by Alan Jay Zaremba
Every spring, the first four days of the NCAA men's basketball tournament attracts a horde of basketball bettors to Las Vegas. From the tip-off of the tournament's first game on Thursday morning to the final whistle on Sunday, throngs of bettors—overwhelmingly male—sit in smoky casinos obsessively watching as many as forty-eight college basketball games. This book immerses readers in that action. In The Madness of March: Bonding and Betting with the Boys in Las Vegas, Alan Jay Zaremba travels to The Strip and gives us a front-row view of the betting culture that surrounds the frenzied first weekend of the tournament.
Alternating between humorous accounts of gamblers' exploits and cultural theories on sports in society, Zaremba provides an engaging analysis of the sporting ritual that such gambling has become. With forays into the history of the tournament, the background of sports betting, and a little betting of his own, Zaremba raises the question of whether this subculture of March Madness is a blessing or a curse—and what, finally, it all means.
Praise for The Madness of March:
"The seasonal madness of the NCAA basketball tournament played against the ongoing folly that is Las Vegas: it's hard to find a more combustible admixture in sports, but Zaremba . . . conveys it all with cool wit. . . . Although the action takes place in Las Vegas, the book makes it easy to extrapolate this subtext of March Madness playing itself out nationwide. A sleeper of a book."—Alan Moores, Booklist
"Alan Jay Zaremba . . . has captured the excitement, the color, the flavor and craziness of college basketball betting in Las Vegas in his new book, The Madness of March. . . . This book itself is like a travelogue of places, people, concepts, conspiracy theories and if Hunter Thompson were alive today, he'd embrace the author, who captures the moments and rides the roller coaster of emotions with the bettors."—Howard Schwartz, gamblersbook.com
"If you've ever wondered why scads of post-college guys spend the better part of a week living on beer and hot wings while feverishly analyzing their next wager, you'll get an answer in Zaremba's book. . . . I'm not being ironic when I say that The Madness of March is a lock. It's an essential read for anyone who wants to get a better window on one of the more interesting gambling and sports subcultures."—David G. Schwartz, www.dieiscast.com
"Professor Alan Zaremba chronicles the scene in Las Vegas during the opening weekend of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. . . . The result is a fascinating, often humorous, look into the lives of the (mostly) men who converge on the desert every March with their "locks" and "sure thing" picks. . . . One of the best books I've read this year."—Jeff Fox, hoopsmanifesto.blogspot.com
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