The Edge: The War against Cheat­ing and Cor­rup­tion in the Cut­throat World of Elite Sports

Roger Pielke

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - RICH REZLER

Roar­ing For­ties Press Soft­cover $18.95 (330pp) 978-1-938901-57-7 Pielke’s ac­ces­si­ble and con­ver­sa­tional writ­ing style will have Joe Fan ea­gerly flip­ping pages of The Edge.

The world of sports is widely scru­ti­nized and an­a­lyzed in the me­dia, at the wa­ter cooler and on barstools across the world. With his book The Edge: The War Against Cheat­ing and Cor­rup­tion in

the Cut­throat World of Elite Sports, Roger Pielke Jr. takes the topic into the world of academia.

Pielke claims that his book is the first to take a deep look into what he calls “the edge”; in other words, “the place where the quest for ath­letic ad­van­tage runs into the rules gov­ern­ing what is al­lowed, what is fair, what isn’t, and what is re­ally be­hind the ‘spirit of sport.’” He pulls re­cent con­tro­ver­sial head­lines as a start­ing place to dis­cuss am­a­teurism, match fix­ing, dop­ing, tech­nol­ogy, sex test­ing, and mul­ti­ple other ways ath­letes try to find even the slight­est ad­van­tage over op­po­nents.

A no­table fea­ture is the book’s po­ten­tial to ap­peal to a wide au­di­ence. Pielke is the head of the Sports Gov­er­nance Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado—the first of its kind in the na­tion— and this work is cer­tainly a com­plex aca­demic pur­suit at its core, with ex­ten­sive ci­ta­tions, case stud­ies, ta­bles, and charts in­cluded through­out. How­ever, Pielke’s ac­ces­si­ble and con­ver­sa­tional writ­ing style will have Joe Fan ea­gerly flip­ping pages of The Edge. The top­ics un­fold more like a jour­nal­is­tic look into real-life sports scan­dals, but Pielke’s cor­re­la­tion of the rule bend­ing be­ing “a war for the soul of sport” adds an in­trigu­ing layer to the con­ver­sa­tion.

Don’t look for a so­lu­tion to the prob­lems fac­ing sports within the pages of this book. Pielke ad­mits that nei­ther he nor any other ex­pert has one. “Those an­swers—es­pe­cially to the most im­por­tant ques­tions—will be shaped by all of us who care deeply about sport and its role in our so­ci­ety and our world,” he writes. The key to find­ing a so­lu­tion, of course, is to fully un­der­stand the prob­lem. With his work in The Edge, Pielke gets us much closer to that point.

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