Wednesday, December 7, 2016

After the Cheering Stops by Cyndy Feasel with Mike Yorkey

After the Cheering Stops: An NFL Wife’s Story of Concussions, Loss, and the Faith that Saw Her Through by Cyndy Feasel tells the life story of Grant Feasel, a center in the NFL. His ex-wife Cyndy chronicles his story, mainly during the almost thirty years they were married. When their life together started, he was at the top as a college football star being scouted by the NFL. He died young, his body wracked by addiction, his brain full of CTE, and his family penniless.
Cyndy Feasel describes her life with Grant in a somewhat objective manner. While being clear about the ugliness that occurred between them in the latter years of their life together, she also made it clear that it was a direct result of the CTE and alcoholism Grant was dealing with, even if she didn't realize that was the case at the time. She never crosses the line between describing what happened and slandering Grant.
 
There were some comments and observations that seemed overly personal, mainly concerning the physical aspect of their love life. Overall though, Feasel stayed within the parameters of discussing the alcoholism and other personality changes brought about by the CTE that was caused by Grant's years playing professional football. She mentions her faith a few times, but not enough that it could be considered a main theme of this story.
 
Anyone interested in the NFL, specifically the effects on a player's body and family, will find After the Cheering Stops an interesting read. It is an easy and quick read. Those interested in alcoholism and other addiction issues will also find this book an interesting read.
 
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell

The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by Greg Mitchell tells the story of several of the tunnels dug under Berlin after the Berlin Wall was built, as well as the official U.S. response to them.
 
After the Berlin Wall was built, there were many people desperate to escape East Berlin. Many in West Berlin were equally desperate to get them out. This led to the digging of many tunnels under the wall. Several were successful while many more were not. Those involved in the digging were always in danger of being caught or betrayed to the Stasi, the East German police.
 
One of the most famous tunnels, and the one discussed at most length in this book was the NBC or Bernauer tunnel. The digging of, and escape through, this tunnel was filmed by people from NBC and turned into a documentary. The scrutiny and opposition to showing this documentary in the U.S. was almost as fierce as the danger faced by those actually involved in the digging and escape. In the broader context of the Cold War, the Kennedy administration didn't want anything to happen that could cause an open conflict over Berlin. JFK wanted more than anything to avoid a nuclear war.
 
While the first half of The Tunnels is a little dry, the pace of the second half is enjoyable. Mitchell is detailed in his description of both the digging of the tunnels and the motivations of the people involved. He also explains the broader context of the tunnels in regard to U.S. policy in the Cold War.
 
Overall, I'd recommend The Tunnels to anyone interested in the history of Berlin during the Cold War.
 
Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255