American Sports: From the Age of Folk Games to the Age of Televised Sports / Edition 6

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Overview

Completely updated and revised, American Sports sets sports in a social-cultural historical context. This highly-acclaimed book offers a reflective, analytical history of American sports from the colonial era to the present. With a focus on the historical relationship between sports, and gender, class, race, ethnicity, religion, and region, this book considers how sports transcend these fundamental categories, and how the experience of sports either as a player or as a fan can bind diverse groups together. This book also looks at how sports at various historical moments have reinforced or challenged the values and behaviors of society

Revised to give more attention to continuities in the American sporting experience, this widely-acclaimed book offers an analytical history of American sports from the colonial era to the present. It emphasizes the historical relationship between sports and class, race, ethnicity, gender, and region, as well as the power of sports to bind diverse people together.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
From the colonial era to the present, the author examines the evolution of sports. He covers a wide variety of sports that range from the big three of basketball, football, and baseball, to less widely practiced sports such as billiards and golf. Issues in sports development discussed include organizational structures; financial incentives; educational and cultural movements; prominent personalities; and social cleavages based around class, race, ethnicity, gender, and region. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205665150
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 11/10/2008
  • Series: MySearchLab Series 15% off Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 109,936
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin G. Rader is James L. Sellers Professor of History at the University of Nebraska and is coeditor of the Sport and Society Series of the University of Illinois Press. He has recently authored the third edition of Baseball: A History of America’s Game (2008), the second edition of American Ways: A History of American Cultures, 2 vols. (2006), and has had articles appear in The Journal of American History, Western History Quarterly, American Quarterly, Pacific Historical Quarterly, The Journal of Popular Culture, and The Journal of Sport History. Married with two adult children and three grandchildren, he continues to be an avid tennis player.

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Table of Contents

1 Sports in Early America

Britain’s Festive Culture

The Puritan Assault upon Britain’s Festive Culture

Lawful Sport” in New England and the Middle Colonies

Sporting Ways of the Southern Colonies

Tavern Pastimes

The Backcountry’s Sporting Ways

Pastimes of the Revolutionary Era

2 The Setting for Nineteenth-Century Sports

Conquering Space and Time

The Rise of Middle-Class Victorian Culture

“Rational” Recreation and Muscular Christianity

An Oppositional Culture

Enclaves of the Oppositional Culture

Nineteenth-Century Sporting Groups

3 The Sporting Fraternity and Its Spectacles

John Cox Stevens: Wealthy Patron of Antebellum Sporting Spectacles

Pedestrianism, Rowing, and Billiards

Early History of American Prizefighting

Meanings of Prizefighting

Prizefighting in the Postbellum Era

Enter John L. Sullivan

Postbellum Thoroughbred Horse Racing

4 The Rise of America’s National Game

The Club-Based Fraternal Game

Baseball as a Commercial Enterprise

The National League

The Players’ Revolt

Ethnics and African Americans

Between the Foul Lines and in the Stands

5 N ineteenth-Century Sporting Communities

Ethnic (or Immigrant) Sporting Communities

Turner Societies

African American Sporting Communities

The Wealthy New York Sporting Community

Sports and the Forging of an American Upper Class

Athletic Clubs

Amateurism and Its Uses

Cricket Clubs and Country Clubs

6 The Rise of Intercollegiate Sports

The First Intercollegiate Sport

Early Intercollegiate Baseball, Track, and Football

Walter Camp: Father of American Football

Football and the Making of College Communities

Football Becomes an Upper-Class Sporting Spectacle

7 The Rise of Organized Youth Sports, 1880—1920

The Social Context

The Cultural Context

Luther Halsey Gulick Jr.

The Evolutionary Theory of Play

The Public Schools Athletic League

The Playground Movement

Private Academy and High School Sports

8 The Setting for Organized Sports, 1890—1950

The Media and Sports

The New Middle Class, Modern Consumer Culture, and the Quest for Excitement

Islands of Pleasure

The Strenuous Life

Changing Ideals of Physical Beauty

An Age of Racial Segregation

9 The Age of Sports Heroes

Babe Ruth

Red Grange

Jack Johnson

The Golden Age of Boxing

10 Baseball’s Golden Age

Baseball’s Coming of Age

An Age of the Pitcher

Ty Cobb

Baseball’s Quest for Order

The Black Sox Scandal and the Reign of Kenesaw Mountain Landis

An Age of Team Dynasties

Black Baseball

11 The Intercollegiate Football Spectacle

The Age of Crisis, 1890—1913

The Issue of Brutality and Major Rule Changes

The Formation of Conferences

The Reign of King Football

The Football Coach as Hero

The Incomplete Democratization of College Football

Continuing Controversies

12 The Club Sports Go Public

Tennis Goes Public

Golf Goes Public

The Emperor, Bobby Jones

Track and Field

The Revived Olympic Games

13 The Rise and Decline of Organized Women’s Sports, 1890—1960

The Athletic Girl

Early Women’s Basketball

The Arrival of the Women Sports’ Heroes

The War over Turf and Principles

Female Cheerleaders

The Rise and Decline of Women’s Softball and Baseball

14 The Setting of Organized Sports Since 1950

The Sprawling Metropolises

The Inner City and the Suburbs

The Nation’s Sporting Ideology

The Sporting Ideology Under Assault

The Quest for Self-Sufficiency and the Fitness Cult

The Advent of Televised Sports

Roone Arledge and Howard Cosell

The New Era of Sport and the Media

An Assessment of the Media

15 Professional Team Sports in the Age of Televison

The Woes of Baseball

On the Diamond

The Early Days of Pro Football

The Making of Pro Football

The Golden Age of Pro Football

Professional Basketball

Marketing Pro Team Sports

A New Age of Pro Team Sports

16 College Sports in the Age of Television

The NCAA Becomes a Cartel

The Soaring Popularity of College Football

A New Era of Television Rights

College Basketball Enters the National Arena

The Rising Popularity of College Basketball

The Scandals of the 1980s

The Financial Arms Race

17 American Sports in a Global Arena

The Politics of the Olympic Games

The Escalation of the Stakes

Amateurism Abandoned

Television and the Ascent of Golf

Tennis–Open to All

The New Global Sports Marketplace

18 The African American Quest for Equity in Sports

The Origins of Desegregation

Rickey and Robinson Integrate the National Game

Muhammad Ali

The Black Athletic Revolt

Continuing Discrimination

Have Sports Damaged Black America?

19 The Quest for Equity in Women’s Sports

Continuing Issues in Women’s Sports

The Impetus for Change

Rising Hopes and Expectations

Resistance to Equity in Women’s Sports

Continuing Constraints on Women’s Sports

20 The Athletes

Heroes or Merely Celebrities?

Escaping Serfdom

Free Agency

Mixed Responses

Youth Athletes

21 American Sports: a Concluding Statement

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Preface

Those readers familiar with the first and second editions of American Sports will notice a subtle but significant shift in emphases in the third through the fifth editions. The original edition (and to a lesser extent the second as well) focused on major changes in sports. The narrative's overall coherence relied mainly upon a concept of stages in the development of sports as we know them today. While not neglecting important new developments in sports over time nor the technological, material, social, and cultural forces that induced them, these revisions give greater attention to continuities in the American sporting experience.

In this edition, I have continued my quest to present the relationships between sport, society, and culture with greater clarity. Thus I have sought to be more explicit about the connections between the great social and cultural divisions in the United States and sport. The major cleavages that I tried to keep in mind throughout the narrative are gender, class, race, ethnicity, religion, and region. At the same time, I have tried to consider how sport may transcend these fundamental social categories, how the experience of sport either as a player or a fan may bind diverse groups together. This has led me to give greater attention to layers of association. For instance, persons divided by gender, ethnicity, religion, region—or all four of these at once—may share a common experience in watching the Super Bowl on television but never enjoy a round of golf together on the local country club course.

Apart from recognizing the sheer joy of engaging in or watching athletic contests, I have in addition sought to provide some of thepossible meanings of sporting experiences within specific historical contexts. Sports are frequently played for sheer fun, but they may also present an individual an opportunity to display her or his athletic skills. The athlete may thereby win the esteem of others; the display may be accompanied by improved status, feelings of personal empowerment, autonomy, and perhaps even wealth. Moreover, athletic performances may serve as a "text," a text that can be "read" or understood in ways similar to how one reads a novel or watches television. Indeed, since the experience of sports entails "real" drama, it provides a particularly powerful text for viewers and athletes alike. As a text, sports send messages regarding fundamental beliefs, customs, and values. For example, that black and white baseball players in the age of segregation rarely played against one another or on the same teams may have confirmed and reinforced the nation's racial apartheid. Put somewhat differently, it suggested to those who watched baseball games that Jim Crow was an appropriate way of dealing with the nation's race relations. Given power in this vital sense, sports have never been immune from conflict. Paradoxically, at the same time, the sporting principle of a "level playing field," the idea that all have the right to compete equally in sports, may have helped to encourage social and cultural change.

Readers of this edition will find a considerable body of new material and the reshaping of old materials. Influenced by the recent publication of a remarkable set of scholarly books and articles on the history of American sports, I have revised, deleted, and added material in every chapter. Especially noteworthy in this regard are a major revision of Chapter 11, "Intercollegiate Football Spectacles"; greater emphasis in Chapter 7 on the role of sports in the forging of an American upper class; new sections on the "new" middle class, consumer culture, and the quest for excitement (Chapter 8); female cheerleading (Chapter 13); and the new individualism and sports (Chapter 14). Finally, I have updated Chapters 14 through 21. References to the works shaping these revisions can be found in the footnotes of individual chapters.

As with earlier revisions, I have tried to give special attention to the needs of neophyte readers. Without sacrificing the fundamental substance or complexity of the subject, I have been acutely sensitive to clarity and style. To aid reader comprehension, separate conclusions are presented in each chapter. Each chapter also includes updated bibliographical information.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Those readers familiar with the first and second editions of American Sports will notice a subtle but significant shift in emphases in the third through the fifth editions. The original edition (and to a lesser extent the second as well) focused on major changes in sports. The narrative's overall coherence relied mainly upon a concept of stages in the development of sports as we know them today. While not neglecting important new developments in sports over time nor the technological, material, social, and cultural forces that induced them, these revisions give greater attention to continuities in the American sporting experience.

In this edition, I have continued my quest to present the relationships between sport, society, and culture with greater clarity. Thus I have sought to be more explicit about the connections between the great social and cultural divisions in the United States and sport. The major cleavages that I tried to keep in mind throughout the narrative are gender, class, race, ethnicity, religion, and region. At the same time, I have tried to consider how sport may transcend these fundamental social categories, how the experience of sport either as a player or a fan may bind diverse groups together. This has led me to give greater attention to layers of association. For instance, persons divided by gender, ethnicity, religion, region—or all four of these at once—may share a common experience in watching the Super Bowl on television but never enjoy a round of golf together on the local country club course.

Apart from recognizing the sheer joy of engaging in or watching athletic contests, I have in addition sought to provide some of the possiblemeanings of sporting experiences within specific historical contexts. Sports are frequently played for sheer fun, but they may also present an individual an opportunity to display her or his athletic skills. The athlete may thereby win the esteem of others; the display may be accompanied by improved status, feelings of personal empowerment, autonomy, and perhaps even wealth. Moreover, athletic performances may serve as a "text," a text that can be "read" or understood in ways similar to how one reads a novel or watches television. Indeed, since the experience of sports entails "real" drama, it provides a particularly powerful text for viewers and athletes alike. As a text, sports send messages regarding fundamental beliefs, customs, and values. For example, that black and white baseball players in the age of segregation rarely played against one another or on the same teams may have confirmed and reinforced the nation's racial apartheid. Put somewhat differently, it suggested to those who watched baseball games that Jim Crow was an appropriate way of dealing with the nation's race relations. Given power in this vital sense, sports have never been immune from conflict. Paradoxically, at the same time, the sporting principle of a "level playing field," the idea that all have the right to compete equally in sports, may have helped to encourage social and cultural change.

Readers of this edition will find a considerable body of new material and the reshaping of old materials. Influenced by the recent publication of a remarkable set of scholarly books and articles on the history of American sports, I have revised, deleted, and added material in every chapter. Especially noteworthy in this regard are a major revision of Chapter 11, "Intercollegiate Football Spectacles"; greater emphasis in Chapter 7 on the role of sports in the forging of an American upper class; new sections on the "new" middle class, consumer culture, and the quest for excitement (Chapter 8); female cheerleading (Chapter 13); and the new individualism and sports (Chapter 14). Finally, I have updated Chapters 14 through 21. References to the works shaping these revisions can be found in the footnotes of individual chapters.

As with earlier revisions, I have tried to give special attention to the needs of neophyte readers. Without sacrificing the fundamental substance or complexity of the subject, I have been acutely sensitive to clarity and style. To aid reader comprehension, separate conclusions are presented in each chapter. Each chapter also includes updated bibliographical information.

Read More Show Less

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