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Gonzo's Summer Reading List: Cold Wars

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In the relatively short time the Minnesota Vikings have been a part of the National Football League, their biggest rival has, without a doubt, been the Green Bay Packers.  While each team has had their periods of time where they've been dominant over the other, the all-time series has never really been more than a couple of games in favor of either side.

As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of good stories to have come out of this rivalry.  That's where Todd Mishler comes in.  His book, Cold Wars:  40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry, breaks down the rivalry between these two teams decade-by-decade.  The last update of the book runs through the 2003 season. . .so, we get a complete rundown of the last weekend of the 2003 season, but nothing (unfortunately) about the Vikings destroying the Packers in the only post-season contest between the two teams.  Maybe Mr. Mishler will do another update of his book in the future to include that glorious event.

In addition to going though every game in the history of the Viking-Packer rivalry, Mishler also gives us his list of the Top 10 Viking-Packer games.  You can probably guess a few of the matchups that are listed, but to hear the stories re-told is a pretty enjoyable experience.  There's also a chapter about the fans of both teams, as well as the stadiums that both teams call home.  To conclude the book, there's a chapter full of a lot of obscure facts about many of the players that have played for the Vikings and Packers over the years.  For example, did you know that former Vikings kicker Fred Cox was responsible for the invention of the Nerf football?  I certainly didn't, until this book told me that he was.

Overall, this is a highly entertaining read.  Todd Mishler presents this rivalry in a manner that captures all of the excitement and passion that each game has to offer.  He also manages to present it in an even-handed manner, never really favoring one side over the other as he tells his stories despite the fact that his bio states he grew up in Wisconsin and grew up watching the Packers.  He's gotten many quotes from players on both sides, which add depth to many of the stories.

One thing I do have to caution you on when searching for this book.  There are two different versions, one that was published in 2002, and one that was published in 2004.  The picture to the left there is of the 2004 version, which can be distinguished by the little "REVISED" strip in the upper-right corner.  The updated version simply includes a few more seasons of Viking-Packer game recaps.

There are many places that you can order Cold Wars from, but I'd recommend going to the site of the author himself.  There, you can not only order the book (for which you'll pay through PayPal), but Mr. Mishler will also customize the book for you.  The cover price of the book is $18.95, but the $21.00 price on Todd Mishler's website includes the personalization and the shipping fee.  If you're a Big Ten fan, he's also written a book about Big Ten football rivalries called Blood, Sweat, and Cheers.  He's also written an informational pamphlet called Great Moments in Wisconsin Sports.

Cold Wars:  40+ Years of Packer-Viking Rivalry is definitely a book that Viking fans AND Packer fans. . .the ones that can read, anyway. . .should seek out.  Informative and entertaining, it will be a welcome addition to the library of fans of either team