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ESPN: The Uncensored History Hardcover – April 1, 2000
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From Library Journal
-William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The tale of ESPN's rise digs deeply...into behind-the-scenes shenanigans... (Sports Illustrated)
...powerful and entertaining. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Extensively researched, ESPN: The Uncensored History presents a fascinating, candid, revealing story in clear, unambiguous, and highly evocative language. A singularly memorable and compelling 'tell-all' book, ESPN: The Uncensored History is strongly recommended reading for all sports buffs. (Library Bookwatch)
Network stoolies are buzzing about a...book on ESPN by New York Times sports writer Mike Freeman...sounds real juicy (New York Daily News)
...a fascinating new book...might make you watch ESPN in a whole new way. (Book Page)
Michael Freeman tells the story with the same urgency and breathlessness that ESPN brings to its coverage of sports.... a dazzling American success story .... (American Way)
Freeman uses network documents, court records, and (often anonymous) interviews with past and current employees to make this a compelling read. Highly recommended. (Library Journal)
After reading this explosive book it's hard to believe that a network owned by the squeaky-clean Disney Corporation could allow the sexual hijinks that go on at ESPN to escape their corporate scrutiny. A devastating read. (Publishers Weekly)
Michael Freeman provides the first book of critical analysis of the original and largest sports network. (Sports Collectors Digest)
Give Freeman points for diligent research [and] for his no-nonsense history of how the all-sports network evolved. (Philadelphia Daily News)
... compelling subject matter for any sports fan. (Daytona News-Journal)
Freeman, a skilled and concise writer, does an exceptional job of telling the entire story―warts and all .... (Baltimore Sun)
... sizzling expose ... truly shocking. (Publishers Weekly)
This story would make a terrific Outside the Lines. Yet ESPN's investigative series ... wouldn't touch the material ... with a 10-foot TelePrompTer. (Orlando Sentinel)
Michael Freeman has captured the essence of the freewheeling, 24-hour cable network that pioneered not just sports television, but the cable industry itself. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
... give[s] the reader a real insight to the early days at ESPN. (Tampa Tribune)
... stunning ... fascinating .... (Chicago Sun-Times)
Top Customer Reviews
Freeman does do a good job of painting the painful sacrifice young singles must make to join this odd corporate culture. But maybe also mentioning the sacrifices the married employees and their families have to make (e.g. the intense travel demands levied on many ESPN employees, the quirky weekend hours, the extramarrital activity), would have helped give this book more balance.
The book also neglects the overall stress on a given night in the screening room where every sporting event is being monitored. A brief synopsis of how a game becomes a highlight and the people involved -- from the PA logging the game to the highlight supervisor to the anchor reading it on the air -- might also help readers understand the electricity in the air on a given night at ESPN Plaza.
Other than that, though, the book is a compelling read. Many of the personnel mentioned in the latter half of the book, both talent and production, are still at ESPN. The timeline of ESPN's evolution from cable start-up to the model cable network is great. Freeman's assessment of ESPN as a "sports news" network and not just a "sports network" is very well done.Read more ›
To me, the best theme is the evolution of Sportscenter from a highlight show to a must-see event. In the mid-to-late 80's, I thought CNN had surpassed SportsCenter, with better stories, better anchors, and better sets, as well as a partner network in CNN Headline News. John Walsh's iron will reversed that trend, and some of the best CNN personnel (Dan Patrick, Gary Miller, etc.) defected to ESPN. Subtly, over the years ESPN became a credible journalistic organization with multiple networks, and SportsCenter left CNN in the dust.
The pre-1978 Bill Rasmussen story moves slowly, and I don't think I have a full understanding of the important events leading to September 7, 1979. I would like to have had clearer information about how Rasmussen expected to pay for his vision, and why his son (theoretically the least experienced of the principals) was sent out to look for money. What kind of deals did they offer investors before Getty came in and took 85%? How soon did they expect profitability? Did they have a backup plan? I think the author wanted this to be perceived as a business book instead of a gossip book. It fails on that count, in my opinion, because the author does not seem to have a business background.Read more ›
However, like I said, if you can't get enough of the network(s), the magazine, and the Web site, then this is a quick read and an enjoyable one.
Hopefully there will be a sequel which tells all about some of the rights deals as well as the misbehavior in the corporate suites.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love back stories. I love ESPN. Well, I used to. This book didn't give me as much background as I would have liked, but it did give me more than I knew before I read it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by TruxtonSpangler
I did find it got a bit boring in the middle and it started to drift along. That said I did find it interesting to see how it was started, how soon the original founders were... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mike Heath
Definitely worth a read if your a fan of the network. The birth of espn was truly amazing and if you don't know the story it's worth learning aboutPublished 16 months ago by tgperkins
Interesting look into the history of the network. If you are a fan of the network you will enjoy the read.Published 19 months ago by Gary Killough
Very informative. In some places the book becomes a little tiresome covering the same subjects again and again. Overall a pretty good read.Published on October 4, 2013 by Charles Cooper
it was interesting enough to learn the history, but I really didn't get anything out of it except that mike turico is a piece of garbage as is bill pidto.Published on August 5, 2013 by Amazon Customer
When Keith Olbermann is the most well-behaved employee, you might have a problem. And did ESPN ever have problems in the 1980s and 1990s. Read morePublished on January 16, 2012 by ReaderinReno
Like millions of americans, I love ESPN. While I wait for Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN to come down in price, I dived into this book looking for some... Read morePublished on June 3, 2011 by Francis J. McCabe Jr.