This book offers a new history of drug use in sport. It argues that the idea of taking drugs to enhance performance has not always been the crisis or ‘evil’ we now think it is. Instead, the late nineteenth century was a time of some experimentation and innovation largely unhindered by talk of cheating or health risks. By the interwar period, experiments had been modernised in the new laboratories of exercise physiologists. Still there was very little sense that this was contrary to the ethics or spirit of sport. Sports, drugs and science were closely linked for over half a century.
The Second World War provided the impetus for both increased use of drugs and the emergence of an anti-doping response. By the end of the 1950s a new framework of ethics was being imposed on the drugs question that constructed doping in highly emotive terms as an ‘evil’. Alongside this emerged the science and procedural bureaucracy of testing. The years up to 1976 laid the foundations for four decades of anti-doping. This book offers a detailed and critical understanding of who was involved, what they were trying to achieve, why they set about this task and the context in which they worked. By doing so, it reconsiders the classic dichotomy of ‘good anti-doping’ up against ‘evil doping’.
Winner of the 2007 Lord Aberdare Literary Prize for the best book in British sports history.
Featured in The Financial Times, September 29, 2007
Featured in The Observer, August 5, 2007
'A History of Drug Use in Sport doesn't deal in such sensational tabloid lines but instead offers an academic approach to the subject. While at times this does make for heavy reading, it does also provide a thorough and detailed look at the problem. For anyone who watched the Tour recently and wondered how we got to this situation, this book is probably the best place to start. '- Duncan Mackay, The Observer
This book will be great interest to sportsmen as well as students, researchers and practitioners in the sport and exercise disciplines whether they work in the laboratory or in the field since it is about a popular topic in sport. It could be valued as a reference book, because its targets to avoid easy answers to difficult questions in the controversial subject of drug use in sport. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Dimeo, a lecturer in Sports Studies at the University of Stirling, presents evidence that the spread of doping had its roots in the seemingly innocent scientific inquiry into ways to perfect the 'ideal' of the elite sportsman. Jim Ferstle, SJA
Acknowledgements. Prologue. Part 1 1. Sport, Drugs and Society 2. Doping and the Rise of Modern Sport, 1876-1918 3. The Science Gets Serious, 1920-1945 Part 2 4. Amphetamines and Post War Sport, 1945-1976 5. The Steroids Epidemic, 1945-1976 6. Dealing with the Scandal: Anti-Doping and the New Ethics of Sport, 1945-1965 7. Science, Morality and Policy: the Modernisation of Anti-Doping, 1965-1976 8. Doping, Anti-Doping and the Changing Values of Sport. Epilogue