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Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports [Paperback]

By Dave Zirin & Chuck D (Foreward By)
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Item description for Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports by Dave Zirin & Chuck D ...

"Dave Zirin is the best young sportswriter in America."-Robert Lipsyte

This much-anticipated sequel to What's My Name, Fool? by acclaimed commentator Dave Zirin breaks new ground in sports writing, looking at the controversies and trends now shaping sports in the United States-and abroad. Features chapters such as "Barry Bonds is Gonna Git Your Mama: The Last Word on Steroids," "Pro Basketball and the Two Souls of Hip-Hop," "An Icon's Redemption: The Great Roberto Clemente," and "Beisbol: How the Major Leagues Eat Their Young."

Zirin's commentary is always insightful, never predictable.

Dave Zirin is the author of the widely acclaimed book What's My Name, Fool? (Haymarket Books) and writes the weekly column "Edge of Sports" ( He writes a regular column for The Nation and Slam magazine and has appeared as a sports commentator on ESPN TV and radio, CBNC, WNBC, Democracy Now!, Air America, Radio Nation, and Pacifica.

Chuck D redefined rap music and hip-hop culture as leader and co-founder of the legendary rap group Public Enemy. Spike Lee calls him "one of the most politically and socially conscious artists of any generation." He co-hosts a weekly radio show on Air America.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   258
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2007
Publisher   Haymarket Books
ISBN  1931859418  
ISBN13  9781931859417  

Availability  0 units.

More About Dave Zirin & Chuck D

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Wesley Carlos: John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete and professional football player. He was a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights and won the bronze-medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Summer Olympics. His black power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to equal the world record in the 100 yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record. After his track career, he enjoyed brief stints in the National Football League and Canadian Football League but retired due to injury. He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. He later became a track coach at a high school in Palm Springs, where he now resides. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003. "John Carlos Memoir" is his first book.
Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports, A Peoples' History of Sports in the United States, What's My Name Fool! and Welcome to the Terrordome. He writes the popular weekly column "The Edge of Sports" ( and is a regular contributor to, SLAM, The Los Angeles Times, and The Nation where he is the publications first Sports Editor. He lives in Washington, D.C..

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > History > United States
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
3Books > Subjects > Sports > General
4Books > Subjects > Sports > Miscellaneous > History of Sports

Reviews - What do customers think about Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports?

Going back into the terrordome  Apr 12, 2008
Zirin was an important discovery for me. As a kid, I followed professional baseball and basketball with a very childlike passion. Later I got disgusted with the general state of the corporate franchises and drifted away from any interest in watching sports in any form. After being assigned as a teaching assistant to a course on the history of sports in the modern world, I picked up Zirin's first book and this one to help me appreciate the political side of professional sports. I'm of the audience Dave Marsh of XM Radio had in mind when he wrote that "the people who need to read Dave Zirin most are people who don't think sports is important at all. Zirin knows it is and he continually shows how it fits into the rest of our world."
I believe Zirin also has much to say to those who already understand the importance of sports. The debates over race, class, business, jingoism, steroids, and so on, that rage within the world of sports bear directly or indirectly on just about every area of politics and public life. In all of these essays -- which explore the political underbelly of major league baseball, the NBA, the Olympics, soccer, and more -- he shows a fine understanding of the precisely these kinds of connections and the ways people with political influence routinely use sports for their own ends.
Zirin has strong opinions, and that in itself is not unique. But he expresses his arguments more cogently and supports them more effectively than any other opinionated sports commentator I've ever heard. This is what enables him to engage and challenge the preconceived beliefs of every one of his readers. Furthermore, he's an outstanding writer. Welcome to the Terrordome frequently had me outraged over a fact or quoted statement and then, sometimes on the same page, I'd be laughing out loud at a particularly funny or audacious turn of phrase. Whether or not we agree with Zirin should not make or break the book's significance. If we really want to challenge our sometimes ossified views of the world, we've got to seek out writers like Zirin, who offer perspectives entirely lacking in the weak analysis, calculated outrage, and narrow political perspective on offer in the overwhelming majority of mainstream political commentary.
My only complaint is that there should have been some endnotes, not just to document the quotes he uses but also to help orient the book in relation to other writings on sports with which Zirin is in dialogue in his essays.
Terrordome  Jan 7, 2008
I enjoyed the book. I am glad to know about the authors website to get his new writing. I thought the book was insightful and great for a fan like me.
Zirin is the best sportswriter in america  Oct 26, 2007
Sports are the world's great distraction, especially in the United
States. To really understand American culture, and other cultures too,
you have to understand sports to get why people get so very fanatical
about them. In a sense, they are a form of reality TV, except they
envelope so much more. It is very easy for radicals to dismiss sports
as a distraction from more important things, like changing the world,
but in a sense, by dismissing sports, they also dismiss sports fans,
which is a great deal of people. It's also important to understand how
sports is used to distract people, and why athletes are told to shut
up and be good soldiers. So having said all that, when Dave Zirin put
out a sequel to his first book, "What's My Name Fool?", I read it as
fast as I could.

Much like his first book, "Welcome to the Terrordome", (Chuck D
does the introduction, since the title is taken from a Public Enemy
song), the book is broken down into chapters exploring different parts, exploring
politics in the sports world. Roberto Clemente was a Hall of Fame
right-fielder for the Pittsburg Pirates from 1955 to 1972. He is often
described as baseball's Latino Jackie Robinson, in that he never shut
up and never backed down from disrespect. He was outspoken on issues
of the day, like racism, segregation, colonialism in Latin America,
civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and media mockery of minority
players. Clemente was instrumental in winning a World Series for the
Pirates in 1960, yet finished 8th in MVP voting because of his Puerto
Rican heritage. When non-white baseball players had to eat in the bus
while in the South, he led a protest against segregation and demanded
that all players be treated the same. He died in a plane crash on his
way to deliver relief supplies to victims of an earthquake in
Nicaragua a year after his retirement and remains one of the best players to ever play the game..

Another topic is how Major League Baseball sets up minimum wage
baseball sweatshops in the Caribbean and Central America, where the
only options are the army, the factory, or baseball. In the so-called
"America's Game", baseball, nearly a fourth of the league are foreign
born Latinos. During the World Baseball Classic, sponsored by MLB in
an effort to show-case homegrown talent, the Team USA was trounced by
Latin American teams. Interesting statistics like how 6 of the last 10
American League MVPs have been Latino, and here's why. In the
Dominican Republic, US teams run "baseball academies", where young
boys who have dropped out of school attend to get trained how to play
baseball, some coming with soapboxes for shoes and tattered clothing.
99 out of 100 don't make it to the MLB who attend these academies

Around the world, soccer, or football as it's known outside of
the States, is by far the most popular sport. It's famous by soccer
hooligans in Europe, full-scale riots in Latin America, and national
pride all over. Players like Diego Maradona are heroes in the third
world, for standing against corporate globalization, war, and famously
"avenging" the Falkland War in 1986 World Cup against England. In
2002, he attends the protests against the Summit of the Americas,
where he says that Argentina will never enjoy the fruits of corporate
control. Another famous player, Ronaldo of the powerful Brazil team,
goes to Palestine to meet with a Palestinian boy who wrote him a
letter asking him to meet with him, and brings international attention
to Israel's travel bans when he is stopped from meeting with him.

Most famously, Zirin goes into the famous head-butt incident at the
France-Italy World Cup when France's Zidane headbutted Italy's
Materazzi. Materazzi comes from an Italian fascist club, and Zidane
instantly becomes a hero in much of the Third World for responding to
Materazzi's racist taunting. It follows a culture of right-wing and
left-wing organizing in soccer fans, where political parties and other
organizations try to recruit fans at matchs and brawls often break out
over politics. (I've often wondered why there wasn't much organizing
at sporting events in the US when it seems so obvious.) The Prime
Minister of Italy even comments that "The French team is made up of
Negroes, Islamists, and Communists." In effect, people of the Third
World root to beat First World teams because of the history, and cling
to the ideals of hope and pride and dignity through them.

The world of sports is not a separate world, nor is it just for men,
and nor is a perfect world of saints. Just like all aspects of the
world we live in, the best thing to do is to understand it and
understand the people who follow it. I think I've just about always
fit into my work situations pretty fast by being a die-hard
Philadelphia sports fan, particularly the Eagles, as well as just about
everyone in this city is as well. When Donovan McNabb says that black
quarterbacks are criticized different than white quarterbacks and that
there's racism in the league, I applaud him for stating the obvious
when others are afraid to do even that. Left-wing sports fans might be
few and far between because of many on the left's complete rejection
of sports fans in general, but sports writers like Dave Zirin remind
us that the there's social justice in everything in life, if you look
behind the scenes a little bit.

Sports, History and Politcs Collide  Oct 15, 2007
The politically charged sports book Welcome to the Terrordome by Dave Zirin. The book covers the connection between social and cultural issues and sports, and it's really a great read. Among the topics Zirin connects are race relations in baseball thru Roberto Clemente, public financing of stadiums and how politicians often exploit sports figures.

While the title suggests a book about public financing battles of sports arenas, it really is suggestive of a broader context of sports and poltics. If you are reading only for the stadium connection this book might be a disappointment, but otherwise it was a delightful bonus as Zirin hits many aspects of sports, sports figures and sports coverage in the context of politics and life.

Not a book for a sports fan, but more for politically aware and interested people who enjoy sports or understand the large role it plays in our society.

A very interesting book that will leave you thinking, observing and expanding how you see the sports world....and isn't that pretty much why you would read in the first place?


Additional comments related to sports entertainment and operation in the Editor's Blog,
Thought provoking and electric.  Aug 28, 2007
Amongst sports writers David Zirin is a man among boys. He hasn't just mastered a single aspect of the genre; he has reinvented it with the complete package, which is showcased in Welcome to the Terrordome. Zirin combines acerbic wit, original insights (which is rare in sports journalism), a higher understanding of 20th century social history and an infallible drive to deliver "untouched" goods (partly allowed I suspect by the nature of the non-profit publishing company of the book). It's a breath of fresh air as his motives are only to inform and influence and not to sell anything or apologize for anyone.

The best part of Zirin of course is his ability to recognize and extrapolate on sports as a microcosm for important societal issues such as race, social and economic inequality. While I don't necessarily agree with all of Zirin's opinions, I found myself often putting the book down just to logically think through his positions and how they refute or support my own beliefs. I consider myself well versed in both sports history and social history yet I constantly was introduced to new events, people and history within the varied topics Zirin covers (Bonds, Olympics, Ali, Cycling, Clemente, etc.). To top it off Zirin has a great sense of sarcasm and I laughed out loud numerous times throughout.

This book is important because it has a potential to reach an audience not normally associated with higher-level intellectualism; namely sports fanatics. This is part of Zirin's overall argument in the sense that he criticizes modern sports athletes for not using their leverage to tackle social issues but are instead highly paid slaves of the corporate world.

Bottom Line: Full of energy and insight and should be read by anyone (including non-sports fan) who are interested in how the sports world is interconnected and related to various aspects of social justice. Genre defining.

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