Resurrection: The Miracle Season That Saved Notre Dame
Jim Dent. Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99 (306pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56721-7
Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame's first ""outsider"" coach-non-Catholic, not a Notre Dame alum-turned around a failing football tradition when he joined the university in 1963. To capture the way it was and communicate the sense of immense anticipation that greeted the young, driven coach, author and journalist Dent (The Junction Boys), an avid fan, researched past programs led by the legendary Knute Rockne and others, a strategy that sets the stage for his nail-biting saga, but makes for a choppy first quarter. Once he settles into the season, Dent does a masterful job recreating games without ever forgetting the human details; for example, Parseghian's fierce integrity drove him to get rid of a remarkably promising player: ""I hated to let a player like Dave go...but I could see the players walking a little taller. They knew that we were serious as we could be about turning the team around."" Dent's characters take on the dimensions of true and winning people; by the time the where-are-the-now epilogue rolls around, readers will consider them something like old friends. 8 pages color photos.
Reviewed on: 08/31/2009