When science lets us fulfill our greatest desires, where do we stop? Should Barry Bonds's startling achievements be listed in the record book with an asterisk because he has been accused of using steroids? Did performance-enhancing drugs play a role in Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories? And what does Arnold Schwarzenegger's continued success say about the appeal of his steroid-fueled bodybuilding persona?
Steroid Nation presents a chilling portrait of a nation enamored of artificially pumped-up success. Chronicling steroid use far beyond the headlines, it begins with the bodybuilders of Venice Beach in the 1970s and continues through to the NFL's Raiders of the '80s and '90s and the baseball scandals of today. Assael also reveals the dramatic story of the godfather of the steroid movement: Dan Duchaine, who wrote The Original Underground Steroid Handbook in 1981.
Part detective story, part medical investigation, and part sociological examination, Steroid Nation is a groundbreaking work on the most compelling story in the sports world today.
On Dan Duchaine
There was always a side of Dan Duchaine, the actor side, that made it seem like he was just playing at being a drug dealer. It was the side that still had a chance to do what he had originally set out to do in California: direct local theater, try auditioning for small roles, maybe work in a stereo store to pay the rent. It was the side that was sweet and soft-spoken, that never cursed and loved to quote from Jack London's "White Fang": "One cannot violate the promptings of one's nature without having that nature recoil upon itself." But it was deeply hidden now, very nearly imperceptible. Abandonment had always played a role in Dan Duchaine's life. Being put up for adoption at birth; having his adoptive parents die; loving women who never loved him quite as much. Those were the pillars of his psyche. Whatever he did, he was sure he would end up alone.
Fortunately for him, Gold's Gym in Venice Beach was a supermarket of dysfunctional young women who looked up to him and considered him the stable one. And in the world that he had helped to create -- that land of make-believe where people never got married or held day jobs and worked out slavishly so they could try to present an ideal of perfection -- perhaps he was. He had fallen into some semblance of a home life. The woman who had caused the breakup of his first marriage was out, replaced by two others who were living with him. The first was a 21-year-old Air Force officer whom he had met in Gold's; the other was a slightly younger research assistant. After Duchaine married the Air Force officer, Ann Miller, on September 9, 1988, he wrote to his sister, "The girls know each other, accept each other, and actually have become close friends."
"With Steroid Nation, Shaun Assael has brilliantly anatomized the American obsession with performance -- and physique -- enhancing drugs. If you are interested
in the truth about today’s sports world -- the unvarnished but juiced-up, muscle-bound truth -- Steroid Nation is required reading."