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Friday night lights : a town, a team, and a dream
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Author Notes
H. G. "Buzz" Bissinger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. He has worked for many newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, and he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 1987 for a series on the Philadelphia Court System. He has written for magazines including Sports Illustrated, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair, for which he has been a contributing editor since 1996. Bissinger also co-produced and wrote for the ABC television drama NYPD Blue and published the nonfiction books Friday Night Lights, A Prayer for the City and Three Nights in August. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
Fiction/Biography Profile
Foorball players
Football coaches
High school sports
Sports fans
Small town life
Odessa, Texas - South (U.S.)
- United States
Texas - South (U.S.) / West (U.S.)
Time Period
1988-1998 -- 20th century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In 1988, Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Inquirer editor, left his job to spend a year with a high school sports team. The sport he picked was football, the location, the depressed West Texas oil town of Odessa, called by Larry McMurtry ``the worst town on earth.'' Here 20,000 fans turn out regularly to watch their Permian Panthers win. Here there is no high-blown talk of playing the game well; just the raw need to win at all costs. In this atmosphere, players vomit from nervousness before each game and often play with injuries. On the few occasions when the team suffers a loss, the coach's front lawn sprouts ``For Sale'' signs. Bissinger makes you feel the tensions of the kids, who are not just playing a game, but literally fighting for the honor of their town. He also accomplishes the more difficult feat of making the team's rabid fans sympathetic. His language sometimes verges on the overblown, but it does echo the mythical proportions of the game and a season that will render the rest of the players' lives a dull denouement. Fascinating even for those, or maybe especially for those, with no interest in football.-- Nora Rawlinson, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bissinger spent 1988 in Odessa, Tex., a town obsessed with its champion high-school football team, the Permian Panthers. PW called this a ``superb, if disquieting, portrait of heartland America.'' (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa -- the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business.In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers' dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms. Includes Reader's Group Guide inside.Now a major motion picture starring Billy Bob Thorton.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. xi
Prologuep. 1
1.Odessap. 23
2.The Watermelon Feedp. 38
3.Boobiep. 53
The Season
4.Dreaming of Heroesp. 73
5.Black and Whitep. 89
6.The Ambivalence of Ivoryp. 111
7.School Daysp. 128
8.East Versus Westp. 153
9.Friday Night Politicsp. 173
10.Boobie Who?p. 194
Push for the Playoffs
11.Sistersp. 211
12.Civil Warp. 233
13.Heads or Tailsp. 251
14.Friday Night Addictionp. 267
15.The Algebraic Equationp. 291
16.Field of Dreamsp. 313
Epiloguep. 339
Afterwordp. 357
Acknowledgmentsp. 364
List of Illustrationsp. 365
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