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on May 16, 2005
I've been a follower of Will Carroll's work on Baseball Prospectus for a while now, and got a great deal of knowledge out of his last book "Saving the Pitcher".

"The Juice" is an excellent introduction to the ever-expanding and rapidly-changing world of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Mr. Carroll presents a brief history of how athletes (and their trainers) have been seeking versions of magic elixirs for centuries, and then details the physiological changes and risks (and potential benefits) associated with use of PEDs.

Those readers looking for a tell-all on Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco should look elsewhere. "The Juice" DOES devote a chapter to the BALCO investigation, but it is presented in terms of the legal pathways that are being pursued, and who is being targeted and why. Bonds DOES get mentioned, but the book thankfully does not to jump to conclusions.

The chapter that "made" the book for me detailed the use of HGH by a high school pitcher who was told by a scout that he wasn't tall enough. The interviews of the kid and his parents was amazing and thought-provoking.

Well done Will!
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on July 4, 2005
"The Juice" provides a nice overview on topic that sports fans hear about constantly but nobody is really saying anything new about.

The book discusses many of the drugs in question -- both providing a history of PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs) and their effects (both positive and negative) on the human body. Included in this discussion is a section on supplements and other PEDs (caffeine! amphetamines and the like) which I found an interesting side note in the PED conversation that is often left out (how many players who get caught say they were taking a supplement).

The best sections -- which play to Will Carroll's strength, a conversational writing style that makes complex medical issues understandable, are the interviews with a Minor League player and steroid user, a high school baseball player and HGH user, a PED Lawyer, a Trainer who knows PED, a man who runs a top testing company, and a man who claims to have created THG (at the center of the Balco trial).

Those sections provide a behind the scenes look if you will at the issue.

My biggest criticism of the book is that in the end, Will Carroll doesn't seem to draw any new conclusions despite all the information he provides. I wish he had been better able to tie the book up, somehow his conclusions (which were nothing new) left me unsatisfied.

Still this book is a quick read, tightly written book that raises the bar on the PED discussion -- giving you a view of the other side (which is never heard), providing the reader with important information and raising critical issues in this debate.
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on June 13, 2005
The review below ("Terrible Book") was written by a guy who hawks HGH on the internet, and thus has a financial interest in discrediting books like The Juice. He's obviously not an objective reviewer.

The Juice is as insightful and well-researched as Carroll's Baseball Prospectus column, of which I am a longtime fan. Highly recommended.
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on October 7, 2005
Steroids and sports are in the news more and more, especially in baseball: despite the news, few coverages examine how steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs work and how they affect athletes and players. Will Carroll is an acknowledged authority on baseball medicine, and his coverage in The Juice explores legal supplements, illegal drugs, baseball law and performance standards alike. A 'must' for any involved in the sport's finer issues.
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on June 5, 2005
It amazes me that sportswriters who take up the subject of steroids neglect the How? and Why? Maybe it's because the answers are science answers, even though the questions are basic questions. Fortunately, Will Carroll does not. An example: During his 30-minute airport interview with an unnamed steroid seller, Carroll uses his in-depth technical knowledge to ask Dr. X tough questions, and more valuable, to retain and document a conversation he couldn't take notes on. This is high-performance journalism--no shortcuts, quality narrative, and outstanding detail.
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on June 14, 2005
Will Carroll has invested a great deal of time and effort into this book, and it shows, especially in his chapters about the past and future of performance enhancement, including gene manipulation. His interview with the alleged creator of synthetic HGH is truly eye-opening. It's an excellent exposé into the world of performance enhancement, covering everything from herbs and caffeine to the most potent and toxic steroids available today.

The one complaint I have with the book is the chapters that cover the medical and chemical side of performance enhancers. Although necessary for the book to cover all sides of the story, Dr. Carroll (yes, there are TWO authors, both named Will Carroll, one of whom is a doctor) is dry and slow, and can often read like a textbook. I skimmed over these parts of the book, a great deal of which I'd already forgotten from my bio classes.

What is exceptional about this book is that it covers both sides of the story, and gives them both a fair say (one chapter is dedicated exclusively to those who support the use of steroids and other performance enhancers). Despite Mr. Carroll's personal position against PEDs ("I believe that any substance that gives any player an unfair advantage should be banned from use in baseball"), his writing is unbiased and evenhanded.

Dr. David Orman, who wrote the only negative review of this book, could learn about professionalism from Mr. Carroll. It's called disclosure. Dr. Orman failed to remark that he has a great deal to gain financially from HGH and other performance enhancers.
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on April 21, 2009
Well worth the money. A good source for folks like me who do not have much knowledge of PEDs. I have never taken a chemistry class and would certainly fail it if I did, but this short but engrossing book covers the steroid history very well. Carroll has contributed to the literature on the subject by writing a primer for people who know Barry Bonds and A-Rod, but are unfamiliar with how and why folks take these drugs. Having never been a good athlete and never been exposed to PEDs in the real world, I had zero knowledge of the subject other than what has been covered in the mass media.

Not a great book and some material I felt should have been left out, but overall I can recommend it to sports fans and those interested in increasing their basic knowledge of PEDs.
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on December 10, 2005
Unfortunately, I purchased and read this book on steroids. Of all the books on the subject, this was by far the worst. The "sources" of information (if you can even call the people sources) are questionable at best. He invents information and passed it on as fact. He will take 1 out of 25 studies -- the negative one and cite that as proof of his point, while ignoring the other 24 favorable or neutral ones.

I disagree with the 1/2 of the reviewers in this topic, though some bring up good points. Mr. "Objective" Nugent is not one of them. He has a major axe to grind.

All in all, not worth it.
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on June 15, 2005
A rather spirited debate among reviewers for a book that is rather boring. What did we learn from The Juice?

1. Steroids are bad. This is a revelation?

2. Players such as Giambi and Bonds used steroids. In case you are the one person who has not seen the 176 specials about steroids on ESPN, this could help.

Other than this, the book really revealed nothing new. And the big story is from a source that is anonymous? What are we talking about, baseball's version of deep throat? You have to do better than this.

It was long, drawn and no real "meat" to it. More hype than anything. And I got sucked in with the advertising. Canseco's book was interesting. Great stories and easy to read. At least he gave me something.

I have to agree with some of the critics. Mr. Carroll did a disservice to his readers by including the nutritional stuff with steroids. Most people I know use a lot of this and it is fine. It would be like the president says all drugs are bad - cocaine, heroin and cough medicine. Silly example because we all know that cough medicine is not harmful assuming someone does nothing stupid like drink the whole bottle but it does illustrate the point. He was wrong and should have done his homework or avoided the subject altogether since he seems to known pretty much nothing about it.

Anyway, I like Mr. Carroll but this is subpar. Guess that's why it's not selling really well.
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on June 15, 2005
After checking out J. Pawson's comments, I have some questions:

Does Will Carroll donate all of his proceeds from this book? Is he doing this free? Or is he too making a profit? If so, so what?

If not, then the comments about "financial gain" are a reflection of Mr. Pawson's jealousy. We live in a capitolistic society, a free society whereby one can earn a living however they choose. So what if Dr. Orman makes money doing natural therapies for a living. It has worked for me and for millions of others over thousands of years. Good for him. Good for me! I love this approach. Pawsons comments do not fit the situation at all. The writer missed the boat.

Despite these comments, it doesn't change the facts that this is a horribly researched book, filled with significant amounts of misinformation and misleading ideas about herbs, nutrition and other medicinal substances. Let me borrow questions previously asked.

- How many people reading this will actually believe what Carroll says about such substances?

- How many could have been helped?

I think these are THE questions that need to be answered, as was pointed out.

We have a health care system in crisis and here are potential solutions in many instances or at least partial ones. Complimentary ones. Yet, Carroll would have every one think that flaxseed oil or ginseng or L-carnitine are "terrible", which is 100% false. No one with any degree of ethics claims that they are the be-all and end-all but they surely have their place. There is a lot of science behind them. Why was this not stated??

The last issue not brought up is the matter of "these substances" meaning the natural ones, according to Carroll that "do not work." . . Compared to what? In 1987, a US Consumer Report stated that 70-80% of all substances and therapies used in medicine has not been proven safe and effective. This is the US Government saying this. And Carroll protrays proven natural remedies like hgh in this light? I use hgh and have for 8 years with a doctor's help. It has saved my life. No one -- including Will Carroll-- can take this away. So yes, I have a vested interest in telling the truth - MY LIFE!

Bottom line. Here is a book littered with inaccuracies, poor or lack of research and wrong conclusions, and therefore should be avoided in my opinion also.
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