The book, which was nearly 10 years in the making, is based on a series of interviews with Garvey, the former head of the NFL players’ union and one of the most influential progressive politicians in Wisconsin’s history.
In a column for Madison magazine, Doug Moe writes that Zaleski originally started his work on the book in 2010, conducting 17 interviews with Garvey over a six-month period. The book was shelved, though, after Garvey told Zaleski he’d been working with another writer on a book about his NFL players’ union days. Zaleski didn’t think there was enough demand for two Ed Garvey books, so he deleted the more than 20 hours of interviews and moved on.
But after Garvey died in February 2017, Zaleski realized the other book was never published. He decided to revisit the project and see if the deleted interviews could be found. Fortunately, they were able to be retrieved with some help from a University of Wisconsin computer guru, and the book was revived.