Bill 'EL Wingador' Simmons, Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas, David 'Coondog' O'Karma, Bill 'EL Wingador' Simmons, Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas, David 'Coondog' O'Karma, Eric 'Badlands' Booker, Timothy 'Eater X' Janus - just a few of the stars of one of America's fastest growing sports: competitive eating. In a country in which a third of the population is clinically obese, competitive eating has made the leap from trestle tables and paper napkins to stadium arenas - in the past two years, more than 1.4 million households have tuned in to Nathan's hot dog contest on ESPN. Beginning with a trip to Japan in search of the elusive (and surprising slim-line) champion Takeru Kobayashi and ending up at the sport's annual grand finale in Coney Island, Jason Fagone spends a year with the stars of the scene, watching as they eat their way into (or out of) oblivion, and finding out just what compels a 'gurgitator' to force down forty-six dozen oysters in ten minutes. Wickedly funny and devastatingly insightful, Jason Fagone uses this weirdest of sports as a lens through which to examine the dark side of the American Dream - the never-ending quest for wealth, celebrity, possessions and food. And along the way, he uncovers the wonderfully human stories at the heart of this seemingly unnourished corner of American culture. Bigger, better, richer, fatter, Insatiable unlocks a world we all need to face up to. Dig In.
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Jason Fagone is a staff writer at Philadelphia magazine. His piece on Kobe Bryant earned honorable mention in The Best American Sports Writing 2004. He lives in Philadelphia.Review:
"This is a rapacious, capacious and almost insane tale. I love Jason Fagone for recognizing that eating contests make for excellent drama, and I love him for having the tenacity to explore his topic as deeply as he does here, and with such glimmering prose. And as a former speed-eating champion myself (I won a pie-eating contest in high school, beating out a young man who later became a Navy SEAL), I devoured every word." * Elizabeth Gilbert, author of The Last American Man and Eat, Pray, Love *
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