A Brief History of American Sports

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Overview

Gorn and Goldstein show us where our games and pastimes came from, how they developed, and what they have meant to Americans. The great heroes of baseball and football are here, as well as the dramatic moments of boxing and basketball. Beyond this, the authors show us how sports fit into the larger contours of our past. A Brief History of American Sports reveals that from colonial times to the present, sports have been central to American culture, and a profound expression of ...
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Overview

Gorn and Goldstein show us where our games and pastimes came from, how they developed, and what they have meant to Americans. The great heroes of baseball and football are here, as well as the dramatic moments of boxing and basketball. Beyond this, the authors show us how sports fit into the larger contours of our past. A Brief History of American Sports reveals that from colonial times to the present, sports have been central to American culture, and a profound expression of who we are.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The authors should have entitled their book A Brief Cultural History of American Sports . Gorn Miami Univ. of Ohio and Goldstein SUNY-Old Westbury, both American studies professors, give a cultural overview of the way sports affect American society and how American society in turn shapes organized sports. One of the author's themes is that most sporting events evolved as social displays emphasizing white male domination and power, with violence, racial bias, sexism, and elitism as natural outgrowths. The text asserts that commercialization has corrupted sports, affected the educational system, and severely damaged the ideal of amateurism. Benjamin Rader's American Sports LJ 4/1/83 is a better history, but Gorn and Goldstein offer a rich source of discussion topics for American studies, sociology, or sports history classes.-- Terry Madden, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.
Booknews
Describes and interprets some central themes in the history of sports in America, showing how sports are intertwined with other social and cultural developments, how changes in the organization of production and consumption have affected the growth and experience of sports, and how sports have served as a key arena for the formation and definition of gender and class identities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"We have for too long ignored the critical importance of sports in our continuing national narrative, seeking meaning only in the increasingly stale arena of the state (and its wars and generals and ‘great men'). With A Brief History of American Sports, Elliott J. Gorn and Warren Goldstein remind us that the very serious world of play provides a precise mirror of American life and aspiration, a deep, at times painful, but always abiding portrait of who we are."--Ken Burns, documentary film director, and co-author of Baseball: An Illustrated History 

"If history were baseball, Gorn and Goldstein would get credit for a triple play: they have skillfully and imaginatively integrated sports into the framework of American culture and society, produced a pioneering work which should have enduring influence, and given us a scholarly history which is delightful to read. It's a terrific book in every way."--Lawrence W. Levine, University of California at Berkeley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252079481
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2013
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 323
  • Sales rank: 546,718
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Elliott J. Gorn is a professor of history at Brown University. He is the author of The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America, Mother Jones: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, and editor of Muhammad Ali: The People's Champ. Warren Goldstein chairs the Department of History at the University of Hartford. He is the author of the award-winning Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball.  
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Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. I America Becomes a Sporting Nation
1 Colonists at Play
"Virgin Land" 3
English Sports 6
The Virginia Ethic 17
The New England Way 30
The Middle Colonies 37
Sports and the New Nation 42
2 "Saints and Their Bodies": Sport Through 1860
The Adams Family 47
Victorian Culture and the Attack on Traditional Sports 49
The Beginnings of Modern American Sports 64
Muscular Christians and Brawny Brahmins 81
3 "Vigorous, Manly, Out-of-Door Sports": The Gilded Age
"... Healthful and Invigorating Sports ..." 98
Sport and Society 105
The Rise of Mass Sports: Boxing and Baseball 114
Elite Sports 129
"The Strenuous Life" 138
Pt. II Sport and its Discontents: The Twentieth Century
4 Sports with a Mission: Football and Basketball
Walter Camp and the Bureaucratization of the Strenuous Life 153
Football, Alumni, and the Control of the University 164
Progressives, Play, and Basketball 169
World War I: The Great Unifier 177
5 Play, Business, and Space: Sports and the Public Sphere
Home Teams 183
Sports Heroes and Mass Culture 188
Gender and Sport 197
Racial Integration 209
6 Money, Television, Drugs, and the Win: Dilemmas of Modern Sports
Amateur Ideals and Sporting Reality 222
Twentieth-Century Amateurism 228
The Impact of Television 236
The Historical Roots of the Drug Problem in Sports 241
Epilogue 251
Bibliographic Essay 257
Index 277
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