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Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto
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Melville House 2014
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Description
A New York Times Best Seller
"Powerful...an important read."Publishers Weekly
New York Times
bestselling author Steve Almond takes on America's biggest sacred cow: football

In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions:
• Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?
• What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood—run, leap, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a sport that causes brain damage become such an important emblem for our institutions of higher learning?
There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America's favorite game with such searing candor.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/26/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781612194165
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APA Citation (style guide)

Steve Almond. (2014). Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Melville House.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Steve Almond. 2014. Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Melville House.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Steve Almond, Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Melville House, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Steve Almond. Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Melville House, 2014.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: STEVE ALMOND was raised in Palo Alto, California, and was a newspaper reporter in Texas and Florida before writing his first book, the story collection My Life in Heavy Metal. His second book, Candy Freak, was a New York Times bestseller, was named the Booksense Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year, and won the American Library Association Alex Award. His short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and he writes commentary and journalism regularly for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times. Almond lives outside Boston with his wife and three children.

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shortDescription
A New York Times Best Seller
"Powerful...an important read."Publishers Weekly
New York Times
bestselling author Steve Almond takes on America's biggest sacred cow: football

In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions:
• Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?
• What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood—run, leap, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a sport that causes brain damage become such an important emblem for our institutions of higher learning?
There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America's favorite game with...
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title
Against Football
fullDescription
A New York Times Best Seller
"Powerful...an important read."Publishers Weekly
New York Times
bestselling author Steve Almond takes on America's biggest sacred cow: football

In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions:
• Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?
• What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood—run, leap, throw, tackle—into a billion-dollar industry?
• How did a sport that causes brain damage become such an important emblem for our institutions of higher learning?
There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America's favorite game with such searing candor.
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: "Almond is dead serious: Supporting a spectacle that causes brain damage is immoral."
        --New York Times Book Review

        "[Almond] is a very good writer, and his analysis of problems confronting the game today is well done."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times
      • content: "Almond is a shifty cornerback of a writer: rangy, sarcastic, offbeat. And every once in a while, he'll blindside you with a big hit."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Times
      • content: "An unapologetic, frontal assault on the game's role in American culture."
      • premium: False
      • source: Linda Holmes, NPR
      • content: "Steve Almond's blistering book Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto is exactly what it advertises itself to be: an exasperated, frustrated, wide-ranging argument that the time has come to abandon football -- particularly but not exclusively the NFL -- as a sport built on violence, racism, economic exploitation of poor kids, corrupt dealmaking with local governments over stadiums, and a willingness to find it entertaining to watch people suffer brain damage."
      • premium: False
      • source: Newsweek
      • content: "A devastating multi-pronged attack."
      • premium: False
      • source: Harper's Magazine
      • content: "Powerful... Almond is a sympathetic narrator, his evidence incontrovertible, the moral authority firmly on his side."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times, Dealbook
      • content: "A passionate and elegantly written book that finally overpowered any rationalization I could come up with to justify watching more football."
      • premium: False
      • source: Bitch Magazine
      • content: "A helpful and thoughtful read that traces the criticisms of the game and the men who run it."
      • premium: False
      • source: Flavorwire
      • content: "In Steve Almond's Against Football, a book filled with 'obnoxious opinions' by the writer's own admittance--and they're not that bad--Almond makes a case for the fact that football, and the NFL specifically, is at the root of a toxic, pernicious, deadly and deadening culture in America. The book came out on August 26th, and it's taken a mere two weeks for Almond to be proven right on a national scale, in the ugliest of fashions."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Millions
      • content: "Against Football is a book that kicks and prods and fights with itself and ourselves. Almond is asking himself and us to drop the ironic distance, open our eyes, and truly look at the dangerous, vile, beautiful, fun, highly corrupted, and horrifically corrupting corporate behemoth we spend so much of our money and leisure time enraptured by, and know what it is that we are doing, and what we are supporting."
      • premium: False
      • source: PopMatters, Best Nonfiction Books of 2014
      • content: "Steve Almond's slim but muscular broadside slams into the wall of sanctimonious hokum served up by the NCAA, NFL, and their sycophantic sportswriter enablers."
      • premium: False
      • source: Barron's
      • content: "[Almond's] persuasive book dares fans to consider how long they can continue to ignore football's obvious flaws in order to preserve their weekend ritual."
      • premium: False
      • source: National Memo
      • content: "Almond doesn't pretend to have all the answers, but sometimes it's enough to raise the right questions at the right time. Against Football does that with disarming humor and humanity."
      • premium: False
      • source: Open Letters Monthly
      • content: "What a perfect chance to take a breath, look around, and push the endeavor in a better direction."
      • premium: False
      • source: AskMen.com, Recommended Reading for September
      • content: "This book is an important first step towards a more compassionate and educated discourse on what is, unfortunately, a game many of us are entertained by and deeply invested in."
      • premium: False
      • source: Oregonian
      • content: "Against Football...makes a strong case that football, as presently practiced by the NFL and NCAA, should be reformed or abolished."
      • premium: False
      • source: Albany Times-Union
      • content: "[Against Football] brilliantly states the case for radical change to save the sport."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kansas City Star, FYI Book Club selection
      • content: "A book that's part journalism, part memoir, part cultural harpooning."
      • premium: False
      • source: Tampa Bay Times
      • content: "Against Football is clearly the pick of the litter: funny, pained, profane and sharp as a November Saturday in Ann Arbor."
      • premium: False
      • source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
      • content: "Almond covers all of the arguments against football...He has sworn off the game. Will anyone join him? As he notes, boxing was once this country's top sport."
      • premium: False
      • source: Portland Press Herald
      • content: "Pitch-perfect... Against Football is, at bottom, a love letter from a heartbroken fan, notable for his eloquence and clarity. It's easy to imagine that this pungent critique, with quotable passages on nearly every page, could be a much-needed game-changer. If that's overly optimistic, then we'll have to settle for a first-rate piece of journalism and a great read."
      • premium: False
      • source: Plain Dealer
      • content: "Almond's book is slim but potent... Almo
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 30, 2014
        Early on in this powerful polemic, before expanding on the numerous reasons spectators should more seriously consider the ramifications of the football, Almond (Candyfreak) declares that he’s been an avid, lifelong fan. Most of the arguments he espouses are familiar: football causes brain damage and lasting psychological conditions; football is largely unethical because it perpetuates a culture of bigotry and militant thought; and football perpetuates a manipulative system of crony capitalism that takes advantage of its players at the high-school, college, or professional levels. Further, Almond makes a convincing case for the theory that Americans have turned to football in order to meet spiritual needs that arose as a result of industrial and social progress. Perhaps the worst of it, Almond states bluntly, is that fans bear more responsible than they acknowledge, as they continue to watch greedily and passively despite being aware of these facts. Throughout, Almond anticipates his opponents’ responses, pointing out that many will take issue with his diatribe. Fortunately, Almond is drawing on his own experiences as a fan to illustrate how difficult the problem, which provides the book with an engaging personal angle that will lure readers who are mature enough to hear him out whether they agree with his conclusions.. An important read, even if as Almond concedes, it offers more questions than answers.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2014
        A provocative, thoughtful examination of an "astonishinglybrutal" sport.Almond's (God Bless America: Stories, 2011, etc.)lifelong devotion to football has never wavered, but he calls for its overhaulbecause he can no longer in good conscience ignore the cumulative andcatastrophic results of repetitive injuries to players' bodies or theprevalence of cognitive brain damage among NFL retirees. The author is not ascold or curmudgeon; he honors the sport and writes expressively that footballis "a faithful reenactment of our fundamental athletic impulses...to run, leap[and] catch." Football is astoundingly popular-"Americans now give footballmore attention than any other cultural endeavor"-andAlmond quotes critic William Phillips regarding its popularity, much of whichis "due to the fact that it makes respectable the most primitive feelingsabout violence, patriotism, manhood." Almond shares comical recollections offootball's role in his life and anecdotes of how fandom brings people(particularly parents and children) together. Two of his proposed remedies tothe current merciless state of football are a mandatory parental discretionwarning before games and the revoking of the NFL's nonprofit status, whichsoaks taxpayers for as much as 70 percent of the costs of new arenas while the multimillionaire (and some billionaire) team owners often pay little. Theauthor posits that fans are ethically obligated to push for change because "We're consumers.Our money and attention are what subsidize the game," and he presents acompelling argument that Americans' "allegiance to football legitimizes andeven fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, andhomophobia." Almond rightfully anticipates significant push back for this book, which raises difficult, uncomfortable questions about fandom-e.g., "What doesit mean that millions of white fans cheer wildly for African-American men inthe context of a football game when, if they encountered these same men on adarkened street, they would reach for a cellphone?"Comic, compassionate and thought-provoking.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        August 1, 2014

        Almond's (Candy Freak) problem is that he likes to watch football but feels that it fosters greed, racism, homophobia, and violence; it makes him feel ethically dirty. The reader's problem is that the author is so wildly over the top that legitimate issues raised, such as concerns about player health and safety and the corruption of corporate welfare for owners, are lost in extreme rhetoric. Almond regards football as a sacrificial rite symptomatic of our imperial decadence that indoctrinates Americans to be more angry and cruel and less able to overcome our racial neuroses, lust for violence, yearning for patriarchal dominion, and sexual hang-ups. As contrition for the author's guilty pleasure, he appears to want each fan to don a hair jersey and suffer with him. VERDICT This diatribe will appeal most to those who hate sports.

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2015

        A longtime devoted football fan, Almond spends much of the first quarter of this book solidifying his football bona fides before beginning his onslaught of reasons that he feels he can no longer watch his favorite game. These arguments are familiar-concussions and sub-concussive hits; the game's twisted monetary incentives; its cult of violence; racism; and its vexed relationship with the American capitalism and patriotism. But the sheer weight of the evidence is impressive and hard to ignore. Even when Almond's arguments seem strained, he is able to put the burden of proof squarely on readers to disprove him with more than a simple dismissal. Particularly strong is his complete demolition of the argument that the mere popularity and fixity of the game somehow puts it above criticism. Many football fans will react with derision, and many non-fans will consider his points self-evident: both are wrong. These are arguments that deserve to be considered deeply and grappled with, and teens-who have not yet devoted their lives or opinions to or against the sport-are in a perfect position to take Almond's manifesto seriously.-Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA

        Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from September 1, 2014
        Almond loves footballhe remains a fan of the Oakland Raiders, a team whose only appeal may be to wistful adults who spent their adolescent years watching safety Jack Tatum terrorize other teams' receivers. He also hates football. And, in a brilliantly quotable, carefully constructed, emotionally vulnerable tract sure to anger as many as it convinces, he argues against the sport's many sins even as he thoughtfully examines its hold on the souls of the faithful. How can fans ignore the life-shortening violence suffered by players, he asks, or teams' parasitical relationship to local economies, or football's lingering homophobia, or its troubling racial implications, or its dilutive effect on higher education, or what it says about us that we like watching slow-motion replays of players getting concussed? Some may hold Almond's claim of fandom as a straw man, but it rings true. (Besides, he admits to being a total effing hypocrite. ) Is he arguing for the sport's abolishment? No. He asks for an honest conversation and suggests nine practical changes that seem possible if only the last one Remember who's in charge can be taken to heart. A searing, thought-provoking book that most needs to be considered by those who seem least likely to read it.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

subtitle
One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto
popularity
116
publisher
Melville House
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