“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.
About the Author
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.
Praise for Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto…
“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."
—New York Times
“An unapologetic, frontal assault on the game's role in American culture."
—Los Angeles Times
“Against Football...makes a strong case that football, as presently practiced by the NFL and NCAA, should be reformed or abolished."
“Those who don't care for the U.S.'s favorite fall sport might be inclined to pick up Steve Almond's Against Football, looking for validation of their position. Those who love the sport may be drawn in by its subtitle, One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto, for similar reasons. Almond's power lies in his ability to speak to both readers."
“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."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“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."
—Portland Press Herald
"Almond's book is slim but potent... Almond makes his case in a style that is conversational, self-deprecating, sharp and often laugh-out-loud funny."
A Publishers Weekly Book of the Week
"It's an indictment, a self-excoriation, and a provocative analysis of why so many Americans are hooked on this organized violence."
—Tampa Bay Times
"Almond’s book is a tremendous read, as all of his work is, but more than that, it’s an important one, and one that leaves you slightly queasy the next time you set your fantasy football roster."
—Pop Culture Beast
“Many fans of football will react to this book 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."
—School Library Journal
“Powerful... Almond is a sympathetic narrator, his evidence incontrovertible, the moral authority firmly on his side."
“A provocative, thoughtful examination of an ’astonishingly brutal’ sport… Comic, compassionate and thought-provoking.”
“Powerful… 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.”
Praise for Steve Almond’s Candy Freak:
“This book will, yes, make you hungry, but it will also make you grateful-for wit, for self-effacing humor, for joyful obsessiveness, for the precise and loving use of language to crack open and celebrate our oddness-in short, for a writer as funny and big-hearted as Steve Almond.”
“I got a real sugar rush and cluster headache reading this bittersweet book by Steve Almond-joy, the sugar daddy himself.”