crossing California, The Thieves of Manhattan, and The Salinger Contract


Praise for The Fish That Ate the Whale

“Absorbing, nimble and unapologetically affectionate . . . Mr. Cohen is a wonderfully visceral storyteller . . . It’s a magnificent, crazy story, engagingly told.” —Aaron Gell, New York Observer


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