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End Zone Paperback – January 7, 1986

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (January 7, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140085688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140085686
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Don DeLillo's second novel, a sort of Dr. Strangelove meets North Dallas Forty, solidified his place in the American literary landscape in the early 1970s. The story of an angst-ridden, war-obsessed running back for Logos College in West Texas, End Zone is a heady and hilarious conflation of Cold War existentialism and the parodied parallelism of battlefield/sports rhetoric. When not arguing nuclear endgame strategy with his professor, Major Staley, narrator Gary Harkness joins a brilliant and unlikely bunch of overmuscled gladiators on the field and in the dormitory. In characteristic fashion, DeLillo deliberately undermines the football-is-combat cliché by having one of his characters explain: "I reject the notion of football as warfare. Warfare is warfare. We don't need substitutes because we've got the real thing." What remains is an insightful examination of language in an alien, postmodern world, where a football player's ultimate triumph is his need to play the game.

About the Author

Don DeLillo published his first short story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including White Noise (1985) which won the National Book Award. It was followed by Libra (1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao II, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

In 1997, he published the bestselling Underworld, and in 1999 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, given to a writer whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society; he was the first American author to receive it. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

More About the Author

Don DeLillo is the author of fourteen novels, including Falling Man, Libra and White Noise, and three plays. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Jerusalem Prize. In 2006, Underworld was named one of the three best novels of the last twenty-five years by The New York Times Book Review, and in 2000 it won the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the most distinguished work of fiction of the past five years.

Customer Reviews

Good insight in to the psyche of male youth.
"All Creed's assistants have their piggish aspects . . ." One of these is aptly named 'Hauptfuhrer'.
Kenneth Walter Simpson
The only thing I could say about DeLillo's End Zone is at least it wasn't as bad as the Body Artist.
Matthew Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Richard K. Weems on September 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This very early product from the mind of DeLillo is sharp with the kind of ideas DeLillo would go on with, though not always successfully. His characters in this book are both base and philosophical, and the narrator, Gary Harkness, is a man who is into both the visceral thrills of football and world destruction as well as the higher functions of meaning and love. DeLillo mixes the base grunts of football with the war philosophy of Sun Tzu, and this book maintains that level through short, precise explosions of thought and action. While other books like _The Names_ tend to talk more about philosophy rather than exemplify it, _End Zone_ is a surgical airstrike in itself, and well worth the read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeremiah Mcneil on September 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
"End Zone" is like a Delillo primer: it introduces and develops his major themes, gives a taste of his absurd, over-the-top dialogue, and treats its genre conventions playfully. A football novel, "End Zone" is hardly a football novel- its a football-as-ritual novel, and as such it's about conceptions of identity and nuclear anxiety, and how language develops and even designates the forms of both these things. Delillo is concerned with language first- always- and how it shapes the stories we tell that make up who we are. This is about language as a distancing device used to subvert the passage to death. Which, come to think of it, is what pretty much all his books are about. In fact, "End Zone" is such a concise introduction to Delillo that I'd pretty much demand that anyone wisheing to read his stuff start here. It'll make the others much, much easier.

"End Zone" is packed with scenes of men shouting in elaborate code languages and with obvious symbolic tableau. Which is fine. Delillo is rarely a realist, and he's never one here. He's diagnosing the human condition down to the moment and the place. His books might leave America but they're always about this country, and "End Zone" is no exception. It's a visionary novel, and a fine one at that.

It's also very, very funny. It's pretty much a comedy from beginning to end- and it's a good one. Delillo is always humorous, but rarely is he half as funny as he is here on nearly every page. "White Noise," which is extremely funny at times, has nothing on "End Zone"- this book has the distinction of containing the funniest and best sex scene I've ever read. Every sentence in the scene is an ironic bombshell, all eroticism and absurdism brilliantly commingled.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Mark on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It's odd in a number of ways, all of which I liked a lot, though I imagine they might turn off other readers. First, it's about football and it really gets into the mechanics of the game. Non-fans might feel a little left out reading a four or five page description of a team's 60-yard drive. These scenes are gritty and journalistic; you get a real sense of it. Then there's the loopy conversations of the players. They're all at a football school in the desert, suffering in the sun, running and wrestling on the hard dusty fields. In their spare time they have earnest, sophisticated discussions about the nature of existence. Not realistic, but the combination completely worked for me at a metaphorical level. Hard work, hot sun, hard thinking, fights. Isn't that just what we all want?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ALEX SOWDEN on August 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Certain football fans may be left dissatisfied with Endzone. A football book that is not really about football at all, DeLillo uses the adventures of Logos College fullback Gary Harkness as a point of departure from which to explore aspects of post-structuralist systems theory that became his trademark in later books. DeLillo's study of the polysemous nature of language in relation to meaning is first-rate. The parallel he establishes between the jargon of football and nuclear war demonstrates how the deterioration of semiotic meaning within language can threaten personal creativity and individuality. Caught in this suffocating network of interlocking symbol systems, Gary finds in football the only means by which to express himself freely and independent of the sterile reality around him. For Gary, football is an end unto itself, whose jargon and primitive physical contact provides him with an alternative system of meaning away from the ascetic chaos of the postmodern world. In this way, DeLillo underlines the inherent value both of physical activity and verbal creativity as expressions of individuality, which rise above the constraints of a language system devoid of expressiveness and order. An oblique and thoughtful novel, Endzone may enthral you - but only if you have the inclination. Those of you, however, who are neither literature students nor semiotic theory enthusiasts, may find it tiresome, pretentious, or just plain dull.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By metheb on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
End Zone gives us Don DeLillo in his element, commenting on the American condition through one of its most indellible pasttimes, college football, and with hilarious results.
Pulling from his world of unique characters we are presented with a narrator at his third college in as many years, deep in the heart of Texas, and obsessed with nuclear holocaust. The metaphor of football as war is easily addressed but this story is driven by the quirkiness of its offbeat oddball football players and insane collection of coaches.
The predominatly white, southern team is shaken up with the addition of a potential All-American black running back and their head coaches' desire to retain the gridiron glory he once had. The coach has an undeniable Paul Brown/Woody Hayes quality to him.
The team struggles with each game, their individual neurosis and each other as the country lives in the paranoia and gloom of the nuclear menace.
Without a doubt some of DeLillo's most humorous writing while keeping the aura of his fiction in tact.
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