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Book Reviews

Jim

The Authors Self-Centered Memoir On the Great Jim Brown

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A one-on-one casual basketball game turned into true friendship that lasted for years. “Big Toe” Jim Toback, as he was affectionately called by NFL great Jim Brown, or “J. B.,” writes an attention-grabbing accumulation of anecdotes about their relationship.

Toback was sent by Esquire magazine in 1971 to write a story about Brown, a hero of the black community. Brown succeeded in raising consciousness about the black mans place in society at a time when being black carried a stigma outside of the sports world. After they learned that Esquire was not going to run the story, Toback and Brown decided to write this book.

What first got Tobacks attention was a realization about what Green Power meant to Brown. Today, we look at Green Power and think of energy. In the 70s, Green Power meant greenbacks or money. Providing jobs, opportunities, food, and clothing to poor members of the Negro community was Browns approach to giving back to his people. Brown was a football player and movie star, but he also was an entrepreneur and role model. He showed others how to become self-sufficient and used his green power to invest in their businesses.

The bond that developed between Toback and Brown, polar opposites, grew into mutual respect and friendship. Neither of them hesitated to call upon the other for help when needed. They played tennis and basketball together, and their games are described with awe and braggadocio. Its clear that Tobacks early involvement with Brown contributed to his development as a person. The book could have been a little longer; we are given only a fleeting glimpse into the lives of these two fascinating men, and readers are left wanting more.

From his beginnings as a journalist, Toback has risen to fame. He has crafted screen plays, directed several movies, and was nominated for ten Academy Awards for writing Bugsy, an original screenplay. (April)s

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