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Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; First Edition edition (March 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592401996
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592401994
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A sober, skillful and utterly damning account of not just the Bonds fiasco but the pervasive influence of steroids in sports."—Los Angeles Times



"Devastating. . . . groundbreaking. . . . Necessary reading for anyone concerned with the steroids era in baseball and track and field and its fallout on sports history."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times



"A compelling portrait of conspiracy. . . . Fascinating."—The Boston Globe



"Scorching. . . . A testament to baseball’s failure."—Newsweek



"Superb. . . . Important and disturbing."—San Francisco Chronicle



"The evidence is detailed, damning, and overwhelming. . . . It’s a growing bonfire of controversy. This book is one of the matches."—The Philadelphia Inquirer



"[Fainaru-Wada and Williams] have got the goods and they reveal them methodically. Everything is well-sourced and meticulously explicated."—Chicago Tribune



“A shocking exposé of the seedy side of pro sports that underscores just how easy it is to cheat.”—Entertainment Weekly

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

MARK FAINARU-WADA and LANCE WILLIAMS are investigative reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle. After fifteen months of covering steroid use in sports, in December 2004 they reported in the Chronicle on the secret grand jury testimony of pro baseball players Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds, making headlines around the world. Fainaru- Wada and Williams won the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award, the George Polk Award, and the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Edgar A. Poe Award for their reporting.

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Customer Reviews

Bonds, like Marion Jones, was a customer of BALCO.
Gregory J. R. Bourke
The book is a must read for baseball fans in particular and sports fans in general.
Michael Patrick Heenan
Easy reading, very enjoyable, I found myself laughing outloud with each page.
Hoping to travel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's hard not to feel a profound sense of disappointment after reading this comprehensive, well-written investigative report on the abuse of steroids by athletes blinded by their need to be victorious in their various fields. While Barry Bonds is the primary subject here, San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are not as interested in sabotaging the star player's legacy-in-the-making as they are in exposing the breadth of impact that Victor Conte, founder of BALCO (an acronym for the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative), had in plying a number of star athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.

The reporters have done a remarkable job documenting the history of steroids, which were used as far back as the 1976 Summer Olympics where the East German women all too handily dominated the swimming events. One revelation for me from the book is how steroids do not directly enhance athletic performance but allow a greater endurance to train harder with a decreasing chance of injury and no need for recovery time. This nuance is critical in understanding how athletes can justify using such risky substances and escape accountability for their actions. This is the moral twist of the book and the one that resonates most clearly as a cautionary tale for future athletes in assessing their options.

Just as intriguing is the detailed chronicle of the rise and fall of the enterprising Conte, who went from being a bass guitarist for Tower of Power to the owner of a holistic health clinic to a highly paid consultant for renowned Olympic and professional athletes. Conte's real fortunes began with his discovery of a means to provide performance-enhancing drugs which would elude detection.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Little Miss Cutey on April 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of NBC Today, I've seen many segments that Mike Leonard has done. He is hilarious and unique and one story he did in particular, was a cross country journey with his parents and one of his daughters in an RV. I saw it and I loved it. His parents are adorable and funny too and they represent the kind of family you wished you belonged to (though I'm happy with my family). Apparently this story was one of their most memorable stories that's been done.

When you buy the book, it has the dvd along with it with the highlights of their vacation. They went through 18 States and were together throughout the whole time. It was an 8 thousand mile journey that ended with Mikes daughter giving birth (to Mikes parents first great-grandchild).

He wanted to write this book because it's relatable to so many families. And it is. It's funny and touching and heartwarming and so many other things in between.

I really recommend this book because as Mike thinks, it is relatable to so many people and it's interesting and entertaining and you'll really have a good laugh and enjoy it thoroughly. Great book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M J Heilbron Jr. VINE VOICE on June 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Game of Shadows" is about...well, heck...you KNOW what it's about.

As a baseball fan, I found myself a little sad about the whole thing. So much about the last few years seems kinda bogus. Maris didn't deserve an asterisk. Bonds does, I think.

As a physician, I found myself a little scared. These guys are doing things to their bodies that's gonna kill 'em early, and kill 'em in foul ways. It's sickening to think how their metabolisms have been manipulated to create inhuman athletes; these people are not natural...they were not created by nature. They are artificial. They're Frankenstein's monsters.

As a moral person, I found myself angry. This is cheating, plain and simple, and it's being done in front of the most loyal yet impressionable fans...the kids.

The only problem with the book is the shrill and repetitive Bonds-bashing that gets a little old by the end. It's almost like the authors are really angry with Bonds; you get the sense that their personal feelings and sensibilities were hurt. Listen...I'm with you guys. No way does a basbeball player have not only the best years of his career, but the best years of ANYBODY'S career, after the age of 35, without SOME additional support. But sometimes the tone of the book is like that of a spurned lover out for revenge. A little too vituperative.

But hey...this is an important book. There is no doubt that Bonds' legacy is in question. The question you should have, and the one I surely have, is why hasn't baseball shut this down. Please...they are still punishing Pete Rose, yet this has all happened in front of their noses and they seem to look away. The argument could be made that the public wants the long ball, and this is the way to get it.

I say the public wants to see the game played hard and fair. Cleaning up this business would prove that the baseball administrators really are who they say they are: fans just like us.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My wife read this book and told me about it, then we watched the DVD which accompanies the book. Change of pace reading for me from history or westerns, and a very refreshing one indeed.

While the book and DVD have some poignant segments, it is equally balanced with some outright comical segments. Mike Leonard's parents and the entire Leonard clan are pleasant to meet and this inside look into a zany, lovable group of people is one the reader will not soon forget. Come on, read it. I didn't think I'd care for it, either; but I loved it.

This book should get an award for not only its great American family profile but for its inventiveness. There are still real people out there and the foundations of the real America still exits.

Hats off to one of the more enjoyable reads/views I've ever experienced.

Well recommended. This book will restore any doubts one may have about our country.

Semper Fi.
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