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Five Rings over Korea: The Secret Negotiations behind the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul

Five Rings over Korea: The Secret Negotiations behind the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul

by Richard W. Pound

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1981, when Seoul was chosen as the host of 1988 Olympics, beating out Nagoya, Japan, the decision was widely criticized as risky or foolhardy given the instability of South Korea's military regime and tensions with North Korea. Cuba and North Korea boycotted the games, but thanks to pressure from the Soviet Union and China, with the U.S. acting as a power broker, other possible boycotts were prevented and North Korea agreed not to disrupt the Seoul Olympics. Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee, details the behind-the-scenes maneuvers of Reagan, Gorbachev, Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze and others. And he re-creates the 1985-87 negotiations between North and South Korea held in Switzerland, in which the North insisted on cohosting the games. This is an instructive case study in international consensus-building and the politics of sports. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Pound, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), presents a fascinating, in-depth look at the negotiations that brought the summer games to South Korea in 1988. Pound clearly shows how, but for deft handling of the situation by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, the awarding of the Olympics to Seoul could have been a recipe for more chaos and hard feelings coming as it did on the heels of the U.S-led boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980 and Moscow's retaliatory boycott in 1984. Even though we know the ending, this story is nevertheless riveting in its recounting, particularly in light of the current events on the Korean Peninsula. Written in a precise manner that makes this sometimes complex story easy to follow, the book is further enhanced by Pound's breakdown of Olympic political problems since 1936. Chockfull of sometimes annoying (but always informative) bottom-of-the-page footnotes, this book is a worthy addition to most public library shelves.-David M. Turkalo, Social Law Lib., Boston

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Little, Brown and Company
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1st ed

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