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The Redskins Encyclopedia

A book by Michael Richman

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Lifelong Cowboys Fan Sez "Not Bad"

  • Oct 10, 2007
  • by
Though my family's from Texas, I spent a lot of time growing up in the Washington, DC, suburbs, so I certainly appreciate the history and occasional runs of glory of the Redskins franchise and the integral role the team plays in the city's identity and sense of itself (far more than, for example, the Seahawks do here in Seattle). So from that basis, I can comfortably say that 'Skins fans of most any vintage will find a lot in this "encyclopedia" to treasure. It's a book that lends itself both to random open-up-and-reading and serious research.

The bulk of "The Redskins Encyclopedia" is a season-by-season look at the team's performance on the field. More attention is paid, naturally, to the most successful seasons, with certain specific games, including Super Bowls, analyzed in some depth. Less successful campaigns are generally given less ink, but the coverage is still satisfying. Following that are two chapters on notable 'Skins players, coaches, execs, and owners. The book concludes with an exhaustive appendix listing records, draft picks, year-by-year results, a roster of everyone ever to wear the burgundy and gold, and more.

I thought the best chapter was the one devoted to the Redskins' rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys.

At the same time, though, there are a number of important omissions.

The most obvious of these is the lack of color photographs -- or indeed, color of any kind. Apart from one small text box on page 87 discussing the origins of the Indian-head logo, there is no discussion ... and still less any depiction ... of the team's uniforms or logos over time (small print on the book's cataloguing page says "This book is not sanctioned by the NFL or its teams," so presumably the author couldn't get the rights to reproduce any of the 'Skins' livery). There is no index. And the cover is practically generic.

As you'd expect from an "encyclopedia," this is a very text-heavy, photo-light book. The sections read -- and look -- like newspaper articles, and often even have newspaper-like headlines ("Resourceful Redskins Put Muzzle on Ditka, Bears" on page 148, for example). Given Michael Richman's journalistic background, I suppose that isn't surprising, but I often found the style uninspiring. That combined with the lack of color almost led me to give this three stars instead of four.

What salvaged the four-star rating was largely the remarkable amount of information available to the reader here. I'm sure my lovely bride, a lifelong Redskins fan, and any number of football fans in general, will enjoy having this around.

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More The Redskins Encyclopedia reviews
review by . March 23, 2008
The Redskins Encyclopedia is definitely a must have for Redskins fans. I am not even a Redskins fan and I found it thoroughly engaging and interesting, which is quite a feat for a text heavy encyclopedic history of a professional football team I don't even root for.     The bulk of the book is dedicated to a chronological history of the Washington Redskins' franchise from its origin in 1932 as the Boston Braves through 2006.    The book provides a review of …
review by . November 04, 2007
This book is clearly a labor of love, the love of the Washington Redskins football team. It chronicles the history of the team from the first days of the franchise when the National Football League (NFL) was struggling. George Preston Marshall was the original owner of the team, purchasing the Newark Tornadoes franchise that had folded the year before. Originally located in Boston and known as the Braves, the team struggled on the field and at the box office. That name lasted a year until they moved …
review by . October 15, 2007
I'll be concsise. If you want an enclopedia tomb of all things Redskins, then this is a great resource.  If you want a coffee table book with pretty photos, look elsewhere.    Seriously, I would have loved to have some color photos in this book. That would have really raised the bar. Alas, this is truly encyclopedic and not much fun to "look" at. A die-hard Skins fan football fanatic would love this, don't get me wrong. But for the causual fan, I would not recommend …
review by . October 15, 2007
'The Redskins Encyclopedia' is a wonderful resource for all 'skins fans out there who want to learn more about the history of the 3x Super Bowl champions. Packed with all the history that Joe Gibbs would give the stamp of approval on, this is a great gift for any Redskins fan that wants to enjoy the past, present, and future of one of the NFL's most storied franchises.    Hail to the pigs and Hail to the Redskins!!!    ***** RECOMMENDED
review by . September 25, 2007
. . . for fans of one of the most storied franchises in NFL history.    The aptly named "Redskins Encyclopedia" takes the reader all the way back to the founding of the team in Boston, through its move to Washington, DC in the early 1930's, and on through the present (the Joe Gibbs era, round 2). Every season is described in detail, as is every playoff game. Also featured are biographies of Redskins greats (and near-greats -- a nice added feature) throughout the decades. Along …
About the reviewer
Andrew S. Rogers ()
Ranked #364
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
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About this book


"For Redskins fans, this book is a treasure-trove of stories, facts, anecdotes and quotes ... It's as detailed as a Joe Gibbs game plan, as far-reaching as a Jurgensen to Taylor post pattern, and as enjoyable as a victory over the Cowboys!" ----Steve Sabol, President of NFL Films
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ISBN-10: 1592135420
ISBN-13: 978-1592135424
Author: Michael Richman
Genre: Reference, Sports
Publisher: Temple University Press
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