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Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports Paperback – June 1, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In sports books, the term "left wing" typically means something very different than it does in Zirin's; a sportswriter and regular contributor to The Nation, Zirin takes a look at sports through the prisms of race, class, politics and identity, examining the mainstream sports media's charged rhetoric and challenging the industry's readily-accepted common wisdoms (especially the popular notion that professional athletes are all rich, spoiled, self-centered thugs). Each of the ten chapters deals with a different issue, from Major League Baseball's exploitation of the Dominican Republic to Olympian graft. Zirin's clear, concise arguments detail the behind-the-scenes manipulation of football star-turned-Army ranger Pat Tillman's death, point out the racism inherent in the media's coverage of Barry Bonds and explicate the global and local politics of soccer. Unfortunately, Zirin's tone is too often snide, stooping to the same depths for which he regularly lambasts right wing commentators (for instance, referring to Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent as someone who "splashes on High Karate before strutting to the free clinic"). Still, this is a unique and thought-provoking collection of politically enlightened sports writing, suitable for anyone with season tickets and a left-of-center outlook.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Popular sportswriter and commentator Dave Zirin is editor of The Prince George's Post (Maryland) and writes the weekly column "Edge of Sports" (edgeofsports.com). He is a senior writer at basketball.com. Zirin's writing has also appeared in The Source, Common Dreams, College Sporting News, CounterPunch, Alternet, International Socialist Review, Black Sports Network, War Times, San Francisco Bay View and Z Magazine. Chuck D redefined rap music and hip-hop culture as leader and co-founder of the legendary rap group Public Enemy. Spike Lee calls him "one of the most politically and socially conscious artists of any generation." He co-hosts a weekly radio show on Air America.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books; First Printing edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931859418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931859417
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #873,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Zirin was named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World" by Utne Magazine. He writes about the politics of sports for the Nation magazine, and is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Zirin is also the host of Sirius XM satellite's popular weekly show, "Edge of Sports Radio," as well as a columnist for SLAM Magazine, the Progressive, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. Zirin's previous books are What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States; Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports; The Muhammad Ali Handbook; and A People's History of Sports in the United States.

Customer Reviews

The politically charged sports book Welcome to the Terrordome by Dave Zirin.
Jon Cudo, Editor of Gameops.com
Zirin's earlier book, "What's My Name, Fool," was, I felt, the most important book on sports in the last decade.
RB
I really enjoyed this great book, and was proud to give it to my son to read.
David E. Stewart

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 0 people found the following review helpful By Nick Chin on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
In a sports landscape where Pat Tillman was used to distract us from Abu Ghraib, where David Stern targets "hip-hop culture" and institutes a dress code, and where the greatest baseball player in a generation is compared to Satan on a daily basis... here lands the terrordome.

The cover of Welcome to the Terrordome features an ominous photo of the Superdome lit up against a black background and looking vaguely like a spaceship. I don't think it's an accident that author Dave Zirin chose this as the symbol of his book. Hurricane Katrina ripped the lid off of the society we live in and exposed America and all its flaws. With unabashed passion and fury rivaling that tragic storm, Zirin does the same thing to the sports world by casting sports in a light that the mainstream media are too blinded by corporate profits to see.

At the same time, the book is balanced with signs of hope. There's Rutgers Women's Basketball coach Vivien Stringer standing up to racist radio host Don Imus. There's a sharp analysis of both the empowerment and expression of hip-hop as well as some of its pitfalls.

When I saw the title, I had my doubts. But after reading it, count me as convinced. It fits to a T. This is sports at its best and its most human with all its tragedies, compelling characters, and inspirations. Buy this book, read it, and compare it to anything else being written about sports today. This book is the truth. Spread the word.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Chapman on June 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you're tired of reading the same type of takes on sports - the rambles full of pop culture references that pretend to stand for real commentary, the reactionary critiques of the sports villain of the week, read Welcome to the Terrordome. You'll most likely spend half your time laughing and the other half amazed that Mr. Zirin has been reading your mind.

It doesn't take much experience reading sports columnists, or listening to them talk on TV, to come away with a pretty grim view of the sports world. The profession seems to attract a sort of bitter, fatalist heckler who wants to forget that it's not just a game. Well, it isn't just a game - it's an industry, one that sometimes gets to write its own rules but more often has to live in the same world we all do - the one with pain, politics and promise.

Dave Zirin has the perspective and vision to put these pieces together, to see how the sports world meshes and collides with the real world. And when he heckles - which he does often, and with panache - it's cutting but not cruel.

There's a strong current of humanity in Dave's writing. This isn't a lunkhead screaming from the cheap seats, it's someone who wants to see excellence and fairness at all levels of sport - the field, the office, the media. With all the time and money we spend on it, that's the least we can ask.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kevin James on May 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you've ever asked the question "what's the point of sports?" aside from gladiatorial competition meant to pacify and distract from the monotonous struggle that occupies the time of most people, Dave Zirin provides the answer.

Zirin does for sports what Howard Zinn does for history by placing it in the real world context in which it belongs, instead of the corporate smoke and mirrors that simultaneously make sports larger than life while divorcing it of social relevancy.

As a political hip hop artist I can appreciate Dave's work, not only because Chuck D of Public Enemy, the original political hip hop group, wrote the intro - which never hurts when you use their album title for your book - but because he stands in that independent socially conscious tradition. He's Public Enemy and Democracy Now! not Young Jeezy and CNN.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Diane Fairbank on May 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Here is nuance and complexity, sophistication and depth captured in magnificent similes and metaphors that will knock your socks off! Dave Zirin writes with a passion and reverence for sport and for athletes brave enough to speak out against political injustice and to incur the wrath of a coliseum culture. He invites the whole world into the sports world. Bravo to his heroes, and bravo to Dave Zirin!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Surface to Air Missle VINE VOICE on August 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amongst sports writers David Zirin is a man among boys. He hasn't just mastered a single aspect of the genre; he has reinvented it with the complete package, which is showcased in Welcome to the Terrordome. Zirin combines acerbic wit, original insights (which is rare in sports journalism), a higher understanding of 20th century social history and an infallible drive to deliver "untouched" goods (partly allowed I suspect by the nature of the non-profit publishing company of the book). It's a breath of fresh air as his motives are only to inform and influence and not to sell anything or apologize for anyone.

The best part of Zirin of course is his ability to recognize and extrapolate on sports as a microcosm for important societal issues such as race, social and economic inequality. While I don't necessarily agree with all of Zirin's opinions, I found myself often putting the book down just to logically think through his positions and how they refute or support my own beliefs. I consider myself well versed in both sports history and social history yet I constantly was introduced to new events, people and history within the varied topics Zirin covers (Bonds, Olympics, Ali, Cycling, Clemente, etc.). To top it off Zirin has a great sense of sarcasm and I laughed out loud numerous times throughout.

This book is important because it has a potential to reach an audience not normally associated with higher-level intellectualism; namely sports fanatics. This is part of Zirin's overall argument in the sense that he criticizes modern sports athletes for not using their leverage to tackle social issues but are instead highly paid slaves of the corporate world.

Bottom Line: Full of energy and insight and should be read by anyone (including non-sports fan) who are interested in how the sports world is interconnected and related to various aspects of social justice. Genre defining.
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Frequently Bought Together

Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports + What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States + People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play (New Press People's History)
Price for all three: $34.22

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