Peter Gent Donald B. Swope - Essay

Donald B. Swope

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Peter Gent's first novel ["North Dallas Forty"] proves that football players are capable of talented literary works without the assistance of a "ghost."

"North Dallas Forty" is the story of eight days in the life of a professional football player. The characters are drawn very closely after those that are popularly publicized in the newspaper and, as such, are quite identifiable. Any reader who has followed professional football will undoubtedly get some satisfaction out of playing a game with such identifications, but the book runs much deeper than the typical "I am a great athlete" approach to writing that unfortunately beleaguers so many writer athletes.

Mr. Gent's book goes beyond the game and delves into America's sport-for-money morality. The motivations of the ownership, coaching staff, and players and the obvious effects of these motivations intertwine to a rather abrupt if not too surprising ending….

["North Dallas Forty"] is a book that makes you think about professional sports in general in America today, our obsession with those sports, and the overwhelming toll that is taken of the individual players. (p. 274)

Donald B. Swope, in a review of "North Dallas Forty," in Best Sellers (copyright 1973, by the Uni-versity of Scranton), Vol. 33, No. 12, September 15, 1973, pp. 274-75.