Featured on The Daily Show and in The New York Times Book Review and Entertainment Weekly
“With barbecue sauce–soaked tongue planted firmly in cheek, Nerz chronicles his amusing adventures in the perverse, repellent, strangely heroic world of ‘competitive eating.’ Freelance journalist Nerz falls in with the denizens of this world while covering the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog–Eating Contest for the Village Voice… Nerz presents his story with glee and good humor.”
Journalist Ryan Nerz spent a year penetrating the highest echelons of international competitive eating and Eat This Book is the fascinating and gut-bustingly hilarious account of his journey.
Nerz gives us all the facts about the history of the IFOCE (Independent Federation of Competitive Eating)—from the story of a clever Nathan’s promotion that began in 1916 on the corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island to the intricacies of individual international competitions, the controversial Belt of Fat Theory and the corporate wars to control this exploding sport. He keeps the reader turning the pages as we are swept up in the lives of Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas, “Cookie” Jarvis, “Hungry” Charles Hardy, and many other top gurgitators whose egos and secret agendas, hopes and dreams are revealed in dramatic detail. As Nerz goes on his own quest to become a top gurgitator, we become obsessed with him as he lies awake at night in physical pain from downing dozens of burgers and learning to chug gallons of water to expand his increasingly abused stomach.
Sparing no one’s appetite, Nerz reveals the training, game-day strategies and after-effects of competition in this delectably shocking banquet of gluttony and glory on the competitive eating circuit.
Alfred Ryan Nerz is a freelance journalist whose pieces have appeared in Esquire, the Village Voice, and Time Out New York. In addition, he has written for NPR, appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and produced television shows on Spike TV and the Biography channel. He is author of the books Eat This Book and Marijuanamerica, and is currently the Chief Cannabis Correspondent for the cable network Fusion.