Down and Derby

Down & Derby coverWhen most Americans hear the words “roller derby” they think of the kitschy sport once popular on weekend television during the seventies and eighties. Originally an endurance competition where skaters traveled the equivalent of a trip between Los Angeles and New York, derby gradually evolved into a violent contact sport often involving fake fighting. But after nearly dying out in the nineties, derby has been making a comeback. There are now more than 17,000 skaters in more than 400 leagues around the world, with hundreds of thousands of die-hard fans. Written by veteran skaters as both a history and a how-to, Down and Derby:┬áThe Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby is a brassy celebration of every aspect of the sport, from its origins in the late 1800s, to the rules of a modern bout, to the science of picking an alias, to the many ways you can get involved off skates. Alex Cohen is a radio host on KPCC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, and Jennifer Barbee writes for Blood and Thunder magazine and is a longtime staffer of the WGA. As “Axles of Evil” and “Kasey Bomber,” they have skated with the L.A. Derby Dolls since 2003. (Soft Skull/Counterpoint)