Readers tired of preening athletes, spiraling ticket prices and performance-tarnishing drugs will find Thanksgiving 1959 a trip back to a simpler time: Friday Night Lights meets When Pride Still Mattered.
In the autumn of 1959, before a new bridge changed everything, one corner of New York City was like all the small towns where everybody turned out for the Thanksgiving Day football game.
The coaches in that game sprang from the same roots. Sal Somma, tall and reserved, was a onetime dropout who kicked the extra point that kept Vince Lombardi and Fordham's “Seven Blocks of Granite” out of the Rose Bowl. His onetime teammate Andy Barberi, short, squat and spectacularly profane, beat Somma to the only job either one of them wanted, and the game became a test of their contradictory approaches to football, and to life.
Fifty years after New York's first true schoolboy championship, Thanksgiving 1959 follows Somma and his players, the sons of Italian and Irish immigrants, on the road to the championship game and the Thanksgiving rivalry that — like the community around it — would never be the same.
“The men sitting in the polished pews at St. Clare's were teachers and firemen and politicians and stock brokers with wives and kids and jobs to …”