End Zone

End Zone

by Don DeLillo


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End Zone by Don DeLillo

The second novel by Don DeLillo, author of White Noise (winner of the National Book Award) and Zero K

At Logos College in West Texas, huge young men, vacuum-packed into shoulder pads and shiny helmets, play football with intense passion. During an uncharacteristic winning season, the perplexed and distracted running back Gary Harkness has periodic fits of nuclear glee; he is fueled and shielded by his fear of and fascination with nuclear conflict. Among oddly afflicted and recognizable players, the terminologies of football and nuclear war—the language of end zones—become interchangeable, and their meaning deteriorates as the collegiate year runs its course. In this triumphantly funny, deeply searching novel, Don DeLillo explores the metaphor of football as war with rich, original zeal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140085686
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1986
Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 252
Sales rank: 321,242
Product dimensions: 5.07(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Don DeLillo published his first short story when he was twenty-three years old. He has since written twelve novels, including White Noise (1985) which won the National Book Award. It was followed by Libra (1988), his novel about the assassination of President Kennedy, and by Mao II, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

In 1997, he published the bestselling Underworld, and in 1999 he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, given to a writer whose work expresses the theme of the freedom of the individual in society; he was the first American author to receive it. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Westchester County, New York

Date of Birth:

November 20, 1936

Place of Birth:

New York City


Fordham University, 1958

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End Zone 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
pynchon82 on LibraryThing 10 days ago
This is Delillo's second novel and I had to read it out of order because I couldn't find my copy. I'm actually glad I did, though, because I would have then been more disappointed than I was in Great Jones Street (see my review on this site). It would have been a major letdown after this novel. Which is nothing short of sublime.End Zone is clearly the novel that put him on the map as a great writer. If Americana revealed him to be a talented writer, this novel proves him to be a talented writer to be reckoned with.What makes this novel so wonderful to me is that it's about football. And I hate football. I think it's a dumb sport. But I was never bored while reading this book. I didn't catch myself skimming over descriptions of a play-by-play. I didn't catch myself getting annoyed with explanations of the rules. Instead, I found myself fascinated with how thoroughly-realized Delillo's main theme was. He picked a theme, ran with it, and manages to convince us completely that his theory is true. The theme in question isn't all that original in this day and age, but if a reader keeps in mind that this novel was first published in 1972, we can see how far ahead of its time it was. The theme is simple: a book-length exploration of the metaphor of football as war.Coach Veech has assembled the best college football that Logos College in West Texas has probably ever seen. The two main assets to this year's team are Taft Robinson, Logos College's first ever black student and a one-track minded receiver that can run like the wind, and distracted running back Gary Harkness, who has been thrown out of many colleges for being too violent. Harkness, a man who will jump into a dogpile just to be a part of the melee, functions as well as the novel's narrator. He also subscribes fully to Coach Veech's football mantra of "Hit somebody Hit Somebody Hit Somebody."Despite the novel being about subject matter I couldn't care less about, I found this novel to be remarkably readable. Delillo writes with a spark and finesse that few novels about sports can claim. There's an extended sequence halfway through the book, a play-by-play of a match with West Centrex Biotechnical Institute, an undefeated team notorious for breaking bones, that is so excitingly realized that I actually went back and read it again in an attempt to map out the maneuverings. Another extended sequence describes a scrimmage that takes place during a snowstorm. A scrimmage that keeps going and going despite limited visibility because the team members want the added challenge. As the storm progresses, new rules are added (You cannot wear gloves, no passing unless you throw the ball overhanded and backwards over your shoulder, one quarterback against the rest of the team). It's a beautiful sequence tinged with frustration and adrenalin. You can almost hear the snow as it bounces off the player's helmets. But the novel isn't all about football. Harkness is obsessed with violence and enrolls in ROTC classes just so he can learn about nuclear weaponry. He plays odd games of war with one of his professors in secluded hotel rooms. Another student breeds colonies of insects in his dorm, pitting the insects against each other in violent survival-of-the-fittest battles. Delillo's first great book. The only reason that I don't give it five stars is that I've read later Delillo novels that are better, novels that are truly worthy of a five-star praise. But this one is still quite good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book End Zone is a very interesting book. Don DeLillo writes End Zone. The book seems like it would be about football, but it focuses just as much on nuclear war. I really enjoyed the book because I love reading books that go into lots of detail. You know the kind of books that take 5 pages to describe a football game. The parallelism between football and nuclear war was a little new to me. I didn't really understand why nuclear war was a part of a football book but by the end of the book I had figured it out. This was a great book to read and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something a little different to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story starts out without the explicit definitions of who people are and their role on the team. You know exactly where they stand in society but as far as the leadership or dependability they carry. Not to mention the position most of them play or who else plays that position but is not starting. This could have helped to explain why some of the incidents that occurred, happened. on a more positive note the book had a much valuable lesson that many could use as far as the respectability and reliability amongst others, and how its important in life as well as sports.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing, elitist, disappointing. The only reason that I believe this book ever received any positive reviews is that critics were too embarrassed to admit they had no clue as to what the book was about. No one talks the way the characters in this book do, the story is disjointed, the characters are not likable in any way and the ending is totally unsatisfying. Stay away from this book at all costs.