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Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN    by James Andrew Miller & Tom Shales order for
Those Guys Have All The Fun
by James Andrew Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Back Bay, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales is the definitive history of ESPN's first thirty years. ESPN has grown from a fledging, fumbling cable operation that was a financial sieve, to a global brand, broadcasting games and sporting events throughout the world and revolutionizing how sports is covered, broadcast, and analyzed in America. From ESPN to ESPN2 to ESPNEWS to ESPNU, ESPN has multiple channels and its Internet platform to satiate any sports fan. The book covers that slow and at times painful genesis for ESPN, from humble beginnings to its arrival as a 'prime time player' in the late 1980's to its dominance in sports over the last decade.

The book covers the highs and many lows of ESPN, its romper room and frat house atmosphere, the long shifts its employees worked in relatively remote Bristol, Connecticut, and how that would occasionally lead to problems for some ESPN employees. Dirty laundry is aired, fights are detailed, and the successes that made ESPN what it is today are spelled out. Relying heavily on quotes from numerous ESPN alums and current employees, the book goes through a chronology that seems to rival War and Peace in length and thoroughness. With the hardcover coming in over 750 pages, it's not a short read that you can knock out over a weekend!

This book felt a bit lengthy and drawn-out at times and for those not intrigued by sports, could quickly lose you. Some sports fans will enjoy the candidness and sordid details of some of the various scandals or the back-scenes negotiations that ESPN went through to obtain broadcasting rights for sports. Those with shorter attention spans may lose interest relatively quickly and struggle through this book. It perhaps may be best served being broken down into two parts, one covering the origins of the network and the second covering its dominance. It certainly would make the book less of a task to read and more enjoyable.

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