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The Vikings Reader

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Much more fascinating than it really has any right to be, the Vikings Reader is a chronicle of the history of the Vikings, as told by contemporary news stories, particularly from the local newspapers. Because the story is told from these contemporary sources, it focuses a lot on the emotion and perception of the local populace, rather than analytical 20/20 hindsight.

Almost by accident, the Reader ends up being a history of Minnesota sportswriting. The shifts in tone from the beginning to the end of the book are astounding. It really does show just how much even our sportswriting has changed from the 50s to today.

What really sets this book apart, however, is the focus on the off-field history. The on-field results of the Vikings are documented, sure, but in a long-view book like this, the most interesting stories happen off-the-field. The ephemera of sports shines through, like the constant stadium struggle, the coaching changes and the tailgating culture. The on-field results of all but the most exceptional teams and players fade from memory, but the swirling culture surrounding a franchise is enduring, and this book capitalizes well on that fact.

This post was crossposted from Goodreads. You can find the original at

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