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Hero of the Underground: A Memoir Hardcover – July 8, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Peter, a star at the University of Nebraska's storied football program in the late 1990s and a first-round NFL draft pick, details his short, frenzied life as a drug user and veteran of the treatment center circuit. It started with painkillers in college, which turned into a full-blown addiction as he battled an array of injuries that ended his career by his late 20s. With plenty of money and time available, Peter's partying escapades eventually led him to freebasing cocaine and turning his upscale New York City apartment into arguably the world's most expensive heroin retreat, complete with a live-in junkie stripper girlfriend. Avoiding self-help urgings and self-congratulations, Peter (who is now clean) and O'Neill have crafted an unflinching look at the dark side of a life devoted to pleasure. Peter's recollection of his college glory days is a little overbearing, but the book's power lies in his honesty in detailing the depths of his despair from seeking the next high. (July)
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Review

Hero of the Underground gives us a portrait of red-blooded jock as monster dope fiend. It’s a savage, unsparing, eye-popping ride through the dark soul of big money, endless drugs, American manhood, and our national past time---self-destruction. Ex-Cornhusker Jason Peter writes like a soulful badass, and we’re lucky he lived to tell the tale. Had Hunter Thompson been a football player instead of a fan, this is the book he’d have written. Flat-out, mash-your-face-in-the-dirt amazing.” --Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight

"Bruising... more harrowing than usual. Peter’s narrative relentlessly focuses on the brutalizing facts, and it is free from the macho posturing and self-congratulatory navel-gazing common in recovery memoirs. Nightmarishly honest." --Kirkus Reviews

"Wow, I am not sure how to express how unsettling this wound up being, for me.  The book is a sledgehammer.  When I think about the book, I feel this sort of hollow whistling in my chest.  Jesus."  --Nancy Rommelmann, New York Times bestselling author of The Real Real World

“I enjoyed the hell out of this book, sped through it like a crack fiend.  There will be a lot of interest in this part of the world because of his Cornhusker ties.  Nebraska is God’s country, but God, as Peter says, is Tom Osborne.” --Poe Ballantine, author of Things I Like About America and God Clobbers Us All

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031237576X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312375768
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Because I live in Nebraska, I only know of Jason Peter through Husker football. When I think of Jason Peter, I remember the huge football player coming up behind Coach Osborne after winning the national championship game with the gator aide bath. I didn't really follow his career after that so this was a real eye-opener into what direction his life took, the world of drugs and the life of an NFL player. Being a Nebraska girl, I realize how sheltered a life I've led but I must say, that's OK. And, once again, the fact is driven home of how too much power, too much money and too much fame can ruin a life and money certainly was the root of all evil in Jason's case; he could literally afford anything. Most of the book is a page-turner but sometimes I had to put it down because I could not handle his continuous failure to stop taking drugs and the toll that it had on his family, particularly his mom. My heart broke for her throughout the book. I lived with a family member with an addiction and would not wish it on anyone. I have to give Jason's wife a ton of credit for taking that on because it's not an easy path. I did appreciate that every time Jason mentioned Nebraska, it was with an apparent fondness. This state obviously is a place he holds near and dear to his heart. I'm glad the book ended well, although I know Jason's story has not ended. I wish him and his family all the best as he strives to walk the straight and narrow the rest of his life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book!

I'd personally never even heard of Jason Peter, but the backstory sounded amazing and I love the NFL, so after reading several reviews I decided to give it a try.

Jason Peter is a prime example of how the NFL spits you out when your no longer worthy of playing, this book in no way puts down the NFL, it just once again brings to light just how harsh the system is, one of my favorite lines in the book best describes it,

"When you put on your team colors, you are no longer a person--you are a cog in a machine. That is how a team operates, and that is what wins games. People are discarded in this game when their usefulness is at an end."

JP's career was in jeopardy because of injuries, then he got hooked on pain killers, the pain killers led to cocaine, the cocaine to meth and crack

his journey thru drugs/rehab is insane, he was an unemployed millionaire with a raging drug problem

good, good stuff!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a compelling read and a window into the world of drug addiction and rehabilitation. Jason Peter lived for the high of playing football and the roaring fans. In order to do this he had to have pain medications to just get up every morning. When several injuries curtailed his career he spiraled down into the world of drugs, cocaine and eventually heroin. I am not a great fan of football, but his descriptions of the very wealthy indulging in illicit drugs was revealing and shocking to me. As he points out, we think of drug addicts as those falling down into the gutters of life, but they were the well-off and moneyed people who willingly went down this road of destruction.
Also his description of drug rehabilitation centers was insightful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I only made it about 2/3 of the way of the book before quitting. Peter starts out his book by telling about wondering around NY on drugs after having a fight with his girlfriend and then goes into his childhood, his career at Nebraska, and then into his career at Carolina. While giving some interesting stories, like how his brother was a great lineman and headed to Notre Dame before a diving accident paralyzed him or what it was like to be a Cornhusker, it seemed really disjointed in that he would jump back and forth in time and made it hard to follow. For example, he talked about what it was like to play for Nebraska, then jump to already playing for Carolina and getting hooked on drugs, then jumped back to when he first joined Carolina and how hard the practices were, then jump back to getting hooked on drugs.

The major turnoff however was the part I managed to get through just comes off as either being a rant or a "rah-rah" of how great he was at Nebraska and how tough he is. When it comes to getting onto drugs, he blames being lonely and the surgeries he had to go through. And while giving examples of how awful drug use is and how easy it is to get into it without meaning to, he shies away from taking responsibility for a lot of his actions. I found the "overbearing" description of the Publishers Weekly review to be accurate and the main reason for not being able to get through.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jason l watched you play for many years. Your intensity was tremendous. No one on the field out worked you. It appears you spent your time in the drug world with the same intensity. I am proud of your ability to turn your life in the right direction. You should be proud of this book. Thank you for sharing.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever been addicted to drugs? Have you ever known anyone addicted to drugs? Have you ever been involved in an intervention?

The first twenty pages of this biography of former Nebraska Cornhusker All-American -- three-time-member -- of an NCAA football champion -- a first round NFL draft choice -- and a short lived NFL player... Jason Peter... is so "mind-crazed"... drowned in paranoia... non-stop... "Pulse-pounding"... "Heart-throttling"... and so... absolutely embedded... in complete mental and physical "INSANITY"... that if the reader has not been personally involved in a similar situation... you will believe wholeheartedly that it was all contrived by the author.

Jason comes from a loving family with an older and younger brother, all of whom excelled in football. His older brother not only played at the University of Nebraska also, but had a successful NFL career. Younger brother Damian was destined to be better than both of his brothers. In fact, then Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, while on national TV after recruiting Damian to play for the Fighting Irish said: "Damian Peter was maybe the best offensive lineman that Notre Dame had ever recruited." Damian then had a fluke accident diving into a swimming pool at a friend's house. Damian was critically injured, and was paralyzed, until a wonder "test" drug gave him his physical movement back. This led to the absolute, most pointed comments in the entire book, other than the wanton, depraved, decadent, debauched, degenerate, destructive, drug use, that asphyxiates ninety-five percent of the entire story. The entire time that Damian was in intensive care and recovery... and even when he came back to school to watch helplessly from the sideline...
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