Member Reviews

This one was disappointing for me. I have been a fan of Bo Jackson's for a long time and was interested in his life story, but this was a miss for me. It took months to get through this book. It felt very tedious and long, like never ending long. The first half of the book felt like a literal play by play of every college game he ever had. I really lost interest and didn't get a feel for who he was as a person. The book was well researched, but it didn't capture the personality of Bo. It was just a regurgitation of fact after fact, stat after stat. There are plenty of good reviews on this one though, so check those out before basing you decision on my experience. This one was just not for me.

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Amazing inside look I to the legend of Bo Jackson and what could have been had he stayed healthy. Definitely a must read for anyone who likes Jeff’s work

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I was a graduate student at Auburn University when Coach Pat Dye and Bo Jackson were both there. It was an amazing time. Bo was an amazing athlete and played several sports at the highest level. So, I was excited to read The Last Folk Hero. The research and writing was top notch (hence the four stars). However, Bo Jackson has been permanently knocked off of the heroes pedestal for me. I found his behavior as a boy and as a man abhorrent. It is inexcusable no matter where or how you grew up. If you want to learn more about Bo Jackson's amazing athletic feats, then this is the book for you. If you don't want to be disappointed in the man then this will be a tough read.

I received a drc from the publisher via Netgalley.

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This is an aptly titled book. Bo Jackson is a physical marvel and for too brief of a time, he is one of the dominant athletes in the world. There are ads built around him, he is an all star, all pro, Heisman Trophy winner, and excels at seemingly any athletic endeavor for which he competes. The stories about Bo Jackson go even further. The highlights of his exploits will live on forever. This is a fun read and exploration into the folk hero that is Bo Jackson.

I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Gather round, kids — put your phones away, you’re not going to need those — and let me tell you about the wonders of the great Bo Jackson. A slab of pure muscle from Bessemer, Alabama, he could hit a baseball to Saturn and be waiting to catch it when it arrived. He hit defenders in the open field so hard their grandchildren were born sore. He wrote bestselling novels as he rounded the bases, cooked up five-course meals in the backfield, and sang like a choir of angels as he leaped over goal-line stands. He was faster, stronger, smarter and craftier than any three other athletes of his day. He was Bo. That was all we knew, and all we needed to know.

Bo Jackson — the hero (and almost the goat) of the 1982 Iron Bowl, and the subject of an exceptional new biography from author Jeff Pearlman — came along at exactly the right moment in American cultural history for a man of his talents. He existed, professionally speaking, in that brief moment when Nike-driven, showbiz-fueled pop culture could create a myth, but ever-present social media couldn’t yet disprove it. He seemed to come from nowhere — back in the 1980s, you heard rumors of “Bo Jackson” long before you ever saw him on TV or in person — and he vanished from the pinnacle so quickly he left behind an impact crater, but not a trace of his true self.

$50K Yahoo Cup
There will never be anyone like him again. There simply can’t be.

The title of Pearlman’s book is “The Last Folk Hero,” and there’s real truth in that. A folk hero doesn’t arrive by social media snippets or brand-driven marketing campaigns. A folk hero’s legend isn’t built on likes, faves and retweets. A folk hero takes up space in your head when you hear of his legendary exploits, but there’s no video to disprove them, only the words of those who were there: Yep, it happened. Never seen anything like it before or since.

Bo Jackson, shown playing running back for Auburn against Florida State on October 12, 1985 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Damien Strohmeyer/Allsport/Getty Images)
Bo Jackson, shown playing running back for Auburn against Florida State on October 12, 1985 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Damien Strohmeyer/Allsport/Getty Images)
Born and raised in Bessemer, Alabama, Bo — nobody called him "Jackson," not then and not now — began turning heads in high school. He committed to Auburn when Alabama didn't show enough interest, and that put him in the spotlight as a freshman for the 1982 Iron Bowl.

Coming into that game, Alabama — coached by the legendary Bear Bryant — had won nine straight in the matchup. Auburn, to the Tide, was little more than a curiosity, a necessary task on the to-do list. But to the Tigers, Alabama was the goal and the mountaintop, the foe that Auburn needed to vanquish to claim some measure of self-respect. And in 1982, Auburn had a weapon Alabama couldn’t match: Bo.

At halftime, Auburn led 14-13, but Jackson hadn’t yet broken free. Always a slow starter, Jackson didn’t truly cut loose until about nine minutes remained in the game. He ripped off a ferocious 53-yard run that only ended when he was run out of bounds. A field goal closed Auburn to within five points, 22-17, as the minutes dwindled away.

Late in the game, Jackson and Auburn pounded their way down the field, deep into Tide territory, until, with just 2:30 remaining, Auburn stood at Alabama’s very doorstep. Fourth down and 18 inches to go.

Auburn had been practicing for this very moment.

Alabama’s defensive line averaged 251 pounds — this was 1982, remember — and were impossible to move. So Auburn coach Pat Dye decided that rather than going through or around those mountains, he’d simply go over them.

Jackson was an esteemed high jumper in high school. The Auburn coaches had crafted a play to cater to his strengths. Its name: Bo Over The Top.

Alabama — heck, everyone in the country — knew what the play would be, knew the ball would be going to Jackson. He reached the 2-yard line, stopped for an instant, planted his feet, and then leaped, up and up and up and … crossed the goal line.

“As I was falling down I stretched out and lunged forward and got the ball over the goal line,” Jackson said, as Pearlman writes. “I looked over at the sideline at Bear Bryant and he had a look on his face like someone had walked along and stepped on his sandcastle.”

On Alabama’s next possession, Auburn intercepted it, apparently sealing the Tide’s fate. But as Auburn ran down the clock, the Alabama defense tightened. With 1:13 remaining, Auburn faced a third-and-1, and so the call went out: Bo Over The Top, one more time.

Again, Jackson took the handoff. Again, he stopped and planted his feet. Again, he leaped in the air and extended the ball forward. Only this time, the ball popped off the helmet of an Alabama defender and ended up in Tide hands. Had Bo just given away the game? Had he just shattered the hopes of an entire fan base?

Fortunately for the sanity of Auburn fans everywhere, the Tiger defense held, preserving a 23-22 triumph that was, to that moment, the greatest Iron Bowl victory in Auburn history. Since then, the Camback — when Cam Newton almost singlehandedly wiped out a 24-0 Tide lead — and the Kick Six — arguably the most famous play in college football history, you might have heard about it — have gone Auburn’s way in more dramatic fashion. Right up through last year’s four-overtime thriller, the Iron Bowl continues to deliver, just as it did that day in Birmingham 40 years ago.

Bo Jackson, then of the Kansas City Royals, hits the ball during an MLB game in the 1990 season. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bo Jackson, then of the Kansas City Royals, hits the ball during an MLB game in the 1990 season. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Bo, though — Bo didn’t have nearly so much time to run. He would spend the rest of the ‘80s as the most famous athlete in the country. He played for both the then-Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Royals, producing highlights in both sports that rank among the best ever. No one who was alive at the time will forget him running over Brian Bosworth, for instance, or running up and around an outfield wall until he was almost horizontal with the ground.

Bo suffered an NFL-career-ending injury in January 1991 against the Bengals. He kept playing baseball for a few more years, suiting up for the Angels and White Sox, until finally retiring in 1994. Unlike many of his fellow legends, he's kept a fairly low profile since then, popping up for the occasional commercial or to receive an honor or two.

We won't see anything like him ever again. We can't, because half the allure of Bo was the fact that we couldn't watch his highlights in real time or moments afterward. The legend of a college Bo hammering a home run off the lights at the University of Georgia? That would have been on Twitter within seconds, appreciated, consumed and then forgotten.

“Everything is cooler in story than it is in reality, and you get used to things so quickly, once you see them,” Pearlman says. "Bo Jackson, he'd be great. It'd be amazing. People would be dazzled. But then they'd move on to a Kardashian tweet two seconds later.”

We were lucky to have him for as long as we did. And every time the Iron Bowl comes around, Auburn fans will remember the time Bo went up, up, up ... and over the top.


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Another great behind-the-scenes sports book from Jeff Pearlman. He gives you the gossipy background on athletes from the '80s and '90s sharing the dirt that never would've made it into the papers when it happened. But now enough time has passed that the participants are willing to spill the news. Very fun read.

Netgalley has provided me with a free e-galley of the book in return for this review.

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Some books you just know are going to be great. Every sports book by Jeff Pearlman is a must-read for me ever since first picking up 'The Bad Guys Won' years ago. Pearlman writes as only a great storyteller can - witty, funny, informative, and always insightful. Ever since watching ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary You Don't Know Bo I have wanted to find a great book on Bo Jackson. Combine great writer and great subject and you get a book even better than expectations. It is quite simply a joy, as entertaining and enjoyable a sports book as you will find.

For those of us too young to have seen him play, Bo Jackson is a figure who is shrouded by mystery. An athlete of near unlimited potential, college football superstar whose pro-career in both baseball and football lives on more in memories and snippets than in medals and trophies.

Pearlman has captured Bo through the eyes of those who witnessed his sporting feats. Through extensive research and interviewing hundreds of people he brings to life Bo's various triumphs and failures as well as capturing the lingering sense of what might have been. Pearlman leans in on the semi-mythological nature of Bo's lingering fame - the fact that so many of his most outlandish moments came before the age when everything was recorded. While we video of so many of Bo's enough remarkable feats to athleticism, the highlights of the book are those that only a lucky few saw and decades later still recall with awe..

The Last Folk Hero also captures Bo's status as a pop culture icon. The level of fame he reached outstripped his achievements as a pro and his less charismatic personality. His uniqueness as an athlete capable of moments of unrivalled athletic ability created an aura and enthusiasm that.

Bo himself remains something of a mystery. Unlike some bio's this isn't a forensic investigation of who Bo is a person. Instead it's a retelling of the legend of Bo Jackson the athlete, the pop culture sensation, the icon. The parts of Bo we do see present a balanced view of a man living an extraordinary life. Pearlman captures moments of great heart and humanity as well as moments of arrogance and ego..

This is such an entertaining read I cannot recommend it highly enough. It captures something wonderful about why we watch sport and why mere mortals want to see feats of seemingly superhuman athleticism. Read it, enjoy it and fire up YouTube along the way.

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The perfect title- Bo really is the last folk hero. I was awed by the level of research in this book. There are interviews I can't comprehend how Pearlman got.

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I have been waiting for this book to come out for a while, as I follow Jeff Pearlman on Twitter and I have seen all the background work he had been doing for this book. Also, because I was only 5 years old when Bo Jackson stopped playing professional sports I never really got to see him play and so he truly is as the title suggests a folk hero to me. Therefore, I found this book really interesting to sort through some of the legend, but also give a complete picture of the man and his path to mythological status. I really enjoyed Howard Bryant's book on Rickey Henderson earlier this year and I would say this book is similar in that it humanizes a larger than life athletic figure while also correcting some mistaken impressions. This book is obviously well researched with a lot of unique accounts, like all of Pearlman's books, and I certainly think it will live up to the expectations of those who did see Bo play as well. In the end, it also leaves you thinking what could have been if Bo had come around in current times with NIL in college sports and modern surgical procedures and injury management in sports at all levels. I would definitely recommend this book to any sports fan.

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Whenever an athlete can compete at the highest level in two (or more) sports, it is a very noteworthy accomplishment. When that athlete can do certain feats that even most stars in that particular sport only dream of accomplishing, that is when stories of incredible feats are told and passed down through the years. Vincent “Bo” Jackson is one of those athletes in which this was accomplished, and his story is told in this excellent book by Jeff Pearlman.

Pearlman has made a very good career on writing sports biographies of famous athletes who may have a flaw or two, but has had either outstanding success in their sport, some great stories to share, a compelling story on the way to fame or, in Jackson’s case, a bit of all three traits. The “great stories” are feats of amazing athleticism by Jackson shared by those who have claimed to have seen them. This goes from his youth to high school sports (track and field as well as baseball and football) to college sports at Auburn (again, all three, although his fame there was for football) to the professional ranks. Because many of these stories have a “you have to see it to believe it” aura, that was the inspiration for the title which is very appropriate.

The book also does an excellent job of portraying Jackson’s life and personality without the benefit of input directly from him. Pearlman does write that he did contact Jackson about the project and certainly wanted to talk to him, but Jackson declined. However, he did not give Pearlman any objections to writing the book, so the author went ahead and between his research and over 700 interviews, he ended up with a very entertaining and detailed book.

Among these details are plenty of discussion about Jackson’s accomplishments at Auburn, the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders and in major league baseball, primarily with the Kansas City Royals, but he also spent some time with the Chicago White Sox and California Angels. He suffered a devastating hip injury that required a hip replacement and given the medical knowledge at the time, it was considered a near-miracle that he was able to resume his baseball career (his football career was not resurrected) with the White Sox. Mainly because his football career, especially with the Raiders, was shortened due to the injury, more of the sports accomplishments described are in baseball. That doesn’t diminish either the writing about nor the stories telling about Jackson’s feats in that sport as well as track and field.

There is plenty of text about Bo off the field as well. Of course, the “Bo Knows” campaign by Nike is covered and that is quite entertaining as well as informative. The feeling of Bo being used for business purposes is not unique to him, but his views (as told by others such as teammates or friends) about team owners such as Hugh Culverhouse of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ewing Kaufman of the Royals was very interesting. Jackson’s personality also makes for interesting reading. The easiest way to describe it would be complex as many people of all types of relationships with him have stories to share and they range from him getting very angry at people for seemingly minor issue to being very generous to strangers with his time, money or both. Something that is very consistent, however, is his dedication to family. This is true for both his mother and later with his wife and children. He vowed to ensure that his children did not grow up with an absent father like he did and he is keeping that promise, at least according to those who spoke to Pearlman.

This is a complete book on the man that is all the more remarkable when one considers none of this information came from Jackson himself. Any reader who “knows Bo”, no matter if it is from sports, TV commercials or some other means, will find this book one that will be hard to put down and well worth the time to read.

I wish to thank Mariner Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This is, without a doubt, the best work of Jeff Pearlman's career. Combining exhaustive reporting with the deft touch of a writer at the height of his powers, this book tells the unbelievable but totally true story of one of the greatest athletes of his generation and the athletic feats that will live on forever (and almost certainly remain unmatched).

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A great look into the man behind the myth - this is an excellent read that should appeal to even those who don't follow football, as there is so much more in this book than just Bo as a player. The author has spoken and interviewed so many people who really know Bo Jackson, thus giving a previously never before look into Bo as more than just the legendary athlete we all know.

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The Last Folk Hero is basically exactly what I expected, which is mostly a good thing. This is the latest biography from Jeff Pearlman, who has made a career out of sports books that fall into roughly two categories:

Chronicles of successful teams that were quite dysfunctional/wild off the field - The Bad Guys Won, Boys Will Be Boys, Showtime

Measured biographies of legendary athletes giving a full overview of both their amazing feats and positive traits and their flaws - Gunslinger, Sweetness, The Rocket that Fell to Earth.

This falls into the latter, providing the definitive account of Bo Jackson’s athletic career. For those unfamiliar, Jackson was a Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn who played in both the NFL and MLB simultaneously for several seasons. A devastating hip injury in 1991 ended his pro football career (he played several more baseball seasons) but he still racked up his fair share of brilliant moments, including a legendary 221-yard effort on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks. He is also perhaps best known as having the most overpowered sports video game likeness ever in 1991’s Tecmo Super Bowl (and it’s not even close).

The Last Folk Hero touches upon these highlights and more, presenting a comprehensive overview of Jackson’s life and playing career. It’s a by-the-numbers sports biography in terms of chronologically examining Jackson’s life and doesn’t really get very macro in terms of broader themes represented by Jackson (Pearlman has always seemed most interested in getting to know his subjects as well as possible and depicting their full character), but it’s mostly well-written and Pearlman’s level of research is superb.

Jackson gave The Last Folk Hero his blessing (in terms of Pearlman notifying him about it and Jackson not shutting it down) but didn’t sit down for any interviews with the author. However, Pearlman conducted over 700 interviews while writing the book and there were several passages where I thought to myself “I guess Pearlman had to have interviewed Bo for that nugget.” Pearlman doesn’t skimp on any chapters in Bo’s life and despite the high levels of detail I didn’t find any portions to lag. I have always enjoyed football more than baseball but I found the hardball-centric chapters generally just as enjoyable as those focused on the gridiron.

Bo’s life follows the arc of a folk hero almost to the letter: kid grows up poor and black in an Alabama town that isn’t always particularly non-racist with a single mother, has a stutter and a troublemaking streak, finds refuge in sports and realizes he’s absurdly talented, accomplishes some bonkers athletic feats despite largely coasting on his talent before being severely diminished by a horrible injury. Even if his star only shined brightly for a remarkably brief time, he still was an absolute phenomenon in the late eighties and is deserving of the full-on biography treatment. Bo did write an autobiography in 1990, but from what I recall from reading it as an 11 year-old, even at that young age I thought it was a little shallow.

Pearlman deftly guides us through each chapter of Bo’s life, pulling no punches but also never coming off as a hatchet artist. I feel like Pearlman tends to gravitate towards “complicated” figures and fairly represent their full character, and he certainly does so here. Bo could be charming and befriend a random batboy and take him under his wing, or he could be an absolute jerk to a longtime teammate and demand he gets paid to autograph a football for him. It seems impossible to draw any conclusions from his behavior beyond calling him “mercurial” (Bo was mean to a lot of batboys and nice to a lot of teammates too). He mostly let his absurd athletic gifts carry him (I’m still gobsmacked he apparently squatted 975 pounds as a 195-pound high schooler despite rarely ever touching weights) until he fully committed himself to recovering from his hip injury with a punishing rehabilitation regimen. In short: Bo Knows Emotional Complexity. Pearlman devotes ample time to every stop of Bo’s career from high school through the pros and I especially liked his behind-the-scenes insights of major events like his decision to spurn to Buccaneers after they selected him first overall in the 1986 draft, how the Raiders sorta sneakily selected him in the seventh round the following year, the weird political games Al Davis played with the Raiders’ backfield (any biography with Al playing at least a supporting role is probably going to be entertaining), and Bo’s grueling recovery from the hip injury. There isn’t a lot of post-career coverage, but that was fine to me because outside of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it acting career he seemed to largely just spend time with his family (which is great, but not the most riveting reading material).

My only real quibbles with the book are that some of the baseball seasons get kinda same-y (the football ones are less of a problem because there are fewer games anyway and Bo would only join after the baseball season had completed) and some grating writing quirks Pearlman has (he’s a big fan of the single-sentence paragraph to lend a sense of gravitas, which is fine in moderation but gets overused here). That’s small potatoes though and I thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of my reading experience.

This is a “sports biography” rather than a “biography about a sports player” if that makes sense (i.e. expect some sportswriting tropes and it’s going to be sports-centric rather than history-through-a-sports-lens) which is what I anticipated coming in and it’s done well. Like most books like this, if you saw the description and/or author and thought to yourself, “hey, that might be good,” rest assured that it is. Strongly recommended to any fan of the NFL or MLB, especially if they have any passing familiarity of/interest in Bo’s heyday.


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Bo Jackson wasn't the first multisport star athlete and won't be the last, but he was one of the most naturally gifted athletes of a generation. Some of his exploits defied the laws of nature and took on myths of their own. Whether it was on the gridiron, baseball field, the track, or years the later in a video game he became a must see attraction. His speed was incredible, beating out routine outs for infield singles, his arm strength insane, he could throw runners out at any base from the farthest reaches of the outfield; he could and did leap over fences or cars standing flat footed with his vertical leaping ability, he could run over and through would be tacklers on the football field. The author also does a good job relaying the complicated individual that was Vincent "Bo" Jackson who could sometimes be a bully, never really trusting people, but had compassion for all.

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Who knows Bo? Jeff Pearlman does! Pearlman writes a compelling biography of Bo his triumphs and failures and particularly the what might have beens. Pearlman brings the enigmatic Bo to life(as best as possible—Bo is notoriously tight lipped) and equally as interesting brings Bo’s team mates and the owners of the teams he played for to life. It is these characterizations that really make the book zing. That as well as Pearlman’s writing style—full of sarcasm, wit, and insight. He is my favorite writer who writes about sports. I’ve read his USFL book and will read all of his other books in short order. You should too.

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This book sucked me in.

I couldn't put it down. Being a similar age to Jeff, I know I am the target audience for a book like this. But I learned a ton about Bo Jackson. The most important thing being that our memories are fallible since I remembered so many of these situations, but I wasn't remembering them accurately.

I didn't remember Bo Jackson being surly.
I didn't remember him not really playing all that much when he played football.
I remember the Boz v. Bo differently.
I could have sworn that Bo had a much different baseball career.

Which I guess is the point of the book's title.

Really great book.

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Good investigation by the author. More or less a standard, chronological description of Bo Jackson's early life and athletic career. I thought there could have been more reflection on his character and the mystique around him, rather than highlighting individual moments of greatness.

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I loved "The Last Folk Hero" at hello, as the line from the movie "Jerry Maguire" goes.

The hello in this case is the introduction. Author Jeff Pearlman writes that he was in the Atlanta airport one day, going through security. He is stopped, predictably enough, because he has a brick in his carry-on bag. That's right, a brick. The security agents have a predictable response: You can't take a brick on to the plane with you.

Pearlman explains that this isn't just any brick. It's from the first house of Bo Jackson, a legendary athlete. The house was abandoned and allowed to crumble, but there were a few bricks still on the ground. Pearlman, deep into this writing project, thought he needed to have a brick for his inspiration of a biography. It took some convincing, but eventually someone at the airport who knew about Jackson decided that taking a brick from Bo's home wasn't a bad idea at all ... and let it through.

Speaking as someone who has a brick from Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium in the garden, I immediately identified with Pearlman's quest to explore Jackson's life - brick by brick. The finished building, er, product, is "The Last Folk Hero," and I doubt you'll read a more interesting and thorough biography this year.

Most of us known the skeleton of Jackson's story. He grew up poor in Alabama, and sports became something of a refuge for him. Eventually it was on to Auburn University, where he won the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best player. But Bo also was a heck of a baseball player, giving him some options when it was time to choose a career. He stunned everyone by signing with baseball's Kansas City Royals, even though he was the first overall NFL draft choice by the bumbling (at the time) Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bo was a raw baseball talent, but seemed to have skills far beyond those of mortal men. He hit baseballs so hard and far that observers were simply left speechless. On the basepaths, he was essentially a truck. I happened to be at the game in Kansas City in which Jackson was a baserunner headed home, and Rick Dempsey of the Orioles was waiting with the ball. Bo put his shoulder down and tried to ram the catcher so hard that he'd drop the ball. It was a collision straight out of the NFL, as Dempsey wound up halfway between home plate and the dugout. But he held on to the ball, and Jackson was out.

Baseball wasn't quite enough activity for Bo, and he decided he wanted to play football in his spare time. Who does that? He was occasionally sensational, even though he wasn't particularly interested in such aspects of the game as blocking and catching passes. But when he took off on a long run, it was breathtaking.

Alas, the story was shortened by a hip injury suffered during a football game. Hip replacement surgery was needed, and that ended the football side of Jackson's career. He tried coming back to play baseball, but couldn't match his own high standards.

Skeletons only reveal so much, even to forensic scientists. It's the seemingly ridiculous episodes of Bo's life that make this book so fascinating. Pearlman tracked down more than 700 people for interviews, and it only seems as if they all had a "Did you see that?" moment when it came to Jackson. This was a man who picked up a discus as part of high school track meet, and with a few minutes of coaching threw it 20 feet farther than the Section champion. This is someone who could jump completely out of a swimming pool and land on his feet. (OK, it was the shallow end. But still.) He could throw out baserunners from more than 300 feet away, and he could leave football tacklers either grasping at air or left clobbered on the ground. He once ran the 40-yard dash in 4.13 seconds. Add that up, and it was hard to know with the person ended and the legend began.

That all made him one of the top celebrities in the country when it came to endorsements. You might remember Nike's "Bo Knows" campaign, which featured a commercial with him playing a variety of sports ... plus the guitar, with Bo Diddley. That's impressive for someone who had to overcome a childhood stutter and thus didn't talk in public much.

Still, all of those sources help to fill in the stories around those incidents. What comes across quite clearly is that Jackson was a man who always did what he wanted to do. That could mean he would report to a team when he wanted to do so, and not when the team wanted him. That could mean he would be distant and rude to teammates and to the public and its proxies. But he also could be generous to a fault with others. Jackson seemed to mellow as he went along. Now he doesn't have much unwanted contact with others, as he's happily living with his family in the Chicago area.

It's quite a life story, and Pearlman tells it completely. It checks in at around 500 pages, but it's never boring along the way. If you want to read about the man who could be summed up as Paul Bunyon in cleats, "The Last Folk Hero" will be the place to go.

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Those who pick up this book looking for a feel good book about a legend in Alabama are going to be disappointed. Not because of the writing in the book, but by the way the writer describes a folk hero at Auburn. The book is a bit misleading. It's not an "as told to" book. It's a book developed from other sources about Bo Jackson.
It doesn't paint him in the best of lights! Maybe it is an accurate description of the man. I'll have to leave that to those who actually know the man. I certainly know about Bo Jackson. I grew up in Birmingham and was just a year older than Bo. So I'm glad his mom decided to hold him back a year or my name might have shown up in the text too. I've got several friends whose names do appear.
For those who didn't know Bo, I'm sure it will be a great read. I was surprised to read in the end that the author never actually checked any of this with Bo. Sure Bo said he didn't mind another book being written about him according to the author. My friends say Bo wasn't pleased with the author, so take that for what it is worth.
I found it a fascinating take on a guy who I watched growing up as a peer. I know the landscape of both Bessemer and Auburn. I had good friends at Auburn when Bo was there. Like everyone else I watched in amazement at his raw talents in Baseball and Football.
I'm sure the real Bo is not the one in his autobiography or the one portrayed in this book by someone who never really knew him either. Like every story about a folk hero, it's hard to tell the truth from the exaggeration. If it is an accurate description of the man, it's easy to see how he became that guy.
Folks in Auburn will still love Bo. Bo probably still won't give a rip about what the author says. My guess is most won't change their mind about Bo either. After all, sometimes it good not to meet your heroes.

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I couldn't put this book down. I am not an in depth sports fan, but even I know who Bo Jackson is. If you were alive in the 80's you know that Bo knows. The author did a great job explaining why Bo was a pop culture icon of the 80's and 90's and a sports icon for the ages.

Thanks to Net Galley for the advanced copy. I really enjoyed it.

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