What I’ve been reading

– Coaching Defensive Football, by Bill Arnsparger. 330-plus pages of non-stop hard-core football — can the reader take it? Bill Arnsparger was the architect of the Miami Dolphins’ “no-name” defense under Don Shula, head coach of the New York Giants and LSU Tigers, athletic director for the University of Florida (during which time the school was put on probation but he also hired Steve Spurrier), and, finally, defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in the early 1990s under Bobby Ross, again heading to the Super Bowl. Yes, there have been football developments since this book was written, but a perusal of the table of contents that they are minor when compared to what the book covers.

The Anthologist: A Novel, by Nicholson Baker. Very quick read that I much enjoyed a lot, though people uninterested in poetry might not find it as pleasant as I did.

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, by Richard Rorty. A reread of a book I never quite finished before. Again I’m skipping around some, but I think Rorty wouldn’t mind. Not sure I agree with everything but it is difficult to be enthused about philosophy in the analytic tradition after reading this, which is, of course, much of the point of he book.

The Years with Ross, by James Thurber. This is Thurber’s famous profile of Harold Ross, longtime steward of The New Yorker. I just picked this up so it’s on the pile.

  • DrB

    The Arnsparger book is one of my favorite resources. I think its the best book on defensive football out there. It may be a bit scheme-specific for some though.

  • Kent

    The Years with Ross is a joy.

  • Bill Arnsparger rocks !!!

  • Hermus

    Hi Chris, I really enjoy this blog. Can you recommend a good book or two on general football history? I was browsing Amazon the other day, but most everything is a fluffy nostalgia trip. I’m looking for something that includes some of the evolution of X’s & O’s and rules along with the cultural & social traditions. Thanks.

  • Turd Ferguson

    Rorty, huh? I’m interested: What’s your relationship with philosophy, analytic or otherwise?

  • Homyrrh

    Rorty was genuinely brilliant, though in my immensely limited scope of his philosophy, I have to feel that much of his defense of his secularist position is at least as elitist and even cultist as the religious fundamentalism he sought to critique.

  • MrRedDevil

    The Arnsparger book is a BEAST.

  • in a lot of ways, rorty can be seen as taking analytic philosophy to it’s farthest extent – and watching it fall off the table into complete anarchy. in that respect, P&TMN can almost be treated as a reductio ad absurdum (wittgenstein + pragmatism = WTF?).

    in terms of his assessment of the analytic tradition that preceded him, the book is fantastic. in terms of creating a viable philosophy going forward, it’s much less so.

    the idea of philosophy serving as a gadfly to intellectualism seems… somewhat useless and not a little pretentious. but that idea’s application to the age of snark that the wonderful world of the internet has begotten is tough to overlook.

    you should check out some of Jürgen Habermas stuff. he’s a hell of a lot less dour about our intellectual prospects for the future.

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