Roller Derby: The History and All-Girl Revival of the Greatest Sport on Wheels

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Speck Press, 2007 - Sports & Recreation - 159 pages
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“Thrill-seeking women leading double lives—accountant by day, hell on wheels by night—will find a great introduction to derby history here, from its early days to the '70s RollerJam heights to its new punk-queer aesthetic in the modern revival. There are also player vignettes, rule breakdowns, definitions of derby slang and lots of pictures to accompany Mabe's semi-fanatical text.”—Curve

Scores of American women are leading double lives. By day they are librarians, financial analysts, bartenders, teachers, and even mothers; by night their athletic alter egos assume their authority with monikers such as Helen Wheels, Dirty Britches, Anna Mosity, and Assaultin' Pepa. They lace up their skates, slide into racy racing uniforms, and adorn a full set of protective gear. One of America's greatest sports is back—roller derby.

In Roller Derby, readers will encounter roller derby in its various incarnations, from the original Depression-era games through the days of Roller Jam to its current revival.

What started as a dance-a-thon-style test of endurance has evolved into a unique sport that exemplifies point-scoring, body-checking, speed, blood, punches, and miles and miles of personality and style. Punctuated throughout the book are derby vignettes: stories from old-school and new-school girls, the process of selecting a derby name and style, the artistic element to logos and uniforms, so-gruesome-you-just-have-to-look injuries, what's legal during a bout and—more importantly—what's not, and much more.

Encircling the story of roller derby are vintage promo paraphernalia and histori-cal photographs, as well as stunning, full-color and black-and-white, modern-day shots of the women, the bouts, and the sport.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kencf0618 - LibraryThing

Padding aside, this book does a good job of showing the grit, glory, camp and athleticism which is contemporary roller derby. The rules section is the most substantive, but with tighter editing and more research the next edition could be much more than a coffee table book. Read full review

About the author (2007)

Catherine Mabe (a. k. a. Jayne Manslaughter) is a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, one of the nation's modern-day, flat-track roller derby leagues. Manslaughter's knowledge and understanding of roller derby's past plus her own immersion in the game's future provide a unique look at a truly American sport.

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