Author Shaun Assael, an award-winning writer for ESPN The Magazine, thinks steroids are America's real drug addiction. He takes on this controversial subject in his new book, Steroid Nation (ESPN Books, 302 pages, $24.95)....
Assael goes back to the days of Venice Beach bodybuilding in the '70s and takes us through current issues, such as steroid use in high schools, the anti-aging movement and pro sports scandals.
The story of Dan Duchaine, the "godfather" of the steroid movement is woven throughout this thoroughly researched book. Duchaine was given up for adoption as an infant and then orphaned by age 13. By his late 20s he had hooked up with Gold's Gym worker Michael Zumpano and the two wrote the Underground Steroid Handbook. They advertised the 18-page booklet (which also included a catalog of steroids) in the back of a muscle magazine — $6 per book — and made half a million dollars in less than a year.
Duchaine and Zumpano's little manual opened the floodgates to a whole new culture of drug users — people who, ironically, were motivated by making their bodies stronger and "healthier" — and drug dealers, some of whom have gone to prison, Duchaine included. (Duchaine died in 2000.)
Most of us think of crack dens, meth labs, drug mules and junkies when we think of drug dealing and its horrible effects. Because steroids involves professional athletes — those we put on pedestals for their prowess — we don't see the seedy underside that definitely exists. This book will be an eye-opener for sports fans and those simply interested in a good, solid, investigative journalism.