Juiced Home Run Totals, Anti-aging Miracles, and a Hercules in Every High School
The Secret History of America’s True Drug Addiction
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.
“A rip-roaring good rock’n’roll read. How could it not be? It’s the classic American drug story up there with Nikki Sixx’s autobiography and the Hunter S. Thompson story.”
– Steve Wells, The Guardian
“Assael skillfully tracks the course of the steroid epidemic that has swept through American sports. His portrait of pioneering steroid guru Dan Duchaine, who did so much to popularize performance-enhancing drugs, is compelling and disturbing.”
– Lance Williams, Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports
“Documents the rise of muscle culture in much the same way that Randy Shilts’ And the Band Played On chronicled the spread of AIDS. This marvelously reported narrative takes the reader from seedy California gyms to Capitol Hill, from high school locker rooms to major league clubhouses. Finally, Assael demonstrates the price Americans have paid for getting so big.”
– Mark Kriegel, Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich and Namath: A Biography
“This story doesn’t just take place in the professional baseball stadiums of America, it takes place on the playgrounds of every town in the US. Steroid Nation tells us how steroids have become our country’s drug and offers some important solutions for the future.”
– Barry McCaffrey, former Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
“Assael has brilliantly anatomized the American obsession with performance — and physique — enhancing drugs. If you are interested in the truth about today’s sports world — the unvarnished but juiced-up, muscle-bound truth — Steroid Nation is required reading.”
– Jeremy Schaap, Cinderella Man and Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics
“A panoramic view of steroids in America —a view that echoes the Mitchell Report in placing responsibility for the spread of performance-enhancing drugs on just about everyone including the media and the fans..”
– David Davis, Sports Letter (LA84 Foundation)
“The Mitchell report’s reference to high school use alarmed many people. Shaun Assael’s book would cause an outright panic.”
– San Jose Mercury News