February 4, 2011

The Glory Years: Memories of a Decade, 1955-1965 by Billy Harris

I have thoroughly enjoyed Billy Harris' autobiography The Glory Years: Memories of a Decade, 1955-1965.

Published by Prentice Hall Canada back in 1989 Harris gives an insider's view on the Leafs of that era. Harris of course was a utility player on the Leafs in those days, so he definitely qualifies as an insider. He presents the story of his team, coaches and teammates candidly and articulately with a mixture of criticism and wry humor. It is an excellent history of the Leafs of that time frame, with some neat insight on the likes of Punch Imlach, Dick Duff, Bobby Baun, Tim Horton and Frank Mahovlich.

Harris also tells his story from his youth to his years beyond the Leafs. He is a fascinating individual. An academic with many interests and a hockey man who embraced international hockey in a time where it was almost taboo for Canadians to do so, Harris was not your typical jock.

All hockey book enthusiasts know there is a glut of Toronto Maple Leafs books about their glory days. I enjoyed this book so much I would put right near the top of my recommend Leafs history books list.

The book contains many black and white photos, most taken by the author himself. Many of them are humorous as they reveal the hi-jinx and antics of life on a pro sports team back in the 1960s.


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