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Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-Aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every High School : The Secret History of America's True Drug Addiction [Hardcover]

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Item description for Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-Aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every High School : The Secret History of America's True Drug Addiction by Shaun Assael...

An investigative journalist looks at America's complex relationship with steroids and how it has become the country's most dangerous and pervasive drug addiction, examining the high incidence of steroid use throughout the world of sports.

Publishers Description
When science lets us fulfill our greatest desires, where do we stop? Should Barry Bonds’s startling achievements be listed in the record book with an asterisk because he has been accused of using steroids? Did performance-enhancing drugs play a role in Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories? And what does Arnold Schwarzenegger’s continued success say about the appeal of his steroid-fueled bodybuilding persona?In the tradition of And the Band Played On, award-winning journalist Shaun Assael looks at America’s complicated love affair with steroids and how it has grown into the country’s—and perhaps the world’s—most insidious drug addiction.

Steroid Nation presents a chilling portrait of a nation enamored of artificially pumped-up success. Chronicling steroid use far beyond the headlines, it begins with the bodybuilders of Venice Beach in the 1970s and continues through to the NFL’s Raiders of the ’80s and ’90s and the baseball scandals of today. Assael also reveals the dramatic story of the godfather of the steroid movement: Dan Duchaine, who wrote The Original Underground Steroid Handbook in 1981.

Part detective story, part medical investigation, and part sociological examination, Steroid Nation is a groundbreaking work on the most compelling story in the sports world today.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 23, 2007
Publisher   ESPN
ISBN  1933060379  
ISBN13  9781933060378  

Availability  0 units.

More About Shaun Assael

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Shaun Assael, a former New  York City criminal justice reporter, is a senior writer for ESPN Magazine. His work has appeared in such places as Esquire, The Village Voice, New York, and Smart Money.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Cooking, Food & Wine > Drinks & Beverages > Juice
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Personal Health > General
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Recovery > Drug Dependency
5Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Family Health
6Books > Subjects > Science > Biological Sciences > Biochemistry
7Books > Subjects > Sports > General
8Books > Subjects > Sports > Miscellaneous > Sociology of Sports
9Books > Subjects > Sports > Training > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-Aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every High School : The Secret History of America's True Drug Addiction?

Enlightening read  Jul 20, 2008
Excellent book on how steroids moved from the gym culture in California to mainstream America, from professional to high school athletics and strange way we view steroids - classifying them as dangerous drugs while giving those who make, distribute or use them little more than a slap on the wrist. I liked the personal anecdotes about the people involved, which lent a lot of color to a very throughly researched book. I'm looking forward to learning more about this topic, especially as the Beijing Olympics unfold. It will be interesting to see how the IOC handles the issue this go around.
The problem is far more extensive than most realize...  Dec 2, 2007
It's impossible to be a fan of sports these days and not be aware of the role that steroids play in the lives of athletes. If you listen to the athletes themselves, only a few rogue players get sucked up in the juice. But any rational human knows that the truth is something completely different. In the book Steroid Nation: Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every High School: The Secret History of America's True Drug Addiction, Shaun Assael looks at steroid use in America from 1981 to today. You can't help but draw the conclusion that there is a vast conspiracy of silence that allows this to go on in professional and amateur sports.

Band of Believers - 1981 - 1992: The Guru of Venice; "Zee Codes, Zey Are Missing", Mules, Threesomes, and Mom; The Running Man; Inside Job; Blow Out; The Biggest Believers
Tapping the Vein - 1992 - 2000: Mormon Money; The Perfect Pitch; Solace and Sex; 'Cause I'm TNT, I'm Dynamite!; The King Is Dead
Long Live The King - 2000 - Present: The Right Stuff; A Bully Pulpit; The Scientist Strikes Back; The Two Arnolds; State of the Union; This Is War; A Vicious Cycle; Growing Pains
Acknowledgments; Bibliography; Source Notes; Index

Assael goes back to the days of the Underground Steroid Handbook and Dan Duchaine. Duchaine became known as "The Guru" due to his extensive knowledge and experimentation with performance enhancing drugs. Working out of the Gold's Gym in Venice, he quickly became the go-to guy when bodybuilders wanted to get bigger and athletes needed to get stronger. While these drug sales were far from legal, the government wasn't as motivated to prosecute as they are in today's environment. But that doesn't mean that all the players were staying out of jail. Duchaine did a couple of jail stints, and his life started to slide downhill at a rapid pace as he became addicted to some of his chemical concoctions. His destructive behavior also affected his relationships with women, as ones that stayed around more than a week or two usually ended up physically wrecked in the long run.

Duchaine isn't the only story in Steroid Nation, however. There are other dealers who have become front-page names, like Victor Conte from BALCO. Dealers abound both locally and internationally as the technology becomes more available and the profit potential skyrockets. The government agents, such as Don Catlin and Terry Madden, are forever fighting a battle where the criminals are usually a step or two ahead of law enforcement and the science of detection. And then there are the athletes and celebrities... Lyle Alzado, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sylvester Stallone, and many others. The gap between the public image and the actual behavior is incredibly vast. Nearly all deny there are any chemical shenanigans going on, even after positive tests. And even the assertions of being clean due to no positive test results rings hollow, as the chemicals used and masking agents employed change far faster than the testing labs can be updated. And if a new substance is out there that can't be detected (think "Clear" and "Cream" from BALCO), then it may just be a matter of luck that the testing labs will ever find out.

Assael writes a good story with extensive documentation. Steroid Nation is a bit slow in the beginning, as the direction of the story seems to be a bit muddled. But once I got about 50 pages in, I was completely hooked. I know that steroids are a real problem in sports. But after reading this book, I'm of the opinion that far more people are using than testing results would indicate. And while the heads of sporting leagues (and even the fans) want to believe that there's not a problem, they also don't want to go back to the days when their stars looked normal, not "larger than life".

Steroid Nation will open your eyes to the true nature and extent of the problem, as well as the hypocrisy of those who would want you to believe that they are eradicating steroids and winning the war.
Must Read For Sports Fans.  Nov 7, 2007
Shaun Assael, in his book Steroid Nation*, does a great job of weaving the threads of the steroid story from its less than humble beginnings as part of the Venice Beach bodybuilding underground to the Tour de France scandal, use by NFL stars and Major League Baseball players and Olympic champions. Assael tells the story of how the Dan Duchaine, the original steroid guru, opened up Pandora's Box when he published the Underground Steroid Handbook for Men and Women in 1982, and set in motion events that were responsible for - among other things - the BALCO Labs performance-enhancing drug scandal, the drug related deaths of professional wrestlers and the creation of the multi-billion dollar dietary supplement industry.

Steroid Nation* is a crazy story of mad geniuses, smugglers, drug dealers, underground gurus, self-taught chemists, deviants, narcissists, human guinea pigs, cheaters and liars. For people who have had their head in the sand with regard the steroids in sports scandal, Steroid Nation* will grab them by the scruff of their collective necks and shake them into awareness. The uninitiated will be amazed that a sociopath like Dan Duchaine could have had an influence on everything from the explosion of the use of steroids and human growth hormone to the creation of the drugs that were at the heart of the BALCO Labs scandal.

The amazing thing about how performance-enhancing drugs have affected the world of recreational activities and sport, is that there is a coherent string running through the story that connects the pioneers of the movement 30 years ago - Duchaine and his contemporaries; people that nobody has really ever heard of - to some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment of the past 10 years. A business that was as underground and as seedy as any seedy underground business could ever be, affected and then turned into something public, high-tech and lucrative.

Steroids, human growth hormone, creatine, androstendione, legal and illegal supplements have all been developed and used by people looking to get an edge, make some money and build a following. Steroid Nation* tells the story of how underground chemists looking for the next hot drug and supplement developed substances of dubious efficacy and that made people fortunes, while creating problems for the anti-doping movement.

Steroid Nation* is a great book, a book that tells a lot of stories and a book that every sports fan should read. If you don't understand the fuss about steroids, this book will help put things into perspective. "The Juice" isn't something that just came onto the scene, and athletes haven't just started cheating over the past few years.

The current performance-enhancing drug scandal didn't start with Marion Jones, Ben Johnson, BALCO Labs or Barry Bonds. The scandal started 30 years ago and has been growing the whole time, bubbling to the surface every once in a while. Read Shaun Assael's book Steroid Nation* so that you can get up to speed and understand the story that's been going on since the 1970s and that will continue to unfold in new and crazy ways as time goes by.
lots of detail, some gaps on overview  Nov 5, 2007
The book details the growth of steroid use by US athletes. The topic is pretty intuitively understood so there is little point in a plot summary. Instead, critical comments follow.

What I liked:
*lots of primary research
*interesting topic
*well-written in terms of individual sections

What I disliked:
*seemed heavily dependant on where the author had concentrated his primary research. Read more like a data dump of who he had happened to interview than an overall view of the subject.
*Organization was a little hard to understand (sections). Also every few pages, a new location/content thread would be introduced. I know the author wanted to weave a story that was not 100% connected. And the textual use of a location header was an attempt to make it palatable to the reader. But it still didn't quite work.
*Lack of pictures. There are no photos even though this is a nonfiction book about a drug that creates interesting physiques and although the book emphasizes personalities. Other books on this subject (Balco book, Canseco book) do have pictures. The lack of pictures is cheap and minimizes the value of the work. In contrast, the cover phote is stunningly eye-catching especially in concert with the title. The obvious implication is that some publisher/editor beancounter decided to skimp on content and spend on marketing, figuring he could drive sales at mega-bookstores. Well, this site reviews are a place to combat that behavioral tendancy. (And rating critical reviews as not recommended is a way to fight for that tendancy!)
*Also would have liked it if he hunted down and talked a bit more with the "other side" (people who justify the use of the drugs). At least present a bit more detail of the viewpoint alluded to by Arnold (adults making decisions of own).

Neutral, but noted:
*Author has citations in the end, but has no notemarks in the text. I guess this is also a marketing thing as some people will put down a book with footnotes. (Like the famous quote that popular books on mathematics lose half their audience with each equation shown.) It's actually a nice compromise to include the endnotes in this alternate fashion. Good upgrade on Woodward who did not use endnotes at all in his first 2 Bush books.

Say It Aint So Joe? or Barry, or Floyd or Marion, or Arnold or Hulkster...  Oct 30, 2007
Shaun Assaels book steroid nation is a powerful history of how performance enhancing drugs have swept our nation. He gives fascinating details about how steroids were used as early as the 1960's by Americans. His detailed look at Venice Steroid Guru Dan Duchaine is scary at times. Being a powerlifter and an avid reader of all of the muscle magazines I found this book to be the most accurate portrayal of what's really going on in sports, both on the field, and the cover ups going on off the field. It's a MUST READ for all sports fans. So the next time some one asks you "do you think that guy is on steroids?" You'll know the answer is probably yes!!!

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