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ESPN: The Uncensored History Paperback – December 11, 2001
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From Library Journal
New York Times sportswriter Freeman has delivered exactly what the title promises: an uncensored history of a media phenomenon of the cable TV era, ESPN. When ESPN was formed 20 years ago, television sports reporting was limited to snippets on local newscasts. ESPN changed that and, in so doing, also changed the way sports was covered, society's viewing habits, and sports itself. Freeman traces the history of the all-sports network from its inception as the brainchild of Bill Rasmussen to its status today as a part of the Disney media group, reaching over 60 million homes. This is really less a sports book than a warts-and-all examination of a media giant. Despite the obstacles placed in Freeman's path, the whole story is here--the struggles between management and its on-air personalities, the anchors' conflicts with one another, and the sexual harassment complaints, racial discrimination allegations, and employee drug and gambling problems that have long plagued the network. Freeman uses network documents, court records, and (often anonymous) interviews with past and current employees to make this a compelling read. Highly recommended for all libraries.
-William Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This is a must-read for ESPN and sports fans alike. (Gadflyonline.Com)
The tale of ESPN's rise digs deeply...into behind-the-scenes shenanigans... (Sports Illustrated)
...powerful and entertaining. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Extensively researched, ESPN: The Uncensored History presents a fascinating, candid, revealing story in clear, unambiguous, and highly evocative language. A singularly memorable and compelling 'tell-all' book, ESPN: The Uncensored History is strongly recommended reading for all sports buffs. (Library Bookwatch)
Network stoolies are buzzing about a...book on ESPN by New York Times sports writer Mike Freeman...sounds real juicy (New York Daily News)
...a fascinating new book...might make you watch ESPN in a whole new way. (Book Page)
Michael Freeman tells the story with the same urgency and breathlessness that ESPN brings to its coverage of sports.... a dazzling American success story .... (American Way)
Freeman uses network documents, court records, and (often anonymous) interviews with past and current employees to make this a compelling read. Highly recommended. (Library Journal)
After reading this explosive book it's hard to believe that a network owned by the squeaky-clean Disney Corporation could allow the sexual hijinks that go on at ESPN to escape their corporate scrutiny. A devastating read. (Publishers Weekly)
Michael Freeman provides the first book of critical analysis of the original and largest sports network. (Sports Collectors Digest)
Give Freeman points for diligent research [and] for his no-nonsense history of how the all-sports network evolved. (Philadelphia Daily News)
... compelling subject matter for any sports fan. (Daytona News-Journal)
Freeman, a skilled and concise writer, does an exceptional job of telling the entire story―warts and all .... (Baltimore Sun)
... sizzling expose ... truly shocking. (Publishers Weekly)
This story would make a terrific Outside the Lines. Yet ESPN's investigative series ... wouldn't touch the material ... with a 10-foot TelePrompTer. (Orlando Sentinel)
Michael Freeman has captured the essence of the freewheeling, 24-hour cable network that pioneered not just sports television, but the cable industry itself. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
... give[s] the reader a real insight to the early days at ESPN. (Tampa Tribune)
... stunning ... fascinating .... (Chicago Sun-Times)
Top customer reviews
This book goes into great detail about the mistreatment of the production assistants, and particularly the sexual harrassment of the female production assistants. This problem seems to have been and issue born from the fraternity-like boys club that ESPN was in the beginning, and plaqued the company for years as it grew into the national sports network it is today.
We learn about the stories of some of the ESPN anchors who were there in the beginning; Chris Berman, Keith Olbermann, and Dan Patrick mostly, with Olbermann's story getting the most detail. I always wondered why Olbermann left ESPN when he did, and now I know.
There was one comment made in the book that bugs me. Someone needs to tell Michael Freeman that if a woman sets the all-time scoring record for NCAA Women's Basketball and then that record is question because of possible scoring errors, that absolutely does warrant mention on a national network.
If you're looking for a case study on awful organizational culture, poor management techniques, improper HR procedures, and how much that will cost a company in the long run, this is your book.
If you're looking for a fun, light read, this isn't your book because so many of the incidents are disgusting and revolting.
That said, it is well written and well reported. And if you're an MBA student, it's worth the read. Hint: don't follow the ESPN model.
This one is well worth the time. Michael Freeman has done a very nice job of writing the definitive history of one of the most important forces in American culture; ESPN. There are many fascinating tidbits of info that were news to me and the author also handles the corporate intrigue and sexual harassment stories with both depth and compassion. A terrific book that is highly recommended by this reviewer!