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Essential Patriots reading guide

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Stuck at home and looking to brush up on your Patriots history with some reading? There are plenty of great books out there about the history of the Pats, in-depth looks at players and coaches and even ones for the kids. Writers and former Patriots provide all kinds of fascinating behind-the-scenes insight from many different perspectives.

Here's a list of some of our favorite Patriots books to check out!

Education of a Coach by David Halberstam

There isn't a better book out there that gives a complete look at coach Bill Belichick. From his days growing up in Annapolis, to learning to breakdown film with his dad, to his climb up the NFL coaching ranks, Halberstam brilliantly paints a three-dimensional picture of the Patriots coach, tracing the roots of his coaching philosophy and tactics.

Belichick's father Steve literally wrote the book on football scouting, called Football Scouting Methods, which makes an enlightening companion piece to Education of a Coach, though it might be a slog for those looking for a breezy piece instead of a football manual. The elder Belchick's tome is incredibly thorough and provides a small window into what the future head coach of the Patriots was learning as a kid that made him one of the best football minds in the sport's history.

From Darkness to Dynasty by Jerry Thornton

No one captures what it was like to be a Patriots fan from the team's inception in 1960 like Jerry Thornton. His first book, From Darkness to Dynasty, recounts the dark years before the Pats rise to power, told through the eyes of someone who lived and died with every win and loss, someone who watched the games from the metal bleachers of the old stadium, someone who was an original Patriots fan before it all got good.

Jerry's second book, Five Rings, was a great follow-up, focusing more on the glory years but still from his compelling perspective as a passionate fan. Both are fun, easy reads that remind us how lucky Patriots fans are after their humble beginnings.

Let's Go Patriots by Aimee Aryal

Looking for a kid-friendly book to get your children on board as Patriots fans? Let's Go Patriots is a great place to start if you can find a copy. This is the book you'll most often find Patriots players reading when they make visits to schools and hospitals around the New England area, and it captures what it's like to be a fan, from the sights and smells of the pregame tailgate, to the exhilaration of a hard-fought victory in the snow.

A more available kid's book is Goodnight Patriots of the popular Goodnight series for those under five, the perfect bedtime read. Epic Athletes: Tom Brady by Dan Wetzel is great book for young readers, featuring comic-style animation of the Patriots Super Bowl 51 comeback around the story of Brady's rise to greatness.

The Blueprint by Christopher Price

Christopher Price takes an in-depth look at the early days of the dynasty after the first two Super Bowl titles, and would later follow it up with Drive for Five that covered the later years of the dynasty, specifically the tumultuous 2016 season that started with a Tom Brady suspension and ended with another Super Bowl title.

Price had a front-row seat for the entire run and is an excellent story teller. His Complete Illustrated History is a great visual trip down memory lane as well. Total Patriots by Bob Hyldburg is another hard cover historical book with an encyclopedic breakdown of Patriots history.

Tales from the New England Patriots Sideline by Michael Felger

While Jerry Thornton gives us a fan's perspective on the history of the Patriots, this is more of a nuts and bolts of all the craziness that happened before the Patriots became the model NFL franchise. This isn't the flame-throwing radio host Felger, who covered the team as a writer before his days at the Sports Hub, this is more of a history lesson broken down into fun, digestible stories.

Fridays with Bill by John Powers

Looking for pure Bill Belichick? John Powers compiled and organized all of Belichick's best Friday press conference bits, when the coach is often at his most conversational and insightful, especially when asked a football-specific question. Aside from Education of a Coach, there isn't a more pure Belichick book, with no spin, no commentary, just a brilliant football coach talking football.

Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi

Lombardi was part of Belichick's staff in Cleveland and reunited with the coach in New England from 2014-16. In this book, he gives his up-close perspective on the Patriots detail-oriented preparation, along with two other football legends that Lombardi had the opportunity to work with - Bill Walsh and Al Davis.

The best part of the book? When Lombardi takes us behind the scenes of the week's preparation leading up to the 2014 playoff matchup against the Ravens. It's the perfect snapshot of what makes the Belichick Patriots so good.

If These Walls Could Talk by Jeff Howe and Scott Zolak

Few Patriots books offer better insight into the days just before the dynasty than this one and that's obviously because Zolak was there. It paints the picture of the Bill Parcells and Pete Carroll Patriots, when the seeds of what would happen in the 2000's were all planted. Howe has covered the team for a long time and has plenty of great insight that compliments Zolaks first-person experiences as the backup quarterback.

Other notable player reads:

  • Never Give Up by Tedy Bruschi - Bruschi's story of his career and return from a stroke.
  • Relentless by Julian Edelman with Tom E. Curran - Edelman shares his story, rising from low-round pick to Super Bowl hero.
  • Patriot Pride by Troy Brown with Mike Reiss - Brown's story as one of the original core members that started the dynasty.
  • Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pursuit of Everything by Charles Pierce - An excellent look at Brady's rise through the ranks of high school, college and on to the Patriots.

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