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Review: ESPN’s Oral History

I finished up the book, ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.  The book is an oral history of how ESPN became the behemoth sports entity it is today.

I love ESPN, sports, reading, history, behind the scenes TV, and the broadcasting business so I thought this would be the perfect book for me. I was wrong.

If you aren’t familiar with the oral history style of writing, essentially the book is nothing but quotes from the people involved.  There is very little of the author’s words.  There might be a little writing to segue or make a specific point, but that’s about it.  You might go 20 pages without reading something from the author.

I found the first part of the book very interesting.  I identified a lot with the early days of ESPN.  It reminded me of the NewsCenter43 studio at Ball State as we rode live TV by the seat of our pants, out performing the equipment with some creative thinking.

Then the book started to drag.  A lot of the book focused on issues individuals had and not the organization. The TV geek in me wasn’t satisfied.

This might be a fine book to browse through, but I do not recommend reading it cover to cover.  I give it a C-.