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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2013

Book Reviews Robert R. Kracke BOOK REVIEWS Of Football & Fine Arts Off ensive Conduct My Life on the Line by John “Hog” Hannah (w/Tom Hale) Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2013 - 222 pgs. fessional football. Coach Bryant reportedly told him that he wasn’t good enough to need an agent. As a pro, Hannah became what was described by Sports Illustrated Magazine in a cover story as “Th e Best Offensive Lineman of all Time.” He was then elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991 after earning All American honors twice at Alabama. Along the way, Hannah discovered that the Patriots were underpaying him and re-negotiated his contract. He was named All Pro ten times and All AFC eleven times and was selected to play in nine pro bowls. As a reader you will learn some things you might not have known about the intensity which pro football players apply to the game. Hannah describes some of the various psychological and physical tactics used to not only hype himself up but to psyche up the opponent. Th e opponent would, of course, use the same tactics. Th is book is a “warts and all” story of a good ol’ boy from North Alabama who made it to the big time, fell from grace both spiritually and physically, and whose ego became an impediment to his own approach to life in general. His marriage fell apart, his game fell apart, and his attempts at coaching were a disaster. He insists, however, that he has since pulled himself together in all respects, lives in Blount County on a large cattle farm and has re-established relationships with his brothers and his son. Hannah fi nally admits in the closing pages of the book that Bear Bryant was an inspiration to him in challenging him to do the best he could and that the statement “you’re not good enough to have an agent” was, in retrospect, something from which he profi ted. Th is is a good, lighthearted read for avid sports fans and the unwashed. Th is book should be available to the general public by the time this review reaches print on or about September 1, 2013. Th e Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, NC, 2011 To paraphrase Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In the ‘fall’ a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of (football).” Of course, Alabama this year is no diff erent from any other year and it is the “fancy” of most men and women. Birmingham Bar member Tom Hale has written this autobiography of John Hannah, a former Alabama player who later played for the New England Patriots. Tom has done a superb job in telling Hannah’s story in a very readable, journalistic fashion. Hannah was from Albertville, Alabama, played high school ball at Baylor in Chattanooga until his attitude got him removed from the team. He went on to the University and played under the direction of Paul “Bear” Bryant and had a stellar career at Alabama. At one point, during his senior year, he approached Coach Bryant and asked if he should get an agent to explore the possibility of pro- Th is novel is a well-written story of the theft of paintings worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum back in 1990. Two men dressed as police offi cers bound and gagged two guards, stole 13 pieces of art, including a Rembrandt, a Vermeer and a Degas. Th e author sets up a novel, a Roman â clef, wherein the author supposes that Isabella Stewart Gardner actually posed for a famous painting that becomes the subject of the plot. A professional art restorer is asked to make a reproduction of this particular painting and the restorer discovers that the “copy” she has been given as a guide to reproduce the same 22 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin - Fall 2013
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