cover image Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre

Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre

Jeff Pearlman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (448p) ISBN 978-0-544-45437-8

Skilled sports biographer Pearlman (Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s) brings his dogged approach to this enjoyable book on Brett Favre, the gambling, cannon-armed quarterback whose talent and boyish enthusiasm brought the Green Bay Packers back to hallowed relevance in the mid-1990s. That was before inconsistent play, nonstop waffling on retirement, and an ill-advised text to a comely TV reporter dimmed the halo. Favre was not destined for stardom. His father and high-school coach, Irv, favored a running game that kept college scouts uninterested in his son. (Away from the field, one of Irv’s methods of punishment was having his kids kneel on a rock pile.) In the pros, Favre’s addictions and carousing tested his marriage. As years went by, the quarterback hardened, going from an easygoing soul to a demanding type who followed his own rules, whether that meant establishing his own dress code or getting his own private chef. But he was a model teammate who bridged every locker room clique and showed compassion for people in need, such as sending a truck of supplies to Hurricane Katrina victims. Pearlman’s latest effort lacks the emotional heft of his Walter Payton or Barry Bonds biographies, but he strips away Favre’s grown-up-kid mythology while reveling in his unlikely, turbulent path to iconic status. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (Oct.)