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The Answer Is Never: A Skateboarder's History of the World Paperback – August 21, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 1 edition (August 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802139450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802139450
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the beginning of this slim history of skateboarding, the author makes it clear that his version will be biased, prejudiced and discriminating. Weyland has been hooked on skateboarding for more than 20 years (he is 33 years old), making objectivity all but impossible. Instead, Weyland has written what amounts to a love letter to skateboarding and its culture. He cobbles old articles and reportage from skating magazines like Skateboarder and Thrasher into a breezy narrative of the sport from its birth in 1960s California as a way for surfers to pass the time when the waves were flat to the hugely popular sport of today, regularly featured on ESPN. Along the way readers meet legends like the Dogtown Z-Boys (skating pioneers who were recently the subject of a documentary film), Steve Caballero and Tony Hawk. But the real strength of this book comes from the personal experiences he skillfully drops in the mix. He does a great job explaining how, growing up as an alienated kid, skating offered him an alternative to institutionalized jock mentality and its attendant boorishness. Through his vivid remembrances, he offers a glimpse into the rebellious skating culture in the 1980s when it was still far underground. And while Weyland lapses a bit into sentimentality over today' s commercialization of the sport, he always returns to its true spirit. As he writes, It' s slamming onto cement and getting purple hip contusions that stick to your pants for weeks, riding on rain-soaked sidewalks and arguing with old ladies and running from cops. This is a rallying cry to true skate punks everywhere. (Sept.) Forecast: Excerpts from the book will appear in skateboarding magazine Thrasher (circulation of 500,000), which should drive sales.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From The New Yorker

This chronicle, by a seasoned practitioner, of the halting but persistent ascent of skateboarding is sharp and winning, depicting from the inside the evolution of a subculture that has retained its stylistic distinctiveness even as it has spawned ESPN shows and tacky merchandising franchises. Unfortunately, Weyland spends too much time fretting that skaters have gone soft, and lamenting the decay of the anti-authoritarianism that once animated the sport. But his picture of the real world in which skaters live belies his warmed-over Frankfurt School critique, and he is at his best when he writes about what skating gave him as a kid—what it's like to awaken to a sense of possibility, and to realize that what you've grown up with is not what you're stuck with.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The best book I have ever read about skateboarding.
Joseph G. Dees
If you are just getting on board for the first time, or haven't stepped off in 25 years or more, read this book!
Tony Goodwin
If you love skateboarding you should buy this book.
Mike Pearson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brooke on December 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have a review coming out of this book in my magazine Concrete Wave. I don't want to steal too much from that review, but suffice to say that this book is a work of great signficance. I can only hope that the entire skate community (from EVERY generation) gets a chance to read this book
Well written, well researched and best of all, written by someone who truly knows skateboarding.
HIGHLY, highly, recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stone on October 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book-
first -for skaters it offers the first real unglorifed view of a skaters life (in all of its glory)
second -for everybody else it offers a view of life intertwined with music and skating subcultures that may be the only real "history" of the actual experience. Not so much "I was there. . I was cool" stuff but the real view that the most people who did this stuff had- which makes it that much more powerful and inspirational. This book is also an important record of pre-MTV life when kids had to find things themselves and subcultures were different from niche markets.
Interesting, smart, fun to read. . all around an honest and important book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Wright on January 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Growing up in the 80s I was surrounded by skateboarding, whether it be in the form of my Mom's friend's daughter showing me how to (attempt to) ride down the street at age 10, the kids skating in the "hip town" of Hyannis, MA (which was a "city" to someone from The Cape), watching my neighbors skate and build their own ramps, watching the early skate videos, or ogling through Transworld Skate or Thrasher and wishing I'd had enough coordination to actually be able to learn what I was seeing. I found this book at the public library and thought it might be an interesting read, but I had no idea what I was in for. Granted, Weyland's writing can be very subjective and he tends to "go off" about what skating has become (as many people who have been skating their entire life can), but what he wrote isn't just his complaints about skating and the industry. There's a lot of information about the history of skating (which a lot of people who claim to skate might not have any ideas about), and also stories about what skating was like before The Circus of what is now began. What he's written gives the person who doesn't understand skating the ability to have some inkling of what it's like, and to understand that "skating" isn't just what they see, but it's a culture, a lifestyle, a thought pattern, a philosophical journey, and can even be a family. One truly interesting part of the book (for me, being a 28 year-old college professor) is Weyland's comments and thoughts about going from being "in the know" to being considered "old." I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the history of the sport and the genesis of what they see before them today.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tony Goodwin on September 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have just finished the book after an extended sitting (couldn't put it down) and found it to be completely absorbing. I also have skateboarded for 25 years and this book came as close as anything I have ever read to summing up how a piece of wood attached to 4 wheels can completely inform and influence your life, the choices you make, the friends you choose and the way you look at every aspect of the world around you.
If you are just getting on board for the first time, or haven't stepped off in 25 years or more, read this book!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TT on April 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Weyland chronicles the history of the sport from its ancestry in Hawaiian surfing through its recent emergence as a mass-marketed ESPN drawing card. While carefully charting this history, he intersperses lenghty (though riveting) tales from his own experiences growing up as a skater. These tales, which are indicative of how the skating mileau of the time shaped him, are a valuable time capusle to which many readers will relate. He manages to do all of this very artfully so that what seems to be a bi-polar stucture is nearly seamless. Few books measure up to the narrative and literary standards I expect from authors--but this one far surpasses them (a pleasant surprise). Novice skaters and parents who wish to understand skating culture should read this book and also Tony Hawk's Operation: Skateboarder. Both are fast reads (despite their 300+ pagecounts) and demonstrate two contrasting aspects of the sport and the corresponding worldviews engendered therein. Really, it's so good if Weyland waxes poetic on ice fishing I'd have to check it out. Please note that this book is a lot more fun to read than my dull review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Fo on November 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Indeed there is something to be said for reaching out with the internet. Jocko has, since my previous review, made good with a payment for the photo usage in this book, and has been added to my personal list, as another "Cadillac of Dudes".
-M.Fo
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ryan crase on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
being a 32 year old skateboard enthusiast (going on 18 years), i could feel myself re-living my past. he brings back the essence of what skateboarding is, was, and "will be" all about. i've had the wonderful opportunity to meet, and skate with this great author, and he truly does have a passion. the book is a part of his energy, and an element of the soul of skateboarding. i would urge anybody interested in skateboarding, or what skateboarding is about, to buy it. A+ jocko!
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