Few sports teams have experienced as much heartbreak and defeat as the Cleveland Browns, but few franchises are as interesting to read about.
Today, Browns books abound, from biographies to historical analyses to works of fiction. The newest Browns book does not fall into one of these typical categories.
"Brown for the Count" is a unique work that reads like a listicle but encompasses nearly 70 years of Browns history in 158 pages. This "compendium of Cleveland Browns lists," written by Dave Algase, is an intriguing piece that will teach even the most passionate fan a thing or two about the Orange and Brown.
Released less than a month ago, the book contains 68 Browns-themed lists on all topics. Organized into six chapters, the lists range in subject from best and worst Browns trades to name-related Browns coincidences. Each list is unique, featuring nearly all of the notable characters and events in the team's storied history.
For such a short piece, the book contains an amazing amount of information. From the obvious to the obscure, this book holds a remarkable number of facts. For example, everyone knows that Lou Groza played his entire career in Cleveland, but did you know that a player named Cleveland Pittsburgh Crosby was drafted by the Browns in 1980?
This is not a book to be read in one sitting. Rather, this is a book for the bathroom or the living room, to be read gradually so that the information can sink in fully. I read the book over the course of a week, list-by-list, taking time to reminisce in between.
Author Dave Algase also admits to doing this, as he took nearly five years to complete the project. A Toledo native, Algase began the project gradually, slowly completing pieces and parts of the book.
In early 2014, Algase ramped up his efforts in an attempt to realize his dream of publishing a Browns book. After a year and a half of hard work, Algase completed the book in time for training camp.
Writing about the Browns is nothing new for Algase. The current Michigan resident began the first Cleveland Browns blog -- clevelandbrowns.blogspot.com -- way back in 2002. Since then, Algase has written about the Browns extensively for both his blog and, for a period of time, The Orange and Brown Report, using the pseudo-name "Ace Davis."
With the completion of his book, Algase plans on returning to his blog to cover the team once again. (Of note to Browns fans, Algase frequently updates the Browns roster in a convenient Google spreadsheet, available for viewing here.)
Algase's experience writing about the Browns shines through in "Brown for the Count." Algase adds tidbits of Browns knowledge to each list, a feat that a writer without Algase's background would be unable to accomplish.
The book's text also reads cleanly, as I did not find any typos or historical errors. Algase's precise writing style is a significant strength of the book.
Browns fans will enjoy this book from beginning to end and learn a lot along the way. This book is definitely worth adding to your collection.
"Brown for the Count" can be purchased in three ways: PayPal, Amazon, and GoFundMe. The easiest method is PayPal, as you can pay by credit card or a PayPal account. Amazon orders are filled by the book's publisher, Interspiral Press. GoFundMe allows the reader to buy a signed copy of the book and other perks at various levels.
If you're on the fence, my advice is this: Buy it. Algase's book is a trip in time you won't forget, and you'll learn even more about your beloved team in the process.