cover image Jim Brown: Last Man Standing

Jim Brown: Last Man Standing

Dave Zirin. Blue Rider, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-17344-8

In a far-reaching biography that goes well beyond football, Zirin (What’s My Name, Fool?) narrates the life of NFL legend Jim Brown. Brown walked away from the Cleveland Browns in 1966 as the NFL’s leading rusher after only nine seasons to pursue acting and become a civil rights activist. Readers shouldn’t be surprised that Zirin directs much of his attention to Brown’s postfootball career, given the author’s background as sports editor for the Nation and a columnist for the Progressive. Zirin focuses chapters on Brown’s entrepreneurial endeavors and political affiliations—including support of both Richard Nixon’s and Donald Trump’s presidencies. Brown also created the Black Economic Union (a nationwide attempt to boost black businesses) and Amer-I-Can (a gang-intervention program) while defending himself against numerous allegations of violence against women. Throughout, Zirin portrays Brown as someone deeply aware of the “unassailable masculinity” in everything he does, both on and off the field. Given its breadth and detail, this stands as the definitive biography of Brown. (June)