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Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream

Written by H.G. Bissinger

Narrated by Tom Stechschulte


Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream

Written by H.G. Bissinger

Narrated by Tom Stechschulte

ratings:
4.5/5 (24 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Released:
Nov 20, 2015
ISBN:
9781501911491
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The 25th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and 's best football book of all time, with a new afterword by the author

Return once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa - the winningest high school football team in Texas history.

Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires - and sometimes shatters - the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms.

Released:
Nov 20, 2015
ISBN:
9781501911491
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about Friday Night Lights

4.6
24 ratings / 36 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    In 1988 the author, a Philadelphia journalist, moved to Odessa, Texas, to follow the football team of Permian High School which was seeking to win the Texas high school football champioship. One gets to know the principal players and the coach as the season's games are played. The school over-emphsizes football to a sickening extent but one has to be for the kids as they seek their place in the sun. I found the book an exciting and disturbing read. The edition I read had a ten-year follow-up, telling of what had happened since 1988, which was good to put the events in pespective. On Sports Illustrated's list of the 100 greatest books on sports this account is No. 4, and is the highest-ranked book on football on the list.
  • (4/5)
    I confess I'm a sports fan; but I could just not understand how High School Football defined a town and what it stood for to such an extent. This is the remarkable true story of a town, a team, and a dream; the story of young teenagers giving everything they have for the greater glory of the team.The town politics are clearly conservative and summed up as, "The Republicans have done nothing to help the Texas oilman for eight years, but when it comes down to voting for a liberal versus a conservative, most oilmen are conservatives."Boobie miles perhaps personifies the team with his comment, "If I can't be the center of attention, I don't want to be anything at all."
  • (4/5)
    You will come away knowing at least two very important things about Texas: when an oil boom is on, people go a little mad. When the boom is off, they get a little sad. But through it all, the one thing they can count on is high school football. Players are fed into the Permain football system not unlike soldiers sent off to war. So long as they perform and are on track to win state, nothing more is expected of them, especially not keeping up their test scores. But as soon as that knee gives out and your dream of playing in the pros is lost forever, don't look for any favors. The percentage of players who actually make the pros is staggeringly low, but so long as the dream exists, the boys will come, and on Friday nights, the entire town will come to see them under the lights.
  • (4/5)
    I didn't think that I would be interested in the "New Classic." But the author hits this one out of the park, weaving a story together of the intimate details of the lives of the players, the coach, and the community. This might take place in Texas but it is a classic coming of age story. The revised edition with the afterward, 25 years later, is almost as expected.
  • (4/5)
    This book came out about 20 years ago, so some of the types and scenes that were undoubtedly fresh when Bissinger wrote them feel a little cliche by now. Still, this is a powerful book. Bissinger does a great job of showing just how corrosive it can be to these teenagers to lionize them as high school football stars without preparing them in the least for the future, while still making the reader's heart race as the Permiam team advances in the play-offs. Football may be a destructive force in the lives of these young men, but it is also what makes this desperate town feel extraordinary, and that's a difficult thing to condemn. I love books that show how much power sports can have in a community, for better or worse, and this is the gold standard.
  • (4/5)
    What more can I say about this? It's a movie, it's a television show. I guess all I can say is that I read it before it was either and I was sold.
  • (4/5)
    I love football: I love watching football, I love reading about football. This was a great story about a high school football team in Odessa, Texas, named the Permian Panthers, and their attempt to make it to the state championship in 1988. In a town like Odessa, there isn't much to look forward to except for football, and the Panthers would often draw crowds of up to 20,000 people on a Friday night. People would wait in line for two days to get tickets. To a high school football game. Can you even begin to imagine that? I can't. The pressure these kids were under is staggering. It's a compelling and gripping story, full of tension and obsession.
  • (5/5)
    I can't believe I'm giving this book 5 stars, but that's how good it is. I didn't want to like it and in fact have resisted all things FNL in spite of (or because of) being a native Texan. But the storytelling and the story and the history were wonderfully done. It is relevant to our times even now and I just might have to watch the movie and/or the series now.
  • (5/5)
    Interesting read about the Permian High School football team in 1988. Odessa is a town that lives and dies with its high school team. I liked how individuals were focused on and what they had to say. I liked also that we knew what happened to them after the season was over. I would like to know what is happening with them now.
  • (5/5)
    "Homicide - A year on the killing streets" - only for the football set. Yes, this is a great compliment.
  • (4/5)
    Excellent long-form reporting into Texas high school football through the lens of a small town in the late 1980s. I particularly recommend the 25 anniversary edition as the boys of the book are now middle-aged and their where-are-they-nows are both bitter and sweet. Not at all like the TV show which is fantastic, but not a substitute for the book. The book trumps the movie version. Some of the reporting on the oil industry in Odessa/Midland is more of a snapshot of point-in-time, but the town's relationship to football is sadly, frighteningly, as true as it ever was. Maybe more so. Recommended--you don't have to be a sports / football fan, necessarily to like or appreciate it.
  • (4/5)
    I bought this Kindle book for banned books week. Although I am not an avid sports fan, I was engrossed by the portrayal of the Texas town that focuses on its high school football team. The book, written by a reporter who lived in Odessa, Texas for a year, is twenty years old. Its story is still poignant.
  • (4/5)
    I did not want to read this book, but in the end I am glad I did because Bissinger dispassionately examines the intersections of race, class, America's business cycle and more in these pages through the lens of a west Texas high school football program. An engrossing read and a brave book.
  • (4/5)
    Although football is certainly at the center of it, this book is more about the economics and politics of a small town in Texas than I expected. It also reads more like non-fiction than I expected--maybe my expectations were skewed because of my experience with the movie and the tv show (and this is why I always try to read the book first). Some of the stories are absolutely shocking, and this book/town is one beautiful example of how, as a society, we value physical ability above all else. It makes you think about how twisted our priorities are.
  • (4/5)
    A great documentation of west Texas life and football, which inspired one of my all time favorite tv shows. This goes into issues of race and education, as well as the economic state of the town of Odessa and how that relates to football, which was very interesting. It's a way of life that is completely foreign to me, but Bissinger certainly brought it to life. Sometimes his writing leaned a bit towards the sensational, with sudden flashbacks, sub plots or the use of way too many hyperbolic adjectives, but overall he told this story nicely. It was also very obvious how much he cared about the students on the football team, as well as the residents of the town.
  • (5/5)
    I re-read this recently because a) it made in indellible impression on me 20 years ago when it came out. b) I'm a huge fan of the television show. 3) my book, "Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen, due out Aug. 18th, has a similar construct. My family and I moved to Smith Center, Kansas to live with a town, a team and a dream. It is good now as it was then. Friday Night Lights transcends sports and tells us about who we are and what is important to us at a given moment in time.
  • (5/5)
    I came to this book in the wrong direction. I first saw the television show, before seeing the movie upon which it was based. Only now do I get around to reading the book that set the whole thing in motion.

    To make a long story short, it's great. Having seen its descendants, there weren't a lot of surprises, but it was nice to see that (at least before the final section of the book about the postseason) it cares more about the town than the team, carefully documenting the rise and fall of Permian, while only using the Panthers sparingly.

    It's pretty relentless; constantly hammering home the idea that these young men, and through them, the town, are reaching the peak of their lives while still in high school. It's a bleak vision, but one that rings painfully true. I was never an athlete, and the closest I've ever come to the feelings these boys (and men) go through was in my high school's theater program. It's not the same thing, but I think I can recognize echoes of the football experience, from the exhilarating highs to the empty feelings of loss. It's scary to think that I've already done everything good that I'm ever capable of achieving.

    Strangely, the book's biggest gut punch comes from the story of the players from Carter, the team that defeats Permian. The fact that those kids, just about to reach the golden ring of college (and potentially professional) football, could ruin everything by turning to a life of armed robbery is so strange, that I'd accuse Bissinger of fiction, if I didn't know it was true. It's a tiny moment near the end of a large and magnificent work, but it's a terrifying summation of the whole.
  • (5/5)
    This is my favorite sports book of all time. It is ostensibly about high school football, but really it speaks to so much more than that. It speaks directly to the American experience. What do we hold important, how do we view race and socioeconomics and how do all of those factors change when a person can carry a football? What is it like to have your life peak at 18 year old? How does class affect how you view the world? Football matters in Texas. How much it matters and how it changes the social order is fascinating. Love this book.
  • (5/5)
    Very good! In Odessa, Texas is one of the worlds most powerful high school football teams in the country. Their running back, Bobbie Miles, tramps over all his opponents, but when tragity strikes the team will have to rally together and play throught the season. The book is not a "fast" read but not slow either. I found it hard to put down after the first ten chapters and stayed up hlf the night reading to see what will happen next. A good read for teens through adults, or any sports fan. I most deffinatly recomend it!!!!!!
  • (4/5)
    Friday nights in Texas, where the masses worship at the altar of the football uprights.
  • (5/5)
    I will admit that I picked this up largely because I had just finished the first season of the TV show, and my parents really wanted me to get a book at the bookstore, and this is what I chose. However, I don't regret that choice as all; this is one of the best books on sports and society that I've ever read.The book looks at a year of football for the Permian Panthers, a perennial high school football power from Odessa, Texas. There is some football stuff, in terms of games and such, yes, but it looks more at the lives of the players and the role that football plays in the society there. These people are peaking in their lives at 18, giving everything they have to the sport and then generally losing it; the educational system around it is often a joke; the game itself is held truly as a religious rite, it seems. There's also talk of racism in the area, and the feelings of supremacy that the kids get from being football players.None of this may be exactly new, but it's taken to great depths, and the style of the writing and the layout makes the book a very compelling story. The focus may be on a few of the players, but it really looks out at the society around it, and it's not all that pretty, even if it's remarkable how much people can pull together in pride over their town and their team. The TV show definitely got the spirit right.Anyway, if you're interested in books on the role of sports in society, the line forms here. Really. Start with this one. It's very, very good.
  • (5/5)
    God help Texas if this isn't fiction. (I didn't see the movie yet.)
  • (5/5)
    Fantastically gripping book. Didn't want to put it down, and read it in two evenings and a plane trip from Copenhagen.Written in 1990, this edition had an afterward written in 2000, discussing the continued strong emotions raised by this book in Odess
  • (4/5)
    What makes football a great team sport is that it requires a group of individuals to come together as one to accomplish a goal. This book brilliantly captures that idea, as well as the sometimes-scary importance the game has to certain people.
  • (3/5)
    I had a very hard time getting through this book, although I have deep interest in both football and sociological study. At times, the writing seemed sensational with heavy-handed similes and play-by-play descriptions. At other times, it was quite technical, citing statistics of oil production and population densities. The book really shone when highlighting the people involved: players, coaches, other townspeople; the reader could tell Bissinger cared quite a bit for his subjects and was pained when he had to display their less endearing characteristics. At first, the completely backwards priorities of the town of Odessa made me extremely angry, but over the course of the book, I began to see how football came to be the ultimate (and only) worthwhile pursuit. I guess 1988 was a different era, but the blatant racism of the townspeople was also quite distasteful to me.The afterword in my edition, written 10 years after the first publication, described some of the ways the book changed the people of Odessa, and that was good to hear. I have not seen either the movie or the television show based on this book, so cannot comment on how either compares. I do intend to watch the movie, and will put in an update to this review after doing so.
  • (5/5)
    When first hearing the words "Friday Night Lights", the 2001 movie comes to mind. Heavily based on the book, the movie presents the true 1988 season of the Permian Panthers. However, as it has always been, a movie can never include all the parts of a novel. H.G. Bissinger's novel displays the true side of West Texas football. Even those who don't know a tight end to a quarterback will fall deeply in love with this novel. A true touching novel about the hardships of pressure, adolescence and the challenges of growing up, readers will find themselves relating to the players on the Permian football team. From Ivory Christian's desire for something greater to Michael Winchell's self doubt, this novel will remind many of their years in high school. After all, despite what many would believe about a Texas football player, at the end of the day, he is still only a kid.
  • (4/5)
    Excellent story portraying the magnitude of high school football in the South.
  • (2/5)
    For all its stellar reviews and continuing influence as the inspiration for a movie and TV series, this is a disappointing book.Friday Night Lights turns out to be less a sports book than an exercise in authorial preening. Buzz Bissinger is to be commended, I suppose, for moving to Texas to experience the intensity of one of the country's most famous high school football programs. And indeed, we do get a sketchy account of one season in the team's exploits, with at least a couple of games covered competently. But the bulk of this book comprises Bissinger's didactic, self-congratulatory social commentary. Over and over -- and over; you get the gist of Bissinger's Important Messages about The Place of Sports in Our Lives and The Problem of Racism in the book's first few pages -- Bissinger indulges in the studied, incredulous tone of wonderment you find in the New York Times or other mainstream media giants when they send a reporter out to the hinterland to see how the hicks are doing. It's particularly telling that most of the characters Bissinger interviews and introduces to the reader are self-proclaimed liberal iconoclasts who do little but lament the lack of enlightenment they see in their misguided neighbors. Bissinger doesn't seem much interested in trying to understand people who don't think like he does.I hate to write an ideologically-tinged review, but it's unavoidable: the events of this book have been viewed and are reported through an ideological lens. Not recommended.
  • (4/5)
    As someone who knows little to nothing about American football, I finished this book with maybe a modicum more knowledge about the game itself but that certainly was not the point. This is an incredibly captivating and compelling portrait of how a small Texan town's obsession with the sport filters through its social, political and economic relations. Perhaps most fascinating about this book were the resonances the experiences of these people has with the experiences of many today with relation to the economic crisis; it was all too familiar. While Bissinger's affection for his subjects is clear, he does not flinch from presenting a warts and all portrait, which, his epilogue notes, did not please many of his Odessan friends. I found the stories of the town and its individual citizens utterly engrossing, and was anxiously chewing my nails towards the climax, hoping as hard as anyone at Permian that they would make state...even though I had no idea what was going on in the game.
  • (3/5)
    Being a person who knows almost nothing about football, I thought I would give Friday Night Lights a try. I found this book to be very hard to continue and almost stopped reading it numerous times. The author spent numerous chapters setting up the characters and the setting with only a small portion of the book devoted to the actual season. I did, however, like how he added an epilogue and an afterword to explain what happened to the characters after they graduated. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless they are a huge football fan.