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Review: The Pride of Aggieland - Spirit and Football At A Place Like No Other

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The traditions at Texas A&M are unlike any other university in the nation. The Pride of Aggieland is a hardcover book, mixing excellent photograph and stories, taking you through the history and traditions of one of the most unique universities in the nation.

Chapters include:

  • The Women of Aggieland
  • Football - The Stage for Spirit
  • 1939: Rising from Depression
  • 1956: The Bite of the Bear
  • 1975: Agony and Ecstasy
  • 1985: Those Cotton-Pickin' Aggies
  • 1998: The Miracle on the Mississippi
  • Aggie Bonfire: The Spirit Burns On
  • Game Day in Aggieland
  • Showing Their True Colors
  • Aggie Traditions

The book begins with with the changes in the mid-1960's that allowed Texas A&M to transform from a male-only military-based college to a full-fledged university . Previous to the mid-1960's, membership in the Aggie military corps was compulsory. The book makes it clear that this transition was controversial and opposed by many, then explains why the transition helped turn A&M into one of the top universities in the nation.

Football history is covered in the middle chapters of the book. A few things become clear here - Aggies love their football; they have had a good history, not a great one; and they love to beat the Longhorns more than anything on this earth. Aggie football greats are well-covered, from John David Crow, the Aggies only Heisman trophy winner to Dat Nguyen, the phenomenal linebacker in the 90's. The book doesn't pull punches when it comes to listing the failings regarding great coaches such such as Paul Bear Bryant and Jackie Sherrill. Both were involved in getting the Aggies placed on probation during their tenures at Texas A&M.

The history and tragedy of the 1999 Aggie bonfire in which 12 students were killed is covered in touching fashion as are the events at Texas A&M just after September 11, 2001. The book ends with an explanation of traditions which appear odd to outsiders, but are part of the biggest team-building exercise in the free world.

The Pride of Aggieland is a good coffee-table book for any Aggie alum who wants to reminisce, or have a 'show and tell' session. The layout of the book makes it easy to read, especially since there are many sidebar stories than can be read quickly.
The book does an excellent job of showing and explaining why the Aggies do what they do - good enough that they almost seem normal. (That's a joke, son - I've spent some time there myself.)

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