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Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big Hardcover – February 21, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Touted as a Ball Four for the new millennium, Jose Canseco's Juiced promises to expose not only the rampant use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball (with steroids replacing the amphetamines of Bouton's day), but the painfully human flaws of its heroes as well. A steroid devotee since the age of 20, Canseco goes beyond admitting his own usage to claim that with the tacit approval of the league's powers-that-be he acted as baseball's ambassador of steroids and is therefore indirectly responsible for "saving" the game.

Chief among his claims is that he introduced Mark McGwire to steroids in 1988 and that he often injected McGwire while they were teammates. According to Canseco, steroids and human growth hormones gave McGwire and Sammy Sosa (whose own usage was "so obvious, it was a joke") the strength, stamina, regenerative ability, and confidence they needed for a record-setting home run duel often credited with restoring baseball's popularity after the 1994 strike. Although he devotes a lot of ink to McGwire, Canseco envisions himself as a kind of Johnny Steroidseed, spreading the gospel of performance enhancement, naming a number of players that he either personally introduced to steroids or is relatively certain he can identify as fellow users. Because Canseco plays fast and loose with some of the facts of his own career he provides fodder for those looking to damage his credibility, but in many ways questions of public and personal perception are what raise the book beyond mere vitriolic tell-all. Those willing to heed his request and truly listen to what he has to say will find Juiced to be an occasionally insightful meditation on the workings of public perception and a consistently interesting character study. --Shane Farmer

From Publishers Weekly

In this poorly written, controversial memoir, Canseco, a one-time American League MVP, reveals himself to be an unapologetic user of performance-enhancing drugs. Canseco readily admits that he was never the most talented of athletes, and that he never really had the drive to be a star until he made a promise of greatness to his dying mother. After a year of playing some uninspired minor league ball, Canseco packed on a superhuman 25 pounds of muscle in one off-season with the help of steroids and a human growth hormone. A string of tainted baseball achievements followed-including an all-star invitation as a rookie, an MVP award and a World Series title with the Oakland A's-before his life and career unraveled. Judging from the recent BALCO case, baseball certainly does have a steroid problem. But despite the headline-grabbing claims in this book, whether Canseco really knows anything about the problem beyond his own use is questionable. Rather, what emerges is a portrait of a bitter, disgraced ex-player who so desperately wants respect that he casts his own extraordinary recklessness as perfectly commonplace, a scorched-earth attempt to raise his own legend by bringing the game-and some of its great players-down to his level. Most shocking is that Canseco remains an unabashed booster of steroids, claiming they'll one day be used safely under medical supervision to propel humans to better health and great feats. Doctors disagree, and it should be noted that doctors did not administer Canseco's steroid use. "Is it cheating," Canseco asks in a revealing moment of moral relativism, "to do what everyone wants you to do?" If that very question were asked by a little leaguer, its answer could not be more obvious.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (February 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060746408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060746407
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael R. Chernick on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book when it first came out and I am glad I did not review it then. Like many others I was skeptical about what Canseco was saying. I just couldn't believe that all the famous athletes that he named took steriods or HGH. The idea that he personal injected many of them seemed ludicrous. The media put it down as a bunch of lies to sell books. Canseco also had his ups and downs and did not have a great reputation in baseball. After the hearings things looked even worse. But what came out in the long run was that everything he said became highly plausible or confirmed by drug testing or further investigation. This book is now a landmark book in the history of major league baseball. The only thing I disagree with Canseco on in this book is the idea that taking steroids was good for the game of baseball even though it led to more home runs and excitement for the fans. At least in his new book based on the accumulated medical evidence he has changed his tune. No one can deny that this was one of the major books to blow the lid on the use of steriods in baseball.

I believe that Canseco wrote this book for the noteriety and the money and that his selective choice of names to name was deliberate to sensationalize the book and sell copies. He now freely admits to naming people to make the book marketable in his new book vindicated. Also I think the book was intended to provide a rationalization for his own use of steroid and for turning so many others onto it. But the Mitchell report and other investigations has confirmed that those named were really users!
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Format: Hardcover
This, unlike, say, Pete Rose's book last year, is one book I had to read as soon as it came out. Simply written (no co-author is noted, but he must not have been very good), the book flies by. Of course, the media has leaked much of the good stuff already. As with any memoir (again, a stretch to use that word), truth is often muddled. Here it is worse. Did baseball really blackball Jose? Did Roger Clemens use steroids? Dave Martinez (that was funny--he was so mediocore)? Jose is clearly bitter for the way he was treated over the years. I can't possibly understand what it was like for a Latino ballplayer in the mid-80s. When he describes the racism involved in the game, much of it rings true. His bittnerness toward Cal Ripken (I'm assuming details were left out to avoid libel suits--common throughout the book) seems more mysterious. He is right that media (and the umps) play favorites sometimes. There is no question he is right about certain players and their steriod use. His digs at Mark McGwire are not cheap shots (pun intended). Mac was never the nice guy that we often heard about. He was surly, angry, and quite possibly a fraud. Same with Sammy "The Diva" Sosa. Each of these guys did a ton of stuff for charity. So did Canseco (which, immodestly, he points out)...but who knew that about Canseco? Not me.

Where he runs into trouble, at least for this reader, is his insistence on how good steroids are. The only steroids I ever took were for an infection and hope I never have to take them again. They can be great (look at how they saved Jerry Lewis--and how puffy he got) as medicine perhaps. But, his insistence on their goodness is a bit scary. Still, the man is a true believer. I just hope kids don't read this as the gospel.
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Format: Hardcover
Halfway through reading Jose Canseco's new book "Juiced", it occurred to me that my opinion of this man was changing with every page I turned. I went into this book thinking that this was a man simply out to make a buck at the expense of others. What I've learned is that this book isn't about Jose Canseco or any of the many run-in's with the law that tarnished the amazing persona he gave of in his hey-day. This book is about a story that no one in Major League Baseball wants told......This book is about the TRUTH. We've all heard the rumors from reporters about how steroids have been killing baseball for years......now hear the story from a man who knows what he's talking about from being there in the trenches. This is no different than what Jim Bouton went through in the 1970's with his book "Ball Four". It took until 1988 to invite Bouton back to Yankee Stadium. Canseco is being treated like a social leper, just like Bouton was. I hope it won't take 18 years for the world's eyes to be opened and focused on what Canseco is saying here. He may very well be the key to returning baseball as America's Pastime.
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Format: Paperback
Jose Conseco writes an excellent article as life in the Major leagues. His stories are concise and to the point. The object of this book, it not to tell someone how to play better, but rather what life can be like in the Majors. Also, Jose is not the bad guy he is now days considered to be. He was a scapegoat for the commissioner of baseball, cold Bud Selig. His chapter on umpires is, in fact, exactly how I found it to be when I played and very informative. The book is entertaining and forthright and explains how the "haves" and "have nots" fare in the Majors. Highly recommended reading. His excuse for using steroids is weak, but overall, you can see how things basically destroyed one of the best Cuban hitters to ever step in the batter' box. Recently Conseco has said publicly he wished he had not written it. Why I wonder. I promise you that except for the personal parts in there, the actual game nuances are 99% accurate. There are inner parts of the game that even in my time, were not to be proud of. But I have an idea ALL sports are like that once a player goes past LL (little league). For all of you that don't know, even the greatest player of all time (Babe Ruth) was humilated and treated like a bum until the crowds saw him play a few months. I am telling you that if you can just forget all of the steroid junk in the book for a second, you will like it. The news media can make your life terrible, being like sharks and biting at anything that moves. This magnifies everything. Conseco was crushed and shamed by the fact that a 15 year old kid took his book and used it. This same kid killed himself by accident using steroids--or this is the analysis of our new gathering professionals. I recommend this book to all parents having kids in high school (or higher) that play any sport. I am glad this guy wrote it. Read it and learn something. guyairey
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