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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Gladiator: A True Story Of 'Roids, Rage, And Redemption by Dan Clark a.k.a. Nitro » User review

Addiction comes in many scary forms

  • Mar 17, 2009
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Born to a Japanese mother and an American father, Dan Clark's life didn't begin well.  His father took him and his older brother Randy away from his mother and little sister when Clark was only four years old.  A man on the airplane told him "Big boys don't cry", and Dan has never forgotten those words.  Dropped off to live with relatives for a few years, the boy's father returns and uproots them again to go live in Vietnam with his new family.  Just before leaving Vietnam, at the tender age of ten years old, Dan witnessed the electrocution death of his old brother Randy, the one person he always looked up to and was inseparable from.  After this kind of childhood, Dan learned to block out his emotions.


Starting with a football injury, and an offer to "rapid recovery", Dan began taking steroids.  Steroids were perfectly legal at the time, and he quickly learned that the way to win on the team – and get noticed – was to "gain" (meaning pump up on steroids to get big).  Trying at first for college and then pro football, Dan doesn't quite make it but never gives up.  Never did he dream he would become the sweetheart of the nation on a groundbreaking TV Reality show called American Gladiators, in the persona of 'Nitro'.


This is Dan Clark's 'Rags to Riches' story, and the price he paid to get there.  Over twenty years of steroid use left him with painful breast tissue that had to be removed, shrunken testicles, multiple injuries, an overdose, and an inability to feel emotion other than the constant rage that ruled his life both on and off stage.  His love of contact sports came from having a legal outlet for that rage.


I personally never once watched American Gladiators, so I wasn't a fan of the show.  But I do like to read books on addictions.  This book was a surprising eye-opener for me, and Dan hopes it will be an eye-opener for young kids out there who are thinking about using steroids.  He holds no punches back as he tells of his addiction, how it drove him and controlled his life, and how it stopped him from being able to feel emotion.  Many times he mentions how empty he was inside, and how only returning to his addiction could fill that void.  This is a poignant tale of a man lost in a very big world, compelled to over-achieve by an unseen force, and driven by drug-induced rage.


The book is well written and Clark expresses himself splendidly.  It's a fast read as well, compelling and entertaining, and sad as well.  His gripping tale of a twenty year addiction and recovery will keep you up late into the night reading.  Enjoy!


Gladiator by Dan Clark a.k.a. Nitro

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review by . April 10, 2009
Book Cover
We all remember the early nineties for various reasons. One reason could be one of the finest television shows ever syndicated: American Gladiators. One of the biggest stars of the show, Nitro (or Dan Clark), has finally written a memoir on his life, which chronicles his public rise and his personal fall, leaving nothing untouched including the bad and the ugly, and then the road to redemption.    This not a book about American Gladiators. This is a book about a single American …
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Product Description
Aggressive, explosive, and boasting awesome athletic ability, Dan Clark rose to tremendous fame as Nitro on American Gladiators. He quickly emerged as the most popular cast member and became a reality television superstar. But a twenty-year affair with steroids led to a life of pissing blood, smuggling drugs, destroying hotel rooms, getting arrested, growing breasts, and lying bloodied in the street after a vicious fight with his best friend.

This is Clark's riveting, fiercely candid account of his life, career, and steroid addiction. From an upbringing defined by tragedy and a difficult search for identity to tales of performing center stage at Madison Square Garden and bedding Playboy Bunnies and porn stars, Clark explores the price of fame, the pressure of stardom, and how the whole steroid-fueled fantasy finally imploded.

What began in high school as a way to speed up recovery from injury rapidly turned into an all-consuming addiction. With selfdeprecating humor and a trove of incredible stories, Clark provides an eye-opening report on the dangers of steroids both obvious and hidden -- and offers his thoughts on why steroid use remains a persistent problem today. More than just a pulpy exposé, Gladiator is a triumphant story of self-discovery and redemption.

About the Author
Dan Clark began his career as an athlete, playing football for the Los Angeles Rams and in Europe. He later starred as Nitro on the extraordinarily popular reality ...

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ISBN-10: 1416597328 (hbk.)
ISBN-13: 9781416597322 (hbk.)
Author: Dan Clark
Genre: Nonfiction, Autobiography
Publisher: Scribner (February 10, 2009)
Date Published: (February 10, 2009)
Format: Hardcover: 256 pages, Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
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